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WOMEN’S  BASKETBALL

Rules of the Game

Basketball is a winter indoor team sport.  The court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide, divided into two equal halves. A foul shooting line is delineated directly in front of and 19 feet from the rim, which is ten feet above the floor. A three-point semi-circular shooting line is delineated 25 feet from the court line directly under the rim.  PennState’s women’s home basketball games originally were played in the WhiteBuilding, then moved to Rec Hall in 1977; since 1996, the Lions have played in the Bryce Jordan Center.

A game lasts forty minutes, broken down (beginning with the 2015-16 season) into four 10-minute quarters.  If at the end of this time the game is tied, the teams will play at least one complete five-minute overtime period (and more if needed) until a winner is determined. A women’s team is given up to 30 seconds to shoot so that the ball at least touches the rim (a men’s team has 35 seconds).  Players are disqualified after five fouls.

Penn State Women’s Basketball History

Penn State’s first women’s basketball team began play in 1965, under coach Marie Litner.  They won their first game, defeating Bloomsburg in the White uilding, and finished the season with a 3-1 record.  Mary Ann Domitrovitz, and later Pat Meiser, succeeded Litner, and in 1980 Rene Portland took over the coaching duties.  Since that time, the Lady Lions have played a major role on the national scene.

Portland’s first team went 19-9; her second team lost only six games and earned PSU’s first NCAA Tournament bid.  Superstar players Suzie McConnell and Susan Robinson were recognized as national player of the year in 1988 and 1992 respectively, Helen Darling led the team to the Final Four in 2000, and Kelly Mazzante became the Big 10’s all-time leading scorer in 2004.  In all, Penn State has been to 21 NCAA Tournaments in Portland’s tenure, advanced to the Regional Final four times and the Final Four once, and won the 1998 Women’s National Invitation Tournament. 

Portland resigned after the 2007 season, and Coquese Washington was chosen as her successor. 

In 2015, alumna Jess Strom was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year for guiding California (PA) to the National Championship. 

In 2017, the Lady Lions finished the season with a 21-11 reocrd (9-7 in the Big Ten).  They participated in the WNIT, defeating Ohio and Fordham before losing to Virginia Tech 64-55).  Teniya Page became the 4th lady Lion to surpass 1,000 career points as a sophomore, and was an All-Big ten 1st team selection by both the coaches and media.

Team Accomplishments

NCAA Tournament 
All-USA Today All-time team
1984, 1987-88, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011-14     
Regional Semi-final – 1982, 1985-86, 1992, 1996,2002-03, 2012     
Regional Final – 1983, 1994, 2004        
Final Four - 2000                                                                                 

AP Top 10 Finishes                                                                              
1982 (10), 1983 (10), 1985 (9), 1991 (1), 1992 (9), 1982 (10), 1983 (10), 1985 (9), 1991 (1), 1992 (9),1993 (8), 1994 (2), 1995 (7), 1996 (8), 2000 (6), 2004 (5), 2012 (9)                                     

Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT)                              
1998 Champion, 2010, 2017  

Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champion 
1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1991 

Atlantic 10 Tournament Champion                                               
1985 (tie), 1991                                                                                           

Big 10 Regular Season Champion
1994 (tie), 1995 (tie), 2000, 2003, 2004, 2012-14                       

Big 10 Tournament Champion                                                       
1995, 1996   

Notable Coaches

Rene Portland (1980-2007) 606-236 

1991-93, 2000, 2004 National Coach of the Year                            
1983 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year                                               
1994, 2000, 2003-04 Big 10 Coach of the Year                             
2001 Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Inductee         
7th All-time coaching victories (678)                                             

Suzie McConnell (1985-1988)

1988 Naismith Award               
1988 NCAA Top VIII Award
1988 1st Team All-American
1985-88 1st Team All-Atlantic 10                                               
1985 Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year
1985 Atlantic 10 Tournament MVP
NCAA career assist leader (1,307)
1998 First-team All-WNBA                                 
Coach,Oakland (PA) Catholic H.S. State Champion      

