B1G Game 9: Gopher Visit Penn State (1-25-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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DIDN’T WE JUST MEET?
Back on January 10th, Penn State (1-5) defeated Minnesota (2-6). It was the Lady Lions first Big Ten win in over a year. PSU had accumulated 19 straight B1G losses before dancing out of Williams Arena with a 69-60 win. It was an important milestone for a team with three returnees, eight freshmen and five transfers trying to rebuild the Lady Lion program.

Then, while finishing the rough carpentry, the roof collapsed. Shortly before the Lady Lions faced their next opponent, Northwestern, they lost their best player, guard Kelly Jekot, to an undisclosed season ending injury. The injury removed their leading scorer who averaged 16.8 points, 37.2 minutes and 6.2 rebounds per game. That’s a big hole to plug in a roster that was in need of a lot of plugs. Head coach Carolyn Kieger was pretty direct on what Jekot, a grad transfer from Villanova, meant to the team:

“We have a tall task ahead of us,” Kieger said. “Kelly Jekot suffered a season-ending injury, not related to [COVID-19], this week and we have to figure out how to make up for her scoring, minutes, and rebounding. Kelly has such a high IQ and shares the ball really well. We’re one of the youngest teams in the country, so when you lose that experience and lose that vet, it’s going to hurt until we have time to re-group and figure it out.”

Northwestern never gave Kieger a chance to “figure it out”. The Wildcats administered a 50-67 beat down in State College. The Lady Lions turned the ball over 27 times leading to 24 Wildcat points. However, Keiger received some extra time to regroup because their next game, at Rutgers, was postponed by the Scarlet Knights because of Covid. Penn State has a week of repair and rebuild before facing Minnesota.

Jekot or not, It’s been a season long search for consistency. Kieger has used six different lineups. The mainstays are guard Makenna Marisa (9 points and 4 rebounds versus Minnesota) and post Johnasia Cash (14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out against Minnesota). Unfortunately, one of Cash’s consistencies continues to be foul trouble.

There are some hit and sometimes miss options at guard:

Freshman Maddie Burke (24 points versus Maryland and 12 against the Gophers).

Freshman Tova Sabel (15 points versus Indiana).

Sophomore Shay Hagans (4 points and 5 rebounds versus the Gophers)

Senior and Wisconsin transfer Niya Beverly (7 points versus the Gopher including two key three pointers):




Nevertheless, Penn State is still facing a difficult rebuild and Minnesota shouldn’t give them any chance to shorten it.

Last Meeting:

:23 seconds into the second half Penn State’s Kelly Jekot buried a jumper giving the Lady Lions a 35-34 lead. Closing out the third quarter, former Badger, Niya Beverly, nailed a buzzer beating three stretching the lead to 54-44 and launching the Lady Lions to their first and only Big Ten Victory.

From a Gopher standpoint there were a few notable items:

Jasmine Powell led Minnesota with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 turnovers.

Laura Bagwell Katalinich posted 12 points and 5 rebounds

Katie Borowicz made her debut playing 15 minutes.

Sara Scalia was out recovering from a separated shoulder

Whalen summed it up best:

“They put a lot of different defenses on us, and we obviously struggled against it,” Whalen said. “The third quarter is killing us, we need to be a team that comes out of with some sort of semblance that we are ready to play.”

Penn State Big Ten Games

B1G Win:
@Minnesota 69-60

B1G Losses: Purdue 87-91, Maryland 82-96, @Ohio State 69-82, Indiana 64-85 and Northwestern 50-67

Postponed Games: @Michigan and @ Rutgers


Makenna Marisa’s Last Six Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Purdue2641314
Maryland725213
Ohio State2192351
Indiana1063283
Minnesota942282
Northwestern1214290


Johnasia Cash’s Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Purdue1131144
Maryland1130244
Ohio State460153
Indiana19170323
Minnesota12120295
Northwestern1482334


Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’11”GSoMakenna Marisa28,714.24.3
6’2”FSoJohnasia Cash24.512.28.2
6’3”FSoAnna Camden19.36.02.5
5’7”GSrNiya Beverly20.54.31.8
5’6”GSoShay Hagans16.72.72.0


Bench:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’0”GFrMaddie Burke23.77.82.0
5’10”GFrTova Sabel20.76.53.3
5’7”GFrNyam Thorton13.72.52.2

 

GringaGopher

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We need to keep improving our D after showing signs of life @ NB. It would be confidence building to have them get this W.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Jasmine Powell leads the Gophers with a scoring average of 17.1 points per game this season. She has scored at least 11 points in each of the last 12 games dating to last season and has made three or more 3-pointers in five straight contests. In addition to her scoring prowess, which ranks 13th in the Big Ten, Powell is third in the conference and 15th nationally with her 5.9 assists 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 Gophers debut (Kenisha Bell vs. VCU, 11/15/16). Owner of two double-doubles in her last five games, Sissoko is second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game (3.70) and is the team's top rebounder (6.8).

