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Penn State Women's Basketball: As Lady Lions Travel to Wisconsin, Washington Hoping for Large Student Turnout on Monday

by on January 31, 2013 10:00 AM

The No. 7 Penn State women’s basketball team will close out the first half of the Big Ten conference season when it takes on Wisconsin at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Kohl Center.

The Lady Lions are riding an 11-game winning streak after a 71-56 victory at Ohio State on Jan. Sunday. It is the sixth-longest winning streak in school history and the third-longest active streak in NCAA Division I, behind Baylor and Notre Dame.

Coach Coquese Washington recognizes there is more basketball left in the season and continues to push for consistency, confidence and a hard defense throughout the second half of conference play.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to win the games,” Washington said. “I still think there are some areas that we can get better in and we have a tough schedule going out. The Big Ten Conference just doesn’t get easy. You look at the wins and losses throughout the conference and most times you say it is tough to win on the road, but this year we’ve seen in our conference a lot of teams have been able to go on the road and win games.

“I think that’s a sign of a very competitive conference where you can have a team like Illinois that can’t win at home but they’re undefeated on the road. I think it is a sign of competitive equity, that anyone can win on any given night, whether they’re home or on the road.”

Penn State has won 14 consecutive Big Ten regular season games, breaking the school record set over the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. A Penn State win would make the Lady Lions 18-2 on the season, 8-0 in Big Ten play and 29-10 all-time against Wisconsin.

The team has been making good adjustments throughout the season and pushes for motivation going up against a team it has already crossed paths with this season.

“They’re going to play better, they’re going to shoot the ball better,” Washington said. “They’re going to have the crowd behind them and have a little bit more energy and adrenaline.”

The Lady Lions defeated the Badgers on Jan. 17 and never looked back. In a wire-to-wire victory, Penn State dominated, 84-40. The Badgers are 9-11 on the year and 1-6 in Big Ten play.

Looking ahead, the Lady Lions prepare to take on Purdue at 7 p.m. Monday at the Bryce Jordan Center. It is the only matchup in the regular season between the conference’s top two teams.

The Boilmakers are one of the strongest teams in the conference and Washington is determined to bring her best defense to the Bryce Jordan Center. Washington will look to senior guard Alex Bentley and sophomore forward Tori Waldner for steals and blocks against a tough a team.

“You look at their record in the conference, I’m not sure what it is it but I know they’re in second place, they've played a lot of close games and they’ve played a lot of overtime games, I think that’s the mark of a tough team,” Washington said.

The Lady Lions are pressing for a colossal turnout for the game on Monday. Washington invites students, faculty and community members to come out and support the program Washington has built over the past four years.

There is an unimaginable amount of support for the Penn State athletic program, across the board, Washington said.

“We’ve been able to have some success at home this year in conference play and I think that’s because our crowds are getting better and better every game,” Washington said. “If we add the student element that is yelling some cool, creative things to the opponent, that some of us more veteran, seasoned people can’t say, I think it creates a really cool environment and an intimidating environment for our opponent.”

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McKenzie Millward is a student at Penn State and the spring intern for covering local sports and events.
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