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Preview: MSU women's basketball looks to notch second consecutive win against Penn State

February 12, 2023
Freshman guard Matilda Ekh (11) tries to get around Penn State’s redshirt freshman guard Leilani Kapinus (5) during an intense game at the Breslin Center on Feb. 21, 2022. The Spartans lost to the Lady Lions 79-71.
Freshman guard Matilda Ekh (11) tries to get around Penn State’s redshirt freshman guard Leilani Kapinus (5) during an intense game at the Breslin Center on Feb. 21, 2022. The Spartans lost to the Lady Lions 79-71.

After a dominant win on the road against Wisconsin, the Michigan State women’s basketball team will be taking on Penn State Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Breslin Center.

Graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel is going into the game against her former team coming off of a spectacular performance in Madison. McDaniel sunk a career-high six three-pointers, and led the team with a whopping 29 points after a couple of games stuck in a single-digit rut.

“I think every game is pretty big," McDaniel said. "I’m at a place right now in my life, I'm just taking everything the same way, the same approach. I don't get too up or too down about anything. I love the people at Penn State. I always have a special place in my heart. They gave me the opportunity, so I love them, and I’m ready to compete.”

The Spartans have yet to take on the Nittany Lions this season, but in their last meeting, Penn State was able to secure the narrow win 79-71, and hold onto their 31-22 all-time advantage over Michigan State.

The contest against the Lady Lions will be the Spartan’s fifth consecutive game with Dean Lockwood acting as Interim Head Coach while Head Women's Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant is still recovering from her medical incident on Jan. 28.

Lockwood is currently 1-3 as head coach this season—the team's first win without Merchant coming just Wednesday.

“I love the game, and I love coaching — and this is something you just have to stand in the gap and do what needs to be done," Lockwood said. ”I love what I've done. I’m Very thankful, very grateful to do something that I love,” “It's a different role than obviously, I came here for, or even started the season with, but once again, it's not a foreign role or something I've never done. I am enjoying it, but at the same time … it's Suzy’s team, Suzy’s program, and we want to do justice to that. I'm doing everything I can to reinforce that as well.”

Much like the Spartans, the Lady Lions are currently sitting at a 4-9 record in conference play, and Penn State is coming off a massive 95-51 loss against Iowa in Happy Valley.

Despite a losing Big Ten record, Penn State has an incredibly talented roster. PSU senior guard Makenna Marisa is a star player for the Lady Lions. She currently sits at sixth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game, and redshirt sophomore guard Leilani Kapinus leads the league in steals averaging 3.5 steals per game.

“I think that every team in this in this league is gonna give us a dogfight—give everyone a dogfight,” McDaniel said. “Everyone wants to win. Everybody wants to prove themselves and trying to have bigger goals to reach, so I definitely don't expect anything less than a dogfight or focused performance from them”

Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. at the Breslin Center and the matchup can be streamed on BTN+.

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