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‘One Possession At A Time’: Lady Lions’ Carolyn Kieger Promises Rebound Through Six-Game Skid

There were fewer than five minutes left in the game when Jacy Sheldon hit a jump shot to extend Ohio State’s lead to 30 points over Penn State women’s basketball on Thursday.

The Lady Lions scored a handful of points in garbage time to drop Ohio State’s lead to 12 points by the time the final buzzer sounded, but it didn’t matter. Penn State dropped its sixth game in a row as it continued to hurt its chances to return to the NCAA Tournament.

The loss came in the team’s old stomping grounds of Rec Hall, where the men’s basketball team upset No. 12 Illinois the night before. The women weren’t so successful and fell 82-69 to the No. 2 Buckeyes.

With two regular-season games left before the Big Ten Tournament, the Lady Lions are running low on time to make their case to return to March Madness for the first time since 2014. Still, head coach Carolyn Kieger still has faith in her team to make history for a program that hasn’t found consistent success in several years.

“[We] got to get to 20 wins. We got to win these next two games, and then we got to make a run in the conference tournament,” Kieger said after the Ohio State loss. “I believe we can do it. I believe we have the depth. Thirteen women in there got to believe it.”

Kieger insisted the Penn State team she’s put on the court in the last six games is the same group that won six games in a row just before a loss to Michigan started the losing streak. Despite that, Penn State, which took the same Ohio State team to overtime in Columbus, was blown out by the Buckeyes in State College, but Kieger said the players in her locker room can play as they once did.

Kieger has tangible solutions for her team to play better. The Lady Lions have to play better defense, pass more, and avoid giving up as many turnovers. Her star guard Shay Ciezki, who scored three points in the Ohio State loss, has to get her confidence back up so they can shoot better.

“We just got to get tougher. We got to get more disciplined,” Kieger said. “I think that’s a big thing that’s hurting us right now is our lack of discipline and awareness.”

With games against Purdue and Minnesota left, the Lady Lions will face two teams below them in the Big Ten standings. But that hasn’t stopped Penn State from losing yet — losses against Illinois and Wisconsin came against the two teams directly below Penn State.

Despite the need to turn the team around quickly, Kieger said the duress could make the Lady Lions a better team.

“Pressure builds diamonds,” Kieger said. “We’re trying to put this program back where it belongs, and it’s going to be one possession at a time.”

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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