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Improved Shooting From Beyond The Arc Sparks Lady Lions Hot Streak

Penn State women’s basketball upended Wisconsin 98-74 Sunday afternoon for its fourth consecutive Big Ten victory.

At five conference wins on the season, the Lady Lions are just one triumph away from matching their Big Ten win total from the previous two seasons combined.

Newfound success from the three-point line has played a huge role in the Lady Lions’ improvement from a season ago. Last year, head coach Carolyn Kieger’s squad shot an underwhelming 31.1% from beyond the arc, ranking among the bottom-third in the Big Ten. This season, the high-flying Lady Lion attack ranks top-five in the conference at nearly a 33% clip.

In eight winning efforts, Penn State has shot the deep ball at a superb 35.8% from the field, with its most recent showing against the Badgers featuring more of the same. The 98-point explosion included 12 three-pointers at a 41.4% conversion rate.

“It’s vital to the way that we want to play for that inside-outside presence,” Kieger said in regards to the three-pointer. “I think when we have, at any point, four or five shooters on the floor, it makes us a lot harder to guard.”

Through 15 games, the Lady Lions have shot an astounding 308 three-point attempts. For reference, in Kieger’s first year at the helm last season, the program took 515 three-pointers in 30 games. At the current squad’s pace, the new-look Lady Lions would shatter the 2018-19 season total by more than 100 additional tries.

While statistics may suggest Penn State’s reliance on the three-ball is a product of its inability to penetrate into the front-court of the opposition, the Lady Lions aren’t casting deep shots due to a lack of options. Kieger’s style of offense calls for scoring in bunches, without sacrificing open looks.

“Really, what I’m most impressed with though is our shot-quality,” Kieger said. “I think the testament to our field goal percentage tonight was the shot selection and passing up a good shot for a great shot.”

The addition of pure shooters to Kieger’s program has also allowed for the second-year coach to run an offensive-style more intact with her basketball roots. Sweet-shooting freshman Maddie Burke and Tova Sabel have instantly contributed to a program riddled with a startling nine departures last offseason.

Burke continued her hot-shooting tear with 15 points at a 5-for-8 mark from deep against the Badgers. The game marked her sixth contest with three or more made three-pointers, equating to the second most among Big Ten freshman.

“With Maddie Burke, she has such a quick release. It is almost impossible to guard,” Anna Camden said postgame. “When she gets hot, it is 100% ‘get Maddie the ball.’ You know she’s going to get it up, and it’s really exciting just to feel that momentum. A lot of people say that the three is the dunk of the women’s game, and it’s a huge momentum changer.”

On Wednesday, the Lady Lions four-game winning streak will be put to the test against one of the Big Ten’s most well-rounded rosters in No. 17 Indiana. Despite the challenge, Camden and her fellow teammates are not backing down following the burst of momentum.

“I have full confidence in our entire team to win, not matter what life throws our way,” Camden said. “I am fully confident in our team’s capabilities, being that we play as a team. We are all we got.”

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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