McDaniel Pushes Lady Lions Past Pittsburgh
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kamaria McDaniel joined exclusive company, becoming third Lady Lion to score 40 points, as she powered Penn State to a 78-73 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Big Ten/ACC challenge on Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
“I mean, it’s cool,” the sophomore McDaniel said about the accomplishment. “But I was just happy that we were able to finish strong. I guess it’s an extra, but it was more important to get the dub.”
McDaniel’s 40-point effort came just a week after setting a career high of 27 points against NC Central in the consolation round of the Cal Classic in Berkeley, California.
“I was just talking to Kamaria after her 27-point game, and I said, ‘Why settle for 27? Go for 40,’” head coach Carolyn Kieger said about McDaniel’s performance. “Clearly she’s very coachable, and she did that exactly.”
McDaniel took over in the second quarter in which she scored 17 of her 40 points, eventually scoring the third-most points in Lady Lions history.
“I challenged them because I thought Pitt was outrunning us,” Kieger said “I looked them in the eye and said, ‘Really? You’re going to let someone run faster than you on your home court?’ And then Kamaria took it to heart, and that was it.”
McDaniel seemed to be playing in the paint all night against Pittsburgh, and by using crafty finishes combined with aggressive drives, she had herself a career night.
“If we can score in primary [fast breaks], that’s good for us,” McDaniel said. “My teammates were doing a great job getting rebounds and kicking it up to me and spacing the floor out. They get the credit for me scoring.”
McDaniel finished her night by scoring 13 points in the last two minutes to stifle Pittsburgh’s late-game comeback effort.
“Coaches have been working with me, watching film,” McDaniel said. “I’m just learning to try not to make the same mistakes or take bad shots… and it worked out well for me today.”
The night was not all good for the Lady Lions, as sophomore Lauren Ebo battled a leg injury all night that she suffered late in the first quarter and re-aggravated with 8:38 remaining in the fourth.
“I just knew we had to do this for [Ebo], and we couldn’t let that stop our momentum,” McDaniel said. “It was a big team effort to sustain what we had going without her.”
The Lady Lions did stumble out of the gates in the second half, which is becoming a trend that Kieger would like to see disappear.
“I think we might stop going into the locker room. You’ll see us doing shooting drills,” Kieger joked. “I don’t know if it’s an anxious thing, but we’ve got to move past it and not make it a thing.”
Kieger sees improvement being made in late-game execution but knows there is still work to do in order to get her players to play a full 40 minutes.
“Obviously we’ve got to fix our rebounding, and I thought our turnovers were better tonight, but we’ve got to get more assists,” Kieger said. “But I was pleased with our team handling that and weathering that storm in the fourth quarter.”
The Lady Lions will look to extend their win streak to three when they head to Jadwin Gymnasium to take on Princeton on Dec. 14 at 3 p.m.
Jerome Taylor is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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