Photo Credit to Gorman Findley
The Penn State Lady Lions (15-5 | 6-3) are on a tear, winning 5 in a row and defeating a foe they haven't defeated in 21 years in Maryland last Sunday in front of their largest crowd of the year. In fact, since Penn State's victory they have earned a vote in this week's AP poll. Penn State was ranked #25 earlier in the season before falling out of the poll and have received votes in other polls prior to this week's return. The Golden Gophers (14-6 | 4-5) pose a significant obstacle to continuing the Lions win steak tonight when the squads face off in Minneapolis. Nonetheless, this Gophers team is reeling from the loss of Mara Braun, their top scorer, and are coming off a loss to Illinois.
The last time Penn State defeated Minnesota in Minneapolis no fans were able to attend and it was Coach Carolyn Kieger's 2nd win over a Big Ten team. Penn State has been averaging 88.8 points on this five game win streak. Meanwhile, the Gophers are only averaging 63.5 over the same stretch. Without Mara Braun playing in this game, the Golden Gophers will need other players to step up if they are going to keep up with the Lions who have six players averaging double figures, currently.
What to Watch ForWill Penn State Force Turnovers?
In each of the last five games, Penn State has forced several turnovers against their opponents: Maryland (15), Northwestern (19), Purdue (19), Nebraska (18), Rutgers (24).
If they can force turnovers against Minnesota, they will likely have a similar recipe for success.
Penn State is playing like a completely different team with Ashley Owusu and Makenna Marisa back in the line-up. With the addition of Shay Ciezki and Leilani Kapinus picking up scoring production as well and Tay Valladay's consistency, the Lions have a prolific offense. Couple this with Mara Braun being out for the Gophers, we might see a lopsided affair if Minnesota doesn't have someone to fill-in for Braun's absence.
Penn State 87, Minnesota 72