Penn State, a team that struggled through its 2020-21 conference slate, will have one of the youngest frontcourts in the Big Ten this upcoming season.
With some new faces, the Lady Lion forwards will be full of youthful exuberance and feature a pair of young freshmen who will have some learning to do under their more experienced upperclassmen.
Following the departure of Johnasia Cash, who ranked third in the Big Ten last season in rebounds and fourth in double-doubles, there are big shoes to fill.
Here are the players most likely to put those shoes on this upcoming season.
Anna Camden, junior
Anna Camden is the most experienced member of the Lady Lions’ forward group.
Last season, she started 23 out of 24 games for the blue and white while averaging 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 24.3 minutes per game.
She scored 10 or more points 10 times in her sophomore campaign, featuring an 18-point, seven-rebound game on the road in Iowa.
Camden possesses a diverse skill set and will look to improve on her 27% 3-point shooting efficiency in order to help Penn State stretch the court.
Along with the other Lady Lion forwards, Camden will look to get to the free-throw line frequently, where she shot 86% last season.
Penn State will not only expect Camden to step up on the court, but off of it as well.
On a team defined by youth, she is one of a handful of upperclassmen who will have to assume a leadership role and help the Lady Lions grow and learn.
Ali Brigham, sophomore
Although she is a sophomore, this will be Ali Brigham’s first year with the Lady Lions.
She spent the 2020-21 season with the George Washington Colonials, where she put together quite the freshman campaign.
Brigham started 19 out of 23 games for the Colonials and led the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game.
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Not only an effective scorer but an efficient one as well, Brigham led the team in field goal percentage and ranked No. 6 nationally among freshmen at 50.4%.
The standout season was accentuated by a 26-point effort on 12-for-15 shooting against VCU.
The ultimate highlight of Brigham’s season arguably came at the end when she earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team.
Although she may not have a ton of NCAA experience under her belt, Brigham should be a solid addition to the Lady Lions’ roster.
Ymke Brouwer, freshman
One of the two freshmen, Ymke Brouwer is a former member of GC Zürich, a Swiss professional basketball team.
Brouwer averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while playing in the 2019 U18 FIBA European Championship for the Swiss national team.
In the U18 FIBA European Championship, Brouwer’s 16.4 scoring average ranked No. 4 among all competitors in the tournament.
Brouwer led her U16 team to a Swiss Championship and a spot in the 2020 Super Cup.
Blue Star Europe ranked Brouwer as a 4-star recruit while GoGlobal gave her an “A” grading.
Standing at 6-feet tall, Brouwer is the shortest of the Lady Lions’ forward group but should still provide some needed depth to the Penn State frontcourt.
Kayla Thomas, freshman
Rounding out the forward position for the blue and white is another freshman in Kayla Thomas.
Thomas led her high school team to a 76-13 record and a pair of district championships in her three seasons at Emerge Christian Academy.
While in high school, Thomas held a leadership role on the team as she was named captain for her senior season.
She was also named MVP of the She Got Game Classic Tournament in 2020 and was ranked as the No. 9 post player and No. 72 overall player in her class by Girls Basketball Report.
Thomas comes from an athletic family as her mother, Tenicka Strown, played volleyball, basketball and ran track at Mississippi Valley State, and was named a two-time MVSU Female Athlete of the Year.
Thomas should provide Penn State with frontcourt depth and size in her freshman campaign.
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