Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Marisa a Building Block for Psu

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Marisa a Building Block for Psu

Article excerpt

Within five minutes of her first workout with Makenna Marisa, new Penn State women's basketball coach Carolyn Kieger turned to one of her assistant coaches with a smile.

"I was like 'This kid can play,'" Kieger said.

Marisa, a freshman at Penn State and two-time Post-Gazette Player of the Year, is one of the better guards to come out of the WPIAL in recent history, having led Peters Township to an undefeated season and WPIAL and PIAA championships as a senior.

She had offers from Baylor, eventual 2018 champion, among several others, but chose Penn State because it felt like home - her grandpa, Rudy, was a member of the 1954 Final Four team, and her brother, Kelson, who will be a senior at Penn State, is a member of the practice squad this year.

Marisa's decision held firm despite a coaching change from Coquese Washington to Kieger, who was previously at Marquette.

Now, in her first year as a Nittany Lion, she finds herself as an integral part of Penn State's rebuilding process.

"We're going to need a lot out of her and I'm going to have pretty high expectations for her as a freshman which I think is going to be great," Kieger said. "That's how you learn is you play through your mistakes as a freshman and you grow, so I'm excited for her because I think she's got a great opportunity to play right away and not only just play, but impact."

Penn State, which went 12-18 last year (5-13 in the Big Ten) and went .500 in the 2017 season, is looking to bounce back this year under Kieger, who led Marquette to three consecutive NCAA tournaments.

"Everyone's mindset is, it's not going to be the same as last year . Just always stay positive, that's a huge thing," Marisa said. "Just be unselfish, cheer each other on, never put our heads down. So we're staying positive and working hard. We know that we're going to have to really go at it, go at each other and push each other to be the best and hopefully show some positive results. …

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