Penn State will look to shake some of its road woes in the midst of its five-game losing streak away from home.
After splitting their recent two-game homestand at the Bryce Jordan Center, earning a win over Wisconsin after suffering a close loss to Minnesota earlier in the week, the Lady Lions will hit the road for a pair of games against Big Ten foes.
The blue and white will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, at 7 p.m. on Thursday to take on Rutgers before taking on No. 10 Maryland at 6 p.m. on Monday to wrap up its road trip.
Penn State is coming off a comeback win against the Badgers behind Taniyah Thompson’s career game off of the bench. The senior guard scored 15 of her season-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to snap her squad’s three-game skid.
Although the Lady Lions ended their losing streak with a five-point victory over Wisconsin on Sunday, they’re not satisfied with just one, as they have hopes of stringing together wins after starting the season 7-0.
Coach Carolyn Kieger said after suffering its second defeat of the season to the Golden Gophers, the blue and white had a “tough” three days of practice and hopes those sessions can be the foundation for success in the future.
“We know road wins count double in the Big Ten,” the fourth-year coach said. “You got to be extra focused and extra disciplined.”
Here’s what to expect in the Lady Lions’ upcoming matchups.
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The Scarlet Knights are coming off three consecutive losses, all against Big Ten opponents, by an average of 23 points per game to push its record to 8-13 overall.
Penn State and Rutgers aren’t strangers to each other, as the two teams faced off back in late December. In the conference matchup, the Lady Lions jumped out to a 20-point lead after the first quarter, ultimately cruising to a double-digit victory in Happy Valley.
Senior guard Makenna Marisa led the way for the blue and white, scoring a game-high 32 points after shooting 11-for-22 from the field against the Scarlet Knights.
Another positive in its last matchup against Rutgers was Penn State’s ability to limit mistakes on offense, committing just 10 turnovers — its lowest mark of the season. After turning the ball over just 14 times on Sunday, the blue and white coach said she wants to see her team continue to take care of the rock.
“For us, as we learn how to win, every possession matters,” Kieger said. “Turning the ball over here and there, you can’t do that on the road.”
Marisa and company will look to replicate the hot start from their first matchup of the year against Rutgers when traveling to the Garden State.
With six Big Ten teams featured in the AP Poll, the Lady Lions are bound to play a top-25 squad a few times a season, and Monday’s showdown with Maryland will be their fourth game of the year against a ranked opponent.
Penn State hasn’t fared well against ranked squads thus far, losing all three games, including a 108-67 loss to No. 10 Iowa on Jan. 14.
In search of picking up its second ranked win in the Kieger-led era, the blue and white will have to beat a Terrapins unit that’s won nine of its last 10 games, suffering a lone loss to No. 6 Indiana.
Maryland is charged by Diamond Miller on offense, averaging a team-high 18.6 points per game in 19 starts. Along with pacing the group in points, the senior guard also leads the team in rebounds, steals and blocks.
Before the Terrapins can welcome Penn State to College Park, Maryland, they’ll host No. 13 Michigan in a battle of two teams near the top of the Big Ten totem pole.
“At the end of the day, the only thing we care about is putting Penn State back into the postseason,” Kieger said.
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