B1G Game 6: Gophers Host Penn State (1-10-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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YEAR ZER0 + ONE
PJ Fleck famously declared a year zero. Certainly, Penn State’s Carolyn Kieger could find PJ’s jargon useful. Before this season, Kieger said, “We absolutely are going to play position less basketball. That’s always been my style of play.”

Position less basketball may have been her style of play; but it wasn’t the Lady Lions style. Penn State went 7-23 (1-17 in the Big Ten). Last Spring, Mya Bembry transferred to Seton Hall, Lauren Ebo to Texas, Jayla James and Alisia Smith to Michigan State, Kamara McDaniel to Baylor and Bexley Wallace to Kent State. Round holes, square pegs. Thus doth a year one convert to a year zero in Fleckese.

Following the transfers and graduations, only three players, all freshmen, returned. Now sophomores, the three returnees, guards Makenna Marisa and Shay Hagans and forward Anna Camden, were joined by eight freshmen recruits and five transfers. The transfers are all upper classmen and bring experience to a team in need of some serious meet and greets. Instilling chemistry in such a team probably requires a degree in molecular biology rather than a Handy Andy Chemistry Lab; but, if you’re instilling a new culture eliminating institutional memory is a good start.

All the new faces meant, Kieger has been experimenting with the starters and the rotation. There are three consistent starters: sophomore Makenna Marisa; senior guard Kelly Jekot from Villanova and Senior forward Johnasia Cash from SMU. Marisa and Jekot are the go to players while Cash has been inconsistent and in foul trouble. The other two starting position have been doled out to players who had a hot hand in the previous game. Well…maybe there’s a bit more coaching involved but that’s what it looks like to me. Anyway, Wisconsin transfer Niya Beverly seems to be trying to nail down one of the open starting spots. Beverly was a three year starter for the Badgers-we probably know her better than does Kieger. It’s safe to say, you can forget whatever you knew about last season’s Lady Lions-Carolyn Kieger has.

So How is Year One going?

Penn State got off to a quick 3-0 start defeating Coppin State, 84-45; St. Francis, 87-54 and Rhode Island 70-69. The Rhode Island victory was notable for a fortuitous buzzer beating, winning, layup by Makenna Marisa. The ball was slapped out of Johnasia Cash’s hands and grabbed on the bounce by Marisa as she streaked down the lane. Two of the returning players were the top scorers: Marisa 17 points and Hagans 16. Two of the transfers, Johnasia Cash 13 and Kelly Jakot 11 were also in double figures. The Rhode Island win was the season’s high water mark. The Lady Lions have not won since.

The first loss was at Syracuse. However, Penn State (10-33 from behind the arc) put up a battle leading by seven, 46-39, with 7:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter. An Orange comeback late in the fourth quarter delivered a 82-72 win. The Lady Lions leading scorer was Swedish freshman Tova Sabel with 15 (5-7 from three). Other notables: Cash with 13 points and 10 rebounds; Marisa with 9 points and 11 rebounds and Jakot with 13.

PSU returned to Big Ten action suffering a hard fought 91-87 home loss to Purdue. They outscored the Boilers 29-21 in the third quarter on their way to a 72-67 lead with 8:37 remaining in the game. Purdue rallied and held off Penn State in the closing seconds. Scoring for Penn State: Marisa 26 points, Jekot 14, sophomore guard Anna Camden 11, Cash 11 and Sabel 10.

After Purdue, Kieger vowed that the Lady Lions would work hard on defense. Unfortunately, Maryland dropped by State College handing Penn State a 96-82 loss. Leading scorers for Penn State: Jekot 23 points and 10 rebounds, Cash 11 and sophomore guard Maddie Burke 24 (7-14 from three). Burke got to start the next game.

Traveling to Columbus, the Lady Lions took on an Ohio State squad that hadn’t played in 28 days and was still missing some key players including Dorka Juhasz. Nevertheless, the Buckeyes blitzed the PSU zone for a 22-12 lead at the end of one and a 47-31 lead at the half. A Lady Lion rally cut the OSU lead to 68-61 with 7:21 remaining in the contest; but that was the high point in an 82-69 loss. Once again PSU was led by both Makenna Marisa 21 points and 9 rebounds and Kelly Jekot 19 points. It was a breakout game for Wisconsin transfer Niya Beverly who scored 14 points in 30 minutes off the bench.

