UNIVERSITY PARK (Nittany Nation) — All eyes are on Penn State head coach Carolyn Kieger as she enters he fifth season at the helm of the Lady Lions and looking for her first winning season.

“We have a chip on her shoulder and a chip to prove to ourselves, our fans and the country that we belong amongst the nation’s best,” Kieger said Tuesday.

An impassioned Kieger met with the media Tuesday. Penn State comes off a 14-17 season that saw the Lady Lions beat Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament, then push fifth seeded Michigan to the brink of defeat. Kieger said that late season success is a great building block.

“I think a lot of rebuilding is teaching the team how to win and gaining that confidence where they believe they can,” she said. “So I think that was a pivotal point in our rebuilding and I think it’s going to really help this year just getting momentum into our first game.”

Penn State returns the core of its 2022-23 squad including all three parts of its dynamic backcourt, Makenna Marisa, Leilani Kapinus, and Shay Ciezki. The Lady Lions also add former Maryland and Virginia Tech standout Ashley Owusu for good measure.

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But no player drew a more empathic responses from Kieger than Alli Campbell. The Altoona native has struggled with injuries since before transferring to Penn State and dealt with more last season. Kieger said Tuesday ‘she’s dominated her rehab.’

“She looks like absolutely like a completely different player. And she is so confident. She’s playing just with such poise. She makes us better every time she’s on the floor, every time we’re making teams in practice, you know, she’s somebody that’s just a glue player,” she said. “could not be more excited for someone who’s been through the ringer the last, you know, two or three years.”

The Lady Lions open the 2023-24 campaign Tuesday, November 7 against Bucknell.