After fending off the Minnesota Golden Gophers earlier this week on Senior Day at home, Michigan State women’s basketball is set to take on the Penn State Lady Lions in College Station for their final regular season game Saturday afternoon.
MSU has been on a bit of a roll recently, having won three of its last four outings. Acting Head Coach Dean Lockwood has liked what his team has shown along with certain individual performances, yet there are still some areas he would like to see improvement upon as the season nears tournament play.
“I think defensively we have been getting a little bit grittier,” Lockwood said. “Offensively, we've had some good outings. I'd like to see our efficiency go up. And, again, the big word you've heard me say a lot is consistency. We’d really like to become more consistent. We're getting contributions out of some people now. Steph has given us a little bit more, Abbey Kimball has given us a little bit more overall. Julia had that game against Maryland. So we're trying to bring some of those folks along.”
Graduate student guard Stephanie Visscher was a player Lockwood mentioned that has recently stepped up, as she scored seven points and added six rebounds to her stat line against Minnesota. After struggling to find consistency in her game throughout the season, Visscher thinks that she is figuring out the best way she can help her team during the most important stretch of the year.
“Coming into a new team was very hard and finding my role was not easy at all,” Visscher said. “Definitely getting more comfortable with the girls on the team and my role and learning this is what is expected of me and things like that.”
After being honored alongside Visscher on Senior Day, graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel will be finishing her regular season career where it all started, in the Bryce Jordan Center. While the afternoon could be an emotional one for McDaniel, her focus is just staying with the game plan and trying to come out with a win.
“I'm just going to try to make it as stoic as possible,” McDaniel said. “I still keep in contact with a lot of people there. A lot of fans have been telling me they're excited to see me so it should be a cool experience. So it always has had a special place in my heart but in terms of basketball, just going with the game plan and executing and learning from our mistakes on the fly.”
Michigan State was victorious their last time out against the Lady Lions about two weeks ago at home, winning by six in overtime. Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh led the Spartans in points with 21 while senior guard Makenna Marisa scored 22 for Penn State.
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on ESPN+.