The first game of the season left questions looming as to whether the height of the Lady Lions would be utilized in the post play.
But after seven games, the No. 10 Penn State women’s basketball team has transitioned from a traditionally guard heavy offense to becoming more well rounded in the paint.
In the teams 72-61 victory over Howard, its opening game, aside from Mia Nickson, the forwards together combined for just nine points — all from free throws. Despite the numbers coach Coquese Washington was still hopeful that her posts would improve.
“That was one of the things I think we can do a better job of. We didn't really take advantage enough of our size, in terms of getting the ball inside,” Washington said. “I am pretty confident in our post game. I am confident that they can be productive when we give them touches. We need to be diligent and discipline when executing our offense and make sure they get the touches that they need.”
After the underwhelming showing against Howard, the play of Nikki Greene and Mia Nickson began to become dominating forces in the No. 18 scoring offense of the Lady Lions averaging nearly 78 points per game.
In every game except for the 69-65 loss to Miami (Fl.) the post players have combined for 24 points or more in each of the team’s past eight games.
“I think that says a lot that everybody can come in and make a huge impact for our team and that makes us very lucky,” junior guard Maggie Lucas said. “Down the line, everyone comes in and does their job and is learning each game to play their role better and better. We are very happy about that.”
Rebounding was a factor that the Lions were looking to improve on this season after struggling last year. The additions of 6-foot-6 Candice Agee and 6-foot-5 Tori Waldner seeing key minutes this season will significantly improve Penn State’s post presence.
Despite the average height on the team being 6-foot-1, the Lions do not rank in the top-50 in rebound-margin. But the squad averages 44.4 rebounds per game so far this season compared to the previous seasons 42.1, which is something Washington was focusing on improving in the offseason.
“It will be huge. After we lost Julia Trogle a couple of seasons ago, she was a big rebounding loss for us,” Arielle Edwards said. “When we lost her, we took a hit in that department. So they kind of want me to step up and fill that spot that she left. Our guards will to have to rebound a lot more, but our posts do a great job of rebounding.”
Even with the low ranking in the rebound margin, the Lions have out-rebounded their opponents in their last three games, including one ranked opponent.
Agee has added extra presence in the post with her height, tallying 19 points and 21 rebounds in 73 minutes played, so far in her freshman campaign.
“I feel like I'm getting better everyday, and I've put in extra work. I think I'm fitting in a lot better. Everyday is work, and everyday I'm getting better and better. I'm enjoying it,” Agee said. “Our guards are always telling us they're looking for us and they want to get us the ball. So just being more aggressive and hungry for the ball, and getting the touches. We try to make it as easy on the guards as we can.”