Teniya Page Avoids Sophomore Slump To Excel In Her Second Season
In her freshman season with the Lady Lions, Teniya Page took the Bryce Jordan Center by storm. The guard led the team with 15.3 points and 4.2 assists per game on her way to earning All-Big Ten freshmen team honors.
Between the newfound expectations and the long layoff between competitive games, freshman phenoms sometimes fizzle out in their second seasons. That’s been anything but the case for Page in her sophomore campaign.
Having already bagged two Big Ten Player of the Week honors, Page has led Penn State to a 6-2 start — its best since the 2013-14 season. She has worked her way up the national scoring rankings averaging, 20.8 points per game, and has put up a number of game-changing performances along the way.
For Page, her overall mindset hasn’t changed this season. But she does believe one thing has helped her so far this year. “Just being aggressive,” Page said. “That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing so far this season and pretty much what I’m going to do the rest of the season.”
Page attributed a number of changes in her play from last year that has helped her get off to this fast start. First and foremost, she was more of a pass-first player coming out of high school. She took that style of play with her to Happy Valley, but has taken more of the scoring responsibility into her own hands over time.
Coach Coquese Washington has taken notice to that. Since Page first stepped on the court for the Lady Lions, Washington hoped she could become more of a proactive guard and is pleased with her start to the season.
“As a freshman last year, we had lots of conversations about her aggressiveness,” Washington said. “Sometimes she would kind of sit back and wait, letting the game come to her. She had to get a feel for the game early on. This year, she’s just been very aggressive right out of the gate. She’s been consistently aggressive and that’s helped her be impactful for the entire game.”
One big addition to the back court that’s allowed Page to be more of the scorer than the facilitator is redshirt freshman guard Amari Carter.
Carter missed last season after picking up a knee injury in the opener against Holy Cross. Her return has noticeably helped take some of the production on the offensive end off of Page’s hands.
“I think that [Carter] has helped Teniya Page in a sense,” Washington said. “With Amari, Teniya, and Lindsey [Spann], now you’ve got three ball handlers out on the court. It’s allowed us to free Teniya up a bit to play off the ball.”
Page and Carter are finally getting their chance to shine together this season. Both were touted five-star recruits in the talented Lady Lions Class of 2015 that was ranked No. 15 in the nation.
Page, the No. 27 ranked player in the Class of 2015 out of Chicago Heights, took into account a number of different elements in picking Penn State despite several other big offers on the table for her. It didn’t hurt she knew that Carter would be joining her on Washington’s squad.
Still, Penn State wasn’t the only school Page had on her mind. She also knew it was going to be different coming to a college town from the city. But after some time in Happy Valley, getting to know Washington, she was ready to commit.
“I took some unofficial visits,” Page said. “I liked it, but I’m more of a person that has to be comfortable with people. So I wouldn’t say I was comfortable after the first unofficial visit, but I knew after my first meeting with [Washington].”
With the non-conference schedule coming to a close at the end of the month, Page and the Lady Lions are getting prepared to take on the grueling Big Ten portion of their season. Penn State has struggled to find its groove in conference the past two seasons — finishing near the bottom twice — but Washington is confident with the way her team has been playing.
That all starts with Page’s play this year. Having already faced the challenges of the Big Ten last season and her mentality on the court this season, Washington is confident that Page will continue to excel throughout the conference slate.
“She’s not doing anything ‘spectacular.’ She’s just playing her game,” Washington said. “She’s put in a lot of work over the summer to make her shot more consistent. She’s put in a lot of work on her ball handling. I think she’s continuing to grow on the defensive end. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t continue.”