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Putting Lady Lions Star Makenna Marisa’s Season In Perspective

Following a tough loss to Rutgers in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament a few weeks ago, the Lady Lions’ season came to a disappointing end. However, in the grand scheme of things, the future is bright for Penn State women’s basketball.

In her third year as head coach, Carolyn Kieger brought Penn State back to double-digit wins and even found success with her recruiting skills in All-Freshman Team honoree Leilani Kapinus. However, the brightest light for the Lady Lions’ season was none other than junior guard Makenna Marisa.

After averaging 13.4 points per game last season, Marisa took a dramatic leap and finished her current season at 22.2 points per game. Even more impressive, she produced five games with more than 30 points — something Penn Staters haven’t seen since Kelly Mazzante did it nine times back in the 2002-03 season.

Marisa’s 642-point total on the season ranked second in the Big Ten and ninth in the country. It was also good enough to have the sixth-best scoring season in Penn State history.

However, the scoring numbers don’t stop there. Marisa scored at least 10 points in every game this season. To put that into perspective, no other Lady Lion even averaged more than 10 points the entire season (although Kapinus came close with 9.8 points per contest). Additionally, Marisa was only one of eight Division I stars to score in double digits in each game. Marisa even logged four 20-point halves this season against Delaware State, Maryland, Purdue, and Illinois.

Marisa also became the 40th Lady Lion to reach 1,000 career points and just the 21st Penn Stater to reach that mark before the end of their junior year. Her 1,244-point total now puts her at the 24th all-time at Penn State, and with one more season under her belt, she may keep on rising on that list.

Despite such a great scoring season, Marisa says there’s much more that needs to be done on her end to bring Penn State to a higher level.

“There’s a lot to work on,” Marisa said after Penn State’s blowout loss to Rutgers. “A lot of it is going to be IQ, playing smarter. Consistency is something I talk about a lot, and I think I really try individually to stay consistent. I think I need to push my teammates to be more consistent, and that’s something we’re going to work on in the offseason — just get back to playing Penn State basketball, playing fast, and being tough.”

All in all, Marisa may become one of the greatest scorers in Penn State history. She has a long way from catching the likes of Mazzante, Maggie Lucas, or Tyra Grant, but it isn’t a long shot, especially considering Penn State hasn’t seen such talent since the 2013-14 season.

With all the success of Marisa, and even freshman guard Kapinus, Kieger emphasized her goal for the program since joining the staff: Get Penn State back in postseason contention.

“I want to win, and I want to win at the highest level,” Kieger said following Penn State’s Big Ten Tournament loss. “That’s what I came here to do, and this program needs to be in the NCAA Tournament.”

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a senior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports 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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