Penn State Basketball

Penn State’s Teniya Page avoiding sophomore slump with stellar back-to-back seasons

Centre Daily Times, file

At times, even Penn State women’s basketball coach Coquese Washington wonders what Teniya Page will do next on the court.

Page quickly established herself as one of the Big Ten’s top players as a freshman last season, earning second team all-conference honors from the coaches and an honorable mention nod from the media.

And there hasn’t been a sophomore slump for Page. She’s having another impressive campaign this year.

Page is leading the Lady Lions (13-6, 3-4) in scoring with 18.7 points per game — tied for eighth in the Big Ten — going into Penn State’s game at Indiana (13-6, 3-3) at 7 p.m. Monday.

“Teniya has an incredible basketball IQ,” Washington said. “She watches a lot of basketball and she analyzes the game. She watches the best players in the NBA and WNBA. I have so much trust in her and her decision-making out there.”

Page’s high school coaches offer similar praise.

Annie Byrne, who coached Page at Marian Catholic (Ill.) her first two years, said Page was a special player and a student of the game.

“She was the package deal,” Byrne said. “She could handle the ball, run an offense, score, play defense and compete for four quarters. She brought the best out of her teammates.”

Page, a Chicago native, developed into a highly-touted recruit at Marian Catholic. She led her team to three straight East Suburban Catholic Conference championships and the 2012-13 Illinois High School Association 4A championship.

She earned all-state recognition during her career and was picked to play in the Jordan Brand Classic in 2015.

“Teniya had a great passion for the game of basketball,” said Dan Murray, who replaced Byrne and coached Page in her final two years of high school. “Her commitment to the finer points of the game is something you just don't see in many players.”

After her stellar high school career, Page started all 31 games at Penn State as a freshman. She finished tied for ninth among freshmen in the country in scoring with 15.3 points per game and assists with 4.2 per game.

The impressive freshman campaign didn’t get to her head, either. Page wouldn’t allow it to change her expectations.

“My goal this summer was just to get better to help this team win,” she said. “I really don’t have expectations in season because ... if we win, it doesn’t matter how well I play.”

One of her best games this season came against then-No. 13 Tennessee. She had a game-high 29 points as the Lady Lions upset the Volunteers 70-56 on Nov. 20.

“It was big for the team,” she said. “My mindset for the game was the same as every other one. My teammates were stepping up and doing their job. It was a big game at home, especially losing to them the year before.”

Page said she has a good relationship with Washington, who started at point guard all four years during her playing career at Notre Dame.

As a coach, Washington said she wants the ball in Page’s hands to make plays.

“You want her making great decisions,” Washington said, “because she's going to make the right play.”