With only one game under its belt, it’s not easy to assess Penn State’s identity just yet, but it started on the right foot.
Coach Carolyn Kieger is coming off her 100th career victory after Penn State defeated Towson 73-67 on Tuesday.
Now, Kieger and the Lady Lions will look to take care of business against Rider on Sunday with a more efficient first-half showing.
In the first half against the Tigers, Penn State shot an abysmal 19 percent on 6-of-31 from the field and only had 18 points heading into the half.
However, Towson was just as poor, as Penn State was only down six at the break after having about as ugly a half that a team could have shooting-wise.
Building off of that, one aspect of Penn State’s game that it needs to be more efficient in is its three-pointers. The Lady Lions shot just 20 percent on 3-of-15 from beyond the arc.
With those struggles, Penn State changed its approach in the second half and started to attack the rim and it was rewarded for it.
The key for the Lady Lions in the second half was getting to the line. They got to the charity stripe 32 times against Towson, with 26 of the free throws coming in the second half, and shot 81.3 percent from the stripe as a team.
Penn State’s Makenna Marisa and Kamaria McDaniel were the most featured plays at the line that night with eight attempts each, along with Siyeh Frazier and Alisia Smith have six attempts apiece.
With a team that struggled to score in the first half, it’s promising for Penn State fans to see the young team adapt, drive more and get to the line to get a rhythm.
Penn State scored 55 points in the second half, capping off the night with a 30-point fourth quarter.
Marisa, McDaniel, Frazier and Smith all ended in double figures in the points column.
Smith didn’t start, but she earned a double-double in her first regular season game since her season-ending injury last season. Off the bench, she notched 24 minutes of game time and added two blocks to her night, too.
As Smith was a key contributor to the Lady Lions last season, seeing her have an encouraging start to this season is a warm welcome.
Looking at Rider, it’s coming off an 80-47 loss at Princeton to start the season. Stella and Amari Johnson accounted for 36 of the Broncs points on the night, which will be the two key figures that Penn State has to focus on.
Stella was named the MAAC Preseason Player of the year and averaged nearly 19 points per game last season.
As a team, the Broncs shot 36 percent from the field and 43 percent from three.
One thing that stands out is the 47 points that Rider allowed in the second half. If Penn State and Rider start off slow, it could benefit Penn State after seeing how it responded with its grand second half against Towson.
Outside of Stella and Amari, the rest of the roster shot 4-of-13 on the night for just 11 points against Princeton. Rider is coming off of a 19-13 season last year, but if Penn State shuts down Stella and Amari, Kieger has a great opportunity to notch her first career win at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State and Rider will play on Sunday, with the tip set for 1 p.m.