Penn State's best player questionable for Iowa game
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Try searching online for information on Penn State guard Teniya Page’s injury. Go ahead.
Other than her absence in Saturday’s 61-45 loss at Rutgers, nothing would seem to indicate anything awry with the Big Ten’s leading 3-point shooter.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder knows Page has “something with a finger,” but that’s about it. So she’s preparing her team for two opponents: Penn State with Page, and Penn State without Page.
"We have no idea whether she’s going to be back or not," Bluder said. "So it’s a little difficult to prepare for this game because they are quite different without Teniya Page than they are with Teniya Page."
The Lions are obviously better with her. A reigning All-Big Ten freshman and second-team honoree, Page ranks fourth in the conference in scoring (20.2 points per game) and first in 3-point shooting (48.1 percent).
She leads her team in minutes — and it’s not even close. She’s at 33.5 minutes per game; the next-highest is Amari Carter’s 27.4. It’s simple: Penn State goes as its 5-foot-7 point guard goes.
"I think Teniya Page is one of the best guards in the conference," Bluder said. "She’s just so explosive … and she just can get to the rim so easily."
OK. Now, if Page sits out, 5-foot-11 guard Sierra Moore would likely start. She got the nod at Rutgers and scored 14 with five rebounds.
"They are quite a bit different (without Page)," Bluder said. "The gal that came in and replaced her, Sierra Moore, she had a nice game against Rutgers. They have more time now to get ready. When you have an injury, you’re kind of in panic mode getting ready for that next game.
"But now they have more time to get ready and more time to adjust, so I know they’ll play better — even if they don’t have Teniya Page — then they did against Rutgers."
Penn State is 10-4 and 0-2 in the Big Ten, with another loss to Indiana.
Possible changes for road
Something about playing away from the friendly confines of home has rattled this young Hawkeyes team. They dropped a head-scratcher at Illinois to open conference play and didn’t show up for the first half of a loss at Drake in mid-December.
The team was set to watch the Outback Bowl together before flying to Pennsylvania Monday night for another crack on the road. Bluder said she might test some new wrinkles to help her team stay comfortable this time around.
"As for as our pregame together, team meeting, camaraderie, maybe we can do some different things with that," she said. "Because that’s the thing that we have control over, that’s the thing that we can change — how we talk about being on the road, or how much time we spend together before we head out onto the floor. Those types of things."
She'll be back
Bre Cera didn’t log any court time against Nebraska, her first full game on the bench this year.
Her feisty perimeter defense and “mean” rebounding earned her a prominent role on the team during nonconference play. But her lack of offensive production — 1.7 points per game — has shrunk that role lately.
She started the first 13 games before Christina Buttenham replaced her to get some more offensive production in the lineup, Bluder said.
Cera recorded four points, three assists and five rebounds in 13 minutes against Kent State. She played just four minutes against Illinois.
But throughout the season, Bluder has lauded Cera’s potential to score and says she’s able to flash that side of her game more in practice. She said Cera should have played against Nebraska.
"I’ll take full responsibility for that. I should have gotten her into that game," Bluder said. "I didn't and that's my fault. Yes, she needs to work on her offense more. And I’m telling you, she is. That’s the hard part — I thought she played very well in practice leading up to the Nebraska game and I did not reward her for that. I need to make sure that she has opportunities because she is a great player and she brings great energy to our floor."
Amanda Ollinger also didn’t play against Nebraska — her second game without any minutes. And Alexa Kastanek played just one minute against the Huskers after averaging 10.2 minutes in the 13 previous games.
Bain covers Hawkeyes' basketball for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
Tuesday's game: Iowa (10-5, 1-1) at Penn State (10-4, 0-2)
When/where: 6 p.m., Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pa.
TV: Big Ten Network
About the game: Teniya Page leads Penn State with 20.2 points per game and paces the Big Ten with her 48.1 percent mark from long range. She missed Saturday's game against Rutgers, and it's unknown whether she'll play against Iowa. Lindsey Spann is second on the team with 12 points per game.