Niya Beverly got the start against Indiana and didn’t score in 23 minutes of play. On the other hand, Johnasia Cash came off the bench for 19 points and rebounds. It didn’t make a difference as the Lady Lions slipped to 0-4 in the Big Ten with a 85-64 loss to the Hoosiers in Happy Valley. It took until the fourth quarter for IU to put away Penn State. It was 64-58 Hoosiers early in the fourth quarter; before Indiana took charge for the win. PSU’s starting lineup was Kelly, Marisa, Camden, Beverly and Burke. Kelly finished with 13 points, Marisa 10 and Sabel 15. Other than Kelly and Marisa, who knows who will start for Penn State against the Gophers?

Last Season’s Matchups with Minnesota:

Minnesota opened the Big Ten season with a trip to Penn State and an 81-74 victory. In the first quarter the Gophers outscored the Lady Lions 28-10. Everything looked good until Penn State outscored Minnesota 34 to 19 in the fourth quarter. A 49-14 Gopher lead was chopped down to a nervous 12 points mid-way through the fourth. It was a slow crawl to the finish. For the Lady Lions: the only two players on this season’s team: Makenna Marisa scored 12 points and Anna Camden 2. Sara Scalia had 22 points and 7 rebounds. Destiny Pitts scored 22; Powell and Hubbard finished with 8.

The final meeting between the Lady Lions and the Gophers was a 85-65 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota turned this into a laugher out scoring PSU 48-23 in the second half. For the game, Minnesota was 11-23 from three while dishing out 20 assists. For the soon to be former Lady Lions, the transfer portal beckoned. Minnesota: Powell and Hubbard each scored 16 and Scalia 5. PSU: Camden scored 12 points and Marisa 5.

Kelly Jekot’s Last Six Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Rhode Island1120391
Syracuse1374334
Purdue1442363
Maryland23103372
Ohio State1961371
Indiana1332391

Makenna Marisa’s Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Rhode Island1756331
Syracuse9114322
Purdue2641314
Maryland725213
Ohio State2192351
Indiana1063283

Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’0”GGrKelly Jekot37.317.35.8
5’11”GSoMakenna Marisa28.816.05.3
6’2”FSoJohnasia Cash21.311.37.3
5’10”GFrTova Sabel24.88.84.0
6’0”GFrMaddie Burke21.06.52.0

Bench:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’3”FSoAnna Camden18.56.32.3
5’6”GSoShay Hagans13.52.01.3
5’7”GSrNiya Beverly17.54.31.8
5’7”GFrNyam Thorton15.83.32.0

 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Gopher Notes:
THE OPENING TIP-OFF
Jasmine Powell leads the Gophers with a scoring average of 16.4 points per game this season. She has scored at least 11 points in each of the last nine games dating to last season. In addition to her scoring prowess, which ranks 16th in the Big Ten, Powell is third in the conference and 13th nationally with her 6.0 assists per game and ranks second in the Big Ten by playing 35.36 minutes per game.

• In the season opener, Kadi Sissoko scored 24 points in her first game at Minnesota to tie a school record for points a debut (Kenisha Bell vs. VCU, 11/15/16). Coming off back-to-back doubles at Wisconsin and Iowa, Sissoko is second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (4.1) and is fifth in the conference in rebounding average (7.7). Sissoko and Michigan's Naz Hillmon are the only two B1G players to be averaging at least 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Sara Scalia has picked up her play over the last two games. After missing the first two games of the season, she averaged 8.0 points over her first three contests of the season and was shooting 23.5 percent from the floor (8-34) and 20 percent on 3-pointers (4-20). However, she has averaged 14.5 points over the last two contests, including a season-high 18 points at Iowa Wednesday, while shooting 38.5 percent on field goals (10-28) and 38.9 percent on 3's (7-18).

• After missing the first three games of the season due to injury, Laura Bagwell Katalinich has found her groove with the Gophers and is averaging 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in four games played this year, including 10.0 points and 4.3 rebounds over her last three contests. A graduate transfer from Cornell, Bagwell Katalinich averaged 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game in two seasons for the Big Red, shooting 45.6 percent from the floor and 79.9 percent on free throws.

