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A Mid-Season Look At The Lady Lions

Now that the football season has come to an end and the spring semester is in full swing, it’s finally time for basketball. Over at the Bryce Jordan Center, the Lady Lions are rolling into the heart of the season in better shape than some past years.

Coach Carolyn Kieger and Penn State women’s basketball boast a 7-6 record with a 1-2 mark in the Big Ten so far this season, ranking them the 11th-best team in the Big Ten. Although the season may not have started the best for Penn State, the team is still on pace to have its first winning record since the 2017-18 season.

The Lady Lions started their season with three impressive wins, including one in which they scored a season-high 120 points against Delaware State, before dropping their first loss to Clemson. Penn State then went on to place fourth in the Gulf Coast Showcase and remained an even 3-3 as it now enters the mid-way point of the season.

It’s also important to note that the Lady Lions didn’t play any games for two-and-a-half weeks due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Penn State is led by junior guard, Makenna Marisa, who has started and played in all 13 games this season. She is currently having her best season to date averaging 21.7 points per game, shooting 35% from beyond the arc, and snatching 21 steals this season. Marisa is also the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten and top ten when it comes to field goal percentage and assists in the conference.

Behind her is Notre Dame transfer Ali Brigham, who is having an impressive first season with the blue and white by putting up 12.3 points per game, a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game, and 14 total blocks. She sits in the top 10 for offensive rebounds and blocks in the Big Ten.

However, the talent that Leilani Kapinus, Anna Camden, and Shay Hagans provide cannot be overlooked. Kapinus has set the defensive standard for the Nittany Lions as she co-leads the team with 21 steals and 14 blocks. Camden continues to impress with her three-point shot and even leads the team in total rebounds so far this year. Finally, Hagans has provided a much-needed spark for Penn State shooting an efficient 54.8% from the field and being the third Lady Lions to record 21 steals thus far in the season.

Although the numbers look to be in Penn State’s favor, as far as blocks and steals, it is still ranked in the bottom of the Big Ten in rebounding, free throw percentage, field goal, and three-point percentage.

The good news is that we’re only getting into the thick of it as the Lady Lions will soon be tested with conference match-ups. With just 14 games left in the season, Penn State has a chance to potentially punch its ticket in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014 or become the first Lady Lions squad coached by Kieger to make it to the NIT Tournament. Time will tell, but the potential is there.

For now, the Lady Lions will try to bounce back against a brutal loss to No. 10 Maryland last week. Next, they take on No. 11 Michigan on Thursday, January 13, at the Bryce Jordan Center. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a junior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sport's fan, and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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