Penn State Women’s Basketball: Lady Lions Weekly Preview
The Penn State Lady Lions are on fire and off to their best start in 26 years. Coach Carolyn Kieger’s squad is 7-0, and have two huge matchups this week to test the Lady Lions.
The Lady Lions welcome in Virginia to the Bryce Jordan Center as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Virginia enters the contest at 8-0, and are coming off a dominant 72-50 win over East Carolina.
The Lady Lions have been led by their All-Big Ten guard Makenna Marisa, who has been excellent in 2022-23. Marisa is averaging an impressive 16.9 points per game, as well as over four assists and over five rebounds.
Marisa has been able to thrive this season in large part due to the emergence of freshman point guard Shay Ciezki, who has emerged as a key contributor for the Blue and White. Ciezki is averaging over nine points per game and most importantly recording only six turnovers in the first seven games.
Ciezki and Marisa will need to play great on Wednesday when Virginia comes to the BJC, as the Cavaliers receive contributions from several different players. The Cavaliers have four different players averaging more than 10 points per game, and are led by senior forward Camryn Taylor.
Taylor is in her second season with Virginia after transferring over from Marquette, and has been a force for the Cavaliers. Taylor is averaging 13.9 points per game and more than five rebounds per game as well. Taylor has been huge for the undefeated Cavaliers, and will need to be at her best if Virginia wants to defeat the Lady Lions on Wednesday night.
After the matchup with the Cavaliers, Penn State opens Big Ten play when it hits the road to take on Minnesota. The Gophers are 4-2 on the season, and will be opening up their Big Ten slate as well.
The Gophers have been led all season by freshman guard Mara Braun. Braun has been impressive in her first season with the Gophers, averaging 18.2 points per game with 11 made threes on the year.
Braun will be tested by the Lady Lions, especially by Marisa who is one of the premier guards in the Big Ten. Marisa’s experience matched up against Braun’s young talent makes this a very intriguing matchup heading into conference play.
Another key contributor to the Lady Lions success has been the defensive presence of Leilani Kapinus. Kapinus is an extremely versatile defender with her ability to guard all five positions on the floor, making her a huge key for coach Kieger’s success in the early parts of the year.
Penn State is off to its best start since the turn of the millennium, and the Lady Lions will have their toughest test of the year on Wednesday against Virginia, before starting up the grind of conference play.
Adam Sheetz is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.