Coquese Washington (2008-present)  157-127 

2012-14 Big 10 Coach of the Year 

Notable Players

Susan Robinson (1989-1992)

1992 Wade Trophy
1992 NCAA Top VIII Award
1991, 1992 1st Team All-American
1991 ECAC Player of the Year
1991 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year     
1990, 1991 1st Team All-Atlantic 10
1989 Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year
1992 NCAA Postgraduate Fellowship

Helen Darling (1997-2000)  

2000 1st Team All-American2000 Naismith Award
2000 Naismith Award                                                           
2000 USAToday Co-Player of the Year
1998 WNIT Most Valuable Player
2000 Big 10 Player of the Year
1999, 2000 1st team All-Big 10

Kelly Mazzante (2001-2004)                                                                

2002-2004 1st Team All-American
2004 NCAA Top VIII Award
2001 National Freshman of the Year
2004 Big 10 Female Athlete of the Year                                                                                   
2003, 2004 Big 10 Player of the Year
Only 4 time 1st team All-Big 10 player
2004 Academic All-American of the Year
Big 10 all-time career scoring leader (2,919)

Alex Bentley (2010-2013)

2013 – honorable mention All-American
2012-2013 WBCA All-American
2011-2013 – 1st Team All-Big 10
2012-2013 All Big 10 Defensive Team
2013 Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award Winner
2010 1st team All-Big 10 Freshman Team

Maggie Lucas (2011-2014)

2013,2014 3rd team All-American
2012-2014 – unanimous All-Big 10 1st Team
2013, 2014 Big 10 Player of the year
All-time PSU and Big 10 3 pt. baskets (365)
2nd All-time PSU scorer (2,510 points)
All-time PSU and Big 10 fee-throw % (90.7%)

Player Recognition

1st Team All-American – Suzie McConnell (1988); Susan Robinson (1991, 1992); Helen Darling (2000); Kelly Mazzante (2002, 2003, 2004); Tanisha Wright (2005)

Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (best player under 5’8”) – Suzie McConnell (1988); Helen Darling (2000); Alex Bentley (2013)

NCAA Top VIII Award - Suzie McConnell (1988); Susan Robinson (1992); Andrea Garner (2000); Kelly Mazzante (2004)

1st Team All-Atlantic 10 – Kahadeejah Herbert (1983, 1984, 1985); Annie Troyan (1983); Suzie McConnell (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988), Vicki Link (1987), Susan Robinson (1990, 1991); Tanya Garner (1991)

Atlantic 10 Player of the Year-- Kahadeejah Herbert (1985); Susan Robinson (1991)

Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year-- Suzie McConnell (1985); Susan Robinson (1989); Helen Holloway (1991)

Atlantic 10 Tournament Most Valuable Player-- Kahadeejah Herbert (1983, 1984); Suzie McConnell (1985); Kathy Phillips (1990); Tanya Garner (1991)

1st Team All-Big 10 – Tina Nicholson (1994, 1995, 1996); Angie Pothoff (1995, 1996, 1997); Helen Darling (1999, 2000); Andrea Garner (1999, 2000); Maren Walseth (2000); Kelly Mazzante (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004); Tanisha Wright (2003, 2004, 2005); Jess Strom (2005); Amanda Brown (2007); Tyra Grant (2009, 2010), Alex Bentley (2011, 2012, 2013), Maggie Lucas (2012-2014); Arielle Edwards (2014), Teniya Page (2017)

Big 10 Player of the Year - Helen Darling (2000); Kelly Mazzante (2003, 2004); Maggie Lucas (2013, 2014)

Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year – Tanisha Wright (2003, 2004, 2005); Daara Taylor (2014)

Big 10 Freshman of the Year - Maggie Lucas (2011)

Big 10 Sixth Player of the Year - Maggie Lucas (2011)

Big 10 Tournament Most Valuable Player – Helen Darling (2000)

Atlantic 10 Scholar-Athlete – Annie Troyan (1983)

NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship – Vicki Link (1987); Susan Robinson (1992); Andrea Garner (2000)

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