Through two games, the Penn State Lady Lions have shown what makes them a dangerous team.
They can flat out score.
The Lady Lions (2-0) averaged 103.5 points a game in their two wins, 17.5 points per game more than any other Big Ten team. The 207 points through two contests are the most in a two-game span since 1991 and the third most in program history.
Penn State hopes to continue its high-scoring when it takes on Oakland (1-1) at 6:30 tonight at the Athletics Center O’Rena in Rochester, Mich.
“It will be interesting to see, as we play more games, adjustments people make to try to slow us down,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said at her weekly press conference on Wednesday. “I anticipate that’ll even itself out. I think we have a lot of scorers. I’ve said this all along that I think we can get contributions from a lot of people.”
Junior guard Zhaque Gray leads the Lady Lions, who received 13 votes in this week’s AP poll. Gray is averaging 24.5 points per game, which puts her behind only Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender in the conference, a first-team All-American last year. In her first two seasons, Gray averaged only 4.0 points per game.
“For me, it’s not a surprise,” Washington said of Gray’s success.
“I’ve always known Zaza could shoot the ball from the day she walked on campus. She’s been a really good shooter.”
Sophomore point guard Alex Bentley is second on Penn State, averaging 19.5 points per game, while freshman guard Maggie Lucas, a sharpshooter from beyond the arc, is averaging 17 points off the bench. Two others are averaging more than 10 points, as well, which makes for a dangerous balanced scoring attack.
“I’m not surprised because I knew from the summer time that we were going to have some pretty balanced scoring cause they can shoot the lights out, Maggie and [Zhaque]. And everybody else can score too,” Bentley said on Tuesday.
“So, I already knew from the beginning of the season that it was going to be a fun season. A fun scoring season.”
Last December, a 69-64 win against Oakland at the Bryce Jordan Center marked the only time the two teams have played. The Golden Grizzlies, who are undersized with just one player standing more than 6-feet fall opposed to the Lady Lions’ six, are led by sophomore forward Bethany Watterworth, who has put up 21.5 points per game so far.
Though Penn State’s offense has been successful, Washington would like to see her team’s defense improve in tonight’s contest.
“We’ve got to have a solid effort defensively,” Washington said. “We’ve got to win the rebounding battle because they’re a scrappy team. And we’ve got to understand when we go in there, it’s going to be a battle.”
Ultimately, Bentley said, it’s not all about putting up a high number on the scoreboard.
“It’s not really about trying to get a lot of points for us,” Bentley said.
“It’s just about playing against ourselves and meeting the goals and playing at the standards that we want to play at.”