Staff Predictions: Lady Lions’ 2021-22 Season

Penn State women’s basketball is in year three of the Carolyn Kieger era, and it has shown signs of improvement each year. Kieger and her squad hope that the pattern continues going into this upcoming season.

There is a lot of talent on this team, including stars like Makenna Marisa, Anna Camden, Shay Hagans, and Kelly Jekot. The Lady Lions also have some depth on the bench with Maddie Burke and Tova Sabel.

However, the Lady Lions do play in the Big Ten, and that means they have some challenges in their way. Does our staff think they have enough to overcome them and get to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Kieger? Here’s what our staff thinks.

Tobey Prime: 17-12, NIT Appearance

I believe the Lady Lions will have a solid season this year and could potentially be a Big Ten dark horse. After a disappointing season last year, I think having fans back at the Bryce Jordan Center will benefit the team tremendously. They also have many of the same faces returning this year, which will help out the chemistry and closing out games that they couldn’t do too much of last year. The Big Ten will be tough, but I believe Penn State is up for the challenge this year.

Owen Abbey: 13-16, No Postseason Appearance

I am not trying to be a hater. I think there is a lot of talent on this team and a lot of veteran experience that can really help exceed expectations. The return of Jekot is a huge deal and should be noted as such. But I don’t know if Penn State can compete in the Big Ten yet.

I think the Nittany Lions are on the right path, but they are one or two key pieces away from being a force. Could it be possible that the missing piece is on the team, and we just have yet to find it? Absolutely, but I don’t know if that’s the case. If they could pull off big wins against non-conference opponents like Clemson, Boston College, and St. John’s, then that will be a big sign that this team can compete and win now.

I want to believe in this team. Kieger has done a fantastic job in terms of building this program. If there is a coach I have faith in, it would be her. I just don’t know if the Lady Lions are there yet.

Michael Tauriello: 15-14, No Postseason Appearance

I think there are reasons for optimism that this team could be headed in a positive direction. Looking back at last season, the Lady Lions sported a competitive record against other unranked teams, going 8-6. That leaves them with a record of 1-9 against ranked teams.

Some may see only two freshmen on the roster and think that the future of the team is a little bleak, but I believe that it’ll really end up speaking to the experience that the team currently has at the moment. Camden and Marisa have definitely established themselves as important components of the team. If they’ve improved, and the play continues to revolve around them, I think Penn State will start to give the opponents a run for their money.

Rome was not built in a day, and I can’t expect Penn State’s record against ranked teams to turn around in just one season. But the presence of players with experience is important, and I think it’ll work in the Lady Lions’ favor a couple of times this season, perhaps even getting over the .500 mark. Call it wishful thinking, but things are bound to click at some point if you keep the band together.

Mikey DeAngelis: 14-15, NIT Tournament Run

The Lady Lions have lots of returning talent this year, and under Kieger, many fans expect a strong run from the team. However, the Lady Lions face a difficult schedule this season, including some talented out-of-conference teams that will present some opposition.

I think this season could really go multiple ways, and while I don’t expect Penn State women’s basketball to make the NCAA Tournament, this is a talented team that I could see making a strong run in the NIT tournament. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the experienced roster leads the team to a tournament birth.

Nolan Wick: 12-17, No Postseason Appearance

The Lady Lions will be slightly better than last season but will not finish with a winning record. Penn State is still rebuilding under Kieger, and the process is not yet complete. Not just that, but the two leading scorers are no longer on the team. They will need a lot of extra help if they are going to compete this season.

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