Senior Vianca Tejada provides leadership, spark off bench for Crimson Hawks

Senior forward Vianca Tejada has led the Crimson Hawks to a blazing 6-0 record.

Along the way, the Hawks have gone on the road for wins over PSAC East opponents Cheney and Shippensburg. Recently, Tejada and the Hawks hosted other PSAC East rivals Bloomsburg and Mansfield.

Tejada is second only to Sarah Pastorek in scoring for the Hawks averaging 11.3 points per game in 18.8 minutes per game off the bench.

“Offensively, my game is there but [IUP Head Coach Jeff Dow] says I need to work on my defense to become more of an impact player,” Tejada said.

Averaging 83.2 points per game, the Hawks’ average margin of victory is 25 points.

Wanting to dictate the tempo of the game, the young Hawks have come out of the gate fast.

The speed and quickness the Hawks possess has allowed them to fly to the ball, averaging 12 steals per game while out rebounding teams by five per game.

“We know being undefeated is a great thing, but we also understand that winning will not come automatically,” Tejada said.

“We are focused and take it one game at a time, and, as long as we continue to play with this same intensity, we will be able to compete in every game and hopefully come out with the victory.”

The Hawks were victorious in an 84-79 nail biter against Bloomsburg — a team that was ranked No. 1 in the PSAC East preseason polls.

“Coach definitely did an amazing job emphasizing how explosive this team was and that we could not let up, we had to be efficient on every possession,” Tejada said. “At the end, we came up with a big defensive stop and knocked down some free throws to seal the deal.”

Today and Saturday, the Hawks will go on the road to play PSAC East opponents East Stroudsburg and Kutztown but without the PSAC West Freshman of the Week Marita Mathe who will sit due to injury.

“Everyone has a role on this team and Mathe will be a big loss. This is a part of the game, if one player goes down, we all step our game up as a team to accommodate the loss,” Tejada said.

Good teams can be measured by how they handle adversity in such situations and whether or not they have the ability to rebound.

The Hawks know the loss that they face, but the show must go on.

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