• The Gophers are 1-3 at home this season. Powell is the team's leading scorer so far at Williams Arena at 17.8 points per game, while Sissoko (13.0), Gadiva Hubbard (11.5) and Bagwell Katalinich (10.0) are also in double figures. Sissoko is the team's top rebounder at home with 6.3 boards per game.

• Like in their home games, the Gophers have four players averaging double figures in Big Ten play with Powell leading the way at 14.4 points per game. Sissoko is behind her at 13.2, while Hubbard (11.2) and Sara Scalia (10.6) are also in the club. me. Sissoko is also the team's top rebounder in league play at 7.4 rebounds per contest.

FACING PENN STATE
• Minnesota and Penn State meet for the 50th time on Sunday. The Lady Lions hold a 28-21 edge in the series, but the Gophers have won six straight and nine of the past 10 matchups.

• The current six-game win streak is the second longest active streak for the Gophers against one team behind 11 straight wins vs. Northern Iowa. It's also tied for the Gophers' ninth-longest streak ever against one team
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Penn State Notes:
YOUNGEST TEAM IN THE BIG TEN
  • Penn State's 2020-21 roster features eight freshmen and five transfers who are seeing their first court time in in the Blue and White this season.
  • The eight freshmen, all true freshmen, are tied for the national lead in number of freshmen on Division I rosters. Oral Roberts and Incarnate Word also have eight freshmen on their rosters.
  • Penn State is ranked as the ninth-youngest team in Division I, and the youngest in the Big Ten, with an average age of 19.56.
  • Penn State has 12 players that have two or less years of Division I playing experience, which equates to 75 percent of its roster. The 12 rostered players with two or less years of DI playing experience is tied for ninth-most amongst all Division I rosters.
 

blkroll

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Wasn’t Katie a red head In her commitment picture?? Surprised to see the blond hair!
 

EaganGopher22

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Terrible start to the 3rd quarter. Down 6. Penn came out hot, we seem a little flat
 

Belzx009

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Powell doesn’t play defense.... and needs to make better decisions.
 

Belzx009

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Powell needs to rebound!!! That was her rebound that she watched Penn State hit a buzzer beater with. I know she scores, but she needs to play the whole game or not play as much!!
 
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Stathes is an embarassment.
No, Corbu is not. He and Lynnette are at the game and it has been incredibly inconsistent officiating. Doesn't excuse that we're playing very poorly, however.

And, Tim Daley is one of those officials I cringe when I see him calling our games.
 

Aesop70

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Officiating is very poor. But our defense is giving the refs plenty of opportunities.
 

whalenfan

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Just not gonna win games shooting 30% from the field and 20% from 3. Got alot of good looks too.
 

wbbaddict

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If things don't improve it might be time to hire a couple different assistant coaches. Obanion is the post coach and clearly in over her head and Kelly Curry just lacks the necessary experience to coach at this level.
 

GringaGopher

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Just not gonna win games shooting 30% from the field and 20% from 3. Got alot of good looks too.
We ended the game shooting 17% to their 36% from 3. Many of the other Stat lines were very close.
 

GringaGopher

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Borowicz playing ahead of Strande?
I liked her energy but she missed all her 3's many of which were wide open. Can't feel too bad because she left high school early but the team needed Scalia today.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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FROM THE SOURCE
Head Coach Carolyn Kieger
  • "A total team effort and 24 points of the bench. I thought our bench was phenomenal. Not only by their production, but also how they were with their JUICE on the bench. I thought that was the best chemistry we had all year and it obviously showed."
  • "Getting your first Big Ten win on the road is huge. Extra special when it's in my hometown, which is awesome. Very thankful for the team and how they performed today and stepped up."
  • "Johnasia Cash with back-to-back awesome performances. If we can keep her rolling and keep her in the game, she's going to be a difference maker for us."
 

Aesop70

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If things don't improve it might be time to hire a couple different assistant coaches. Obanion is the post coach and clearly in over her head and Kelly Curry just lacks the necessary experience to coach at this level.
There may be something to this. Our post defense has been poor for several seasons now. It seems like our bigs arrive with natural ability, but are always slow to develop in our system. Some don't seem ready for BIG play until their senior years. That's on the coaching.
 

Katogopher

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This is bottom very disappointing, can’t defend and can’t shoot. Don’t see very many victories this year and maybe not next year. I wanna be hopeful but not looking good
 
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