Ali Brigham Paves The Way In Lady Lions’ 10-Point Win Over Northwestern
After losses to Rutgers and No. 8 Maryland, Penn State women’s basketball avoided another three-game skid on Thursday night with a win at home over Northwestern. The win over the Wildcats served as the team’s 13th of the season and the fourth within the Big Ten.
The game also featured an unlikely hero: Ali Brigham. The forward scored a season-high 19 points while shooting 90% from the field. She also recorded two blocks, two rebounds, and one assist.
Brigham, whose previous season-high point total was 11 points from a game against Bryant in November, scored 10 points in the first quarter alone. The junior carried the Lady Lions through the opening minutes and generated the necessary momentum.
That first-quarter performance was massive for head coach Carolyn Kieger, who got exactly what she wanted out of Brigham.
“We needed to shake things up in the starting lineup and fix our starts because we haven’t been starting out as well as we wanted,” Kieger said. “She answered that challenge and came up huge.”
Outside of the first quarter, Brigham was an important force in keeping the Lady Lions on track for the full 40-minute game.
“Ali always calms us down offensively. She’s very sharp. She’s very cerebral. She gathers us and keeps us composed on offense,” Kieger said. “She commands, she directs, and that’s great when you have your post players understand the offense and really put people in the right positions and calm your guards down.”
Brigham’s performance wasn’t luck, Kieger said postgame. It was a culmination of plenty of preparation behind the scenes that helped the forward propel her team to a win.
“She’s been getting her reps up before and after practice. She’s earned this, and she’s going to continue to work really hard,” Kieger said. “She’s so unselfish; she’s willing to do whatever she can for the team.”
That unselfishness showed in Brigham after the game, as she focused on her teammates’ performance and how they helped each other on the court.
“Something that we’ve been working on a lot is movement, getting everyone involved,” Brigham said. “We’re still working on it, but it was good to have everyone get involved and working.”
“I just step up whenever need be. It doesn’t matter,” she said.
Despite the challenges facing the Lady Lions in their final six games of the season, the win over Northwestern is something that Brigham wants to generate momentum from.
“I feel good about it,” Brigham said. “We can build off that; one leads to another one, and we’re looking for more as a team.”
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