• After missing the first two games of the season, Sara Scalia averaged 8.0 points over her first three contests and was shooting 23.5 percent from the floor (8-34) and 20 percent on 3-pointers (4-20). However, she has averaged 14.3 points over the last four contests, including a season-high 18 points at Iowa on Jan. 6, while shooting 36.0 percent on field goals (18-50) and 36.1 percent on 3's (13-36). She missed the Jan. 10 contest with Penn State but has scored 14 points in each of her last two games.

Klarke Sconiers has posted back-to-back games in double figures for the first time in her career with 13 points against Maryland on Jan. 14 and 10 at Nebraska on Jan. 19. She now has three games in her career with at least 10 points, also doing so in the season opener against Eastern Illinois where she posted a career-high 14 points.

• The Gophers have four players averaging double figures in Big Ten play with Powell leading the way at 16.0 points per game. Scalia is behind her at 11.6 along with Gadiva Hubbard (10.8). Sissoko is averaging 10.5 points per game and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per contest in league play
 

Frink

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We are really getting good shots in this game. Glad to see lbk hit a couple of shots.
 

Aesop70

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Uggg. Sissoku needs to finish when she gets to the rim. Letting PSU right back in this.
 

Shades

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Terrible pass and subsequent lack of defense from Scalia.
 

Aesop70

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Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb turnovers... and now PSU leads.
 

whalenfan

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Game of runs so far, take care of the ball and we get really good shots. Cash is a tough matchup for our bigs so hopefully we can draw some more fouls on her.
 

Shades

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41-39 MIN at the half

Scalia & Hubbard with 10 pts ea.
 

MNGirlsHoops

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She has had an overall good half and leads in scoring. She needs to eliminate the TO's and play D with her feet.
Not sure those TOs are on her, Kadi needs to come to the ball in the middle of the floor, she is turning to run before she catches, and Alexis just didnt catch the ball in the corner.
The defensive lapses were at the end of the half, not sure what Kadi was doing on the last play, gotta keep the ball in front.
if we dont make the extra pass which we stopped in the 2nd, we are going to get exposed in transition. Our bigs cant get up and down the floor with Pn ST.
 

Frink

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Ugh giving up another transition bucket.
 

Aesop70

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We're back to the offense where four players standing and watch the player with ball - then jack up a desperate three. Why can't these girls keep moving and cut to the basket. They see other teams do it to us often enough.
 

Frink

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This is Toko taking a shot to the face which let their guard drive. Wonder if the rest should take a look at that one?
 

Frink

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Big steel and big offensive rebound from mershon. She's not going to give you a lot of offensively she loves seeing her make those kind of plays
 

whalenfan

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Big steel and big offensive rebound from mershon. She's not going to give you a lot of offensively she loves seeing her make those kind of plays
She comes up with alot of hustle plays, shes been huge in the last couple minutes.
 

Shades

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Dayum, Mershon..... second game I’ve seen where she’s been impressive. Might be time to make her a starter.
 
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Aesop70

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Gutsy 4th quarter to come back to win this one. Loved the better ball movement and short passes to the top of the paint to create opportunities. Hope all the young ones are learning from the heart, hustle and court awareness of Hubbard, Mershon and Katalinich.
 

tripledouble

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Team continues to improve...baby steps, not leaps. I liked what Scalia did offensively, getting her share of threes but going to the hoop sometimes also. Solid game for Powell despite early foul trouble. Yes, some great hustle plays by Mershon and LBK. Not much from Sconiers today, due to foul trouble. That's been a problem in a number of games and hopefully she'll be able to correct that. The Gophers defensive is still not very good. Kieger doing a good job with the young Nittany Lions. Really like the way they get out and run in transition.
 

Gophers112233

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Mershon might have had her best game tonight for us.. like other have said not a huge offensive threat, but she makes that up in HUSTLE she had I think the biggest steal of the game with 2:19 in the 4th when we were up 74-72, lead to Powell's missed layup but Kayla was there to clean it up and get Cash to foul out.

Scalia is a gamer to play with a separated shoulder and make it a career night with 5 made 3's

Diva for the second straight game stepped up late in the game for us, showing her senior leadership of late specially late in games.

6 Gophers finished with 6 or more rebounds tonight
22 assists on 30 baskets
48 rebounds
 

EaganGopher22

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Good to see the recovery from another dreaded 3rd quarter. Won't be able to pull that off against better teams than PSU. But a W on the road is always a good thing.
 
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