Penn State Women's Basketball: Lady Lions Hoping to Build Rivalry with UConn
Sixth-year coach Coquese Washington is hoping her 10th-ranked Lady Lions can build a rivalry with No. 2 Connecticut, using their game on Thursday night as a starting point.
The Lady Lions and UConn have played each other 11 times throughout the programs’ histories. UConn has won the last seven over Penn State, including last year in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies won, 77-59, knocking the Lady Lions from the national championship picture.
“We’ve got a bunch of kids, a bunch of buses, and fans traveling," Washington said. "When we start talking about college sports, that’s what makes college sports fun. You get on the road, you road trip, you go up and you cheer your team on on the road and they come back the next year. Building rivalries, so hopefully this can be the beginning of a pretty nice rivalry here on the East Coast.”
Washington said there is no extra motivation to win this game because of the Huskies' win over her team last year. She said it wants to win on Thursday because UConn is on its schedule this year.
“We’ve got some of the best basketball on the East Coast being played," Washington said. "We got what I think are two pretty doggone good teams nationally playing against each other. We want to play against the best competition, and we want our fans to be able to see some of the nation’s best players come through here and give them an entertaining and exciting game to watch. I think it’s great for the East Coast.”
With a win over a top-tier program like UConn, Washington has the chance to solidify her program as one of the nation's best. Playing against such high-caliber teams will also help prepare her squad for a tough NCAA Tournament in March.
“We’re going to be in a lot of tough environments, so it’s nice to have these games early," junior guard Maggie Lucas said.