Keiera Ray and Alyssa Baron take home Big 5 honors

The accolades keep coming for Keiera Ray and Alyssa Baron.

Ray was announced as the third consecutive Penn player to receive Big 5 Rookie of the Year, while Baron took home first-team All-Big 5 honors for the third time.

Mike McLaughlin’s recruiting classes have produced for the Red and Blue recently, as Ray was following in the footsteps of Baron and sophomore forward Kara Bonenberger, who received the Rookie of the Year award the last two years.

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McLaughlin Enters Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame

As if this season's success on the court wasn't enough, Penn women's basketball coach Mike McLaughlin got some more good news Tuesday night when he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

This past season, McLaughlin's fourth with the Quakers, he guided his team to an 18-13 (9-5 Ivy) record, including the program's first-ever postseason victory.

Under McLaughlin, the Quakers have improved their win total every season. In the season before he took over the program, the Red and Blue had just nine wins.

McLaughlin is the fastest women's basketball coach to reach 400 career wins, and currently has a 451-132 (.774) record during his time as a head coach.

Before coaching at Penn, McLaughlin had an incredibly successful head coaching tenure at Holy Family University, his alma mater. His Holy Family teams posted 25 wins or more in every single one of McLaughlin's 14 seasons at the helm. The Tigers won 10 conference titles under McLaughlin, and he was named Conference Coach of the Year 13 times.

Penn women’s basketball’s breakthrough season capped by postseason bid

After posting their first winning regular season record — both overall and in the Ivy League — since the 2004-05 season, the Quakers are not quite done playing yet. The Red and Blue will take part in the First Round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) as they host Howard at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Palestra.

Penn (16-12, 9-5 Ivy) finished third in the Ancient Eight to conclude a regular season highlighted by a 77-72 victory over second-place Harvard on Feb. 15. The last time the Quakers played a postseason game was on March 21, 2004, when they were defeated, 91-55, by No. 2 Connecticut in the East Regional First Round matchup of the NCAA tournament.

The Howard Bison (20-11, 14-5 MEAC) head into the game after having lost the MEAC Championship Game to Hampton, 59-38, on Saturday. Meanwhile, Penn's regular season ended with a 60-44 defeat at the hands of Ivy League champion Princeton.

Baron gets unanimous first-team All-Ivy, Ray gets honorable mention

And now the All-Ivy accolades have come in for Penn women's basketball.

For the first time in her career, junior guard Alyssa Baron earned first-team All-Ivy honors. Baron's 14.2 points per contest were good for fourth-best in the conference as well as tops for Penn for the third straight year.

Baron also ranked second in the Ancient Eight in steals (2.0), assists (3.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.3) and Even as a guard, she also finished fifth in rebounding (6.3).

Three-time Rookie of the Week freshman guard Keiera Ray nabbed an honorable mention thanks to her 11.0 points per game and distinction of being the first Ivy League player ever, woman or man, to be named USBWA National Player of the Week.

Princeton senior guard Niveen Rasheed was named Ivy League Player of the Year, while Havard sophomore forward Temi Fagbenle was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

Liveblog: Penn v. Princeton (W. Hoops)

Follow along as the Quakers (16-11, 9-4 Ivy) try to close out their regular season with an upset over the Ivy Champion Tigers (21-6, 12-1 Ivy).

Behind Enemy Lines: Princeton women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart

-via ivyleaguesports.com

-via ivyleaguesports.com

Princeton clinched its fourth consecutive Ivy League title at Jadwin this past weekend. The Tigers have had a strong run during coach Banghart's tenure and will head to the NCAA Tournament once again, trying to pick up their first postseason victory in Banghart's time with the Tigers. I spoke with Banghart about where she saw her team heading into the tournament and the upcoming Penn-Princeton season finale.

Daily Pennsylvanian: Your team clinched the Ivy League bid over the last weekend. What can you say about your senior class now having won the last four Ivy League titles and now preparing for their fourth NCAA Tournament?

Courtney Banghart: It’s hard to put into words. We always say here that within greatness lies consistency and I give them all the credit in the world for how they’ve remained consistent over a four-year period. Especially with that Saturday night in the Ivy League as the great equalizer, you play through midterms and play through all of that, it is remarkable. It is remarkably rare and it is really hard to do, so all of the credit to the kids.

DP: A lot of brackets have you projected right around the 8-9 matchup in the first round of the NCAA Tournament similar to last season. What can you say about where you think your team ends up and about possible first-round matchups?

CB: What I would say about the bracketology is that I went to one of those mock committee meetings a couple of years ago to learn more about it and what I would say about the bracketology this time of year is what happens when a hurricane comes in or a blizzard comes in. It turns everyone into a weatherman and everyone has their idea of when work should be cancelled, when roads should be closed, but really there are only those who are educated to make those decisions or just those who are making the decisions.

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Game 27: Yale – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (W. Hoops)

Good Bad & Ugly

 

 

 

 

 

RECAP // BOX SCORE

THE GOOD: Kara Bonenberger 

Sophomore Kara Bonenberger turned in a very strong performance for the Quakers. Bonenberger had a double-double – 20 points and 12 boards – to provide secondary scoring alongside leading scorer Alyssa Baron’s 22 points.

THE BAD:  Ivy title hopes are over

Penn’s loss coupled with Harvard’s win knocks them out of second place in the Ancient Eight and the automatic bid to the Women’s NIT with only one game to play for each. It appears that Penn’s hopes for postseason play are slipping away.

 THE UGLY: Struggles beyond the arc

 The Quakers shot just 25.0 percent from beyond the arc while the Bulldogs finished shooting 54.5 percent from three. Yale ultimately finished with 12 three-pointers – twice as many as Penn. That’s an 18-point differential in a game decided by five points.

Game 25: Harvard – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (W. Hoops)

Good Bad & Ugly

 

 

 

 

 

Penn’s six-game winning streak came to an end tonight as the Quakers (15-10, 8-3 Ivy) fell to the Crimson (17-8, 8-3 Ivy), 67-54. With tonight’s loss, Harvard and Penn are now tied for second place in the Ivy League standings.

THE GOOD: Penn’s resilience with a young team.

After a difficult first half where the Quakers fell behind by as many as 20 points, Penn proved that it would not go down without a fight. The Quakers showed some spark at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half. Though Penn’s offense went cold again and the Quakers ultimately let the game get away from them at the end of the second half, the resilience of Penn’s team after a bad first half is a good sign. For Penn’s younger players, such as freshman guard Keiera Ray, to maintain their stamina and focus despite an uphill battle and large deficit shows promise for the future as the team matures.

THE BAD: Penn’s first half.

Penn struggled to get on the board at the start of the game, and this was a foreshadowing of what was to come for most of the night. In the first half, Penn only made 21% of their shots, including going 2-13 from three. Even more troubling was Penn’s defensive efforts which are usually the strongest asset of their game. The Crimson outrebounded 24-15 in the first half. Though Penn got within six by the middle of the second half, the energy the Quakers expended on keeping the game within reach in the beginning ultimately led to their inability to keep up with Harvard.

THE UGLY: The possible loss of Penn’s postseason berth.

Barring any major upsets, tonight’s Harvard loss may have sealed Penn out of any postseason action. Though both the Quakers and the Crimson are tied for second place, Penn still has to face first-place Princeton in its last game of the season. In their first meeting, the Tigers whooped Penn, handing them a 30-point loss, 77-47. Though the Quakers have improved since then, beating Princeton may be too tall an order. By comparison, Harvard’s remaining schedule should be a walk in the park, facing last-place Columbia twice and Cornell once.

Game 24: Dartmouth – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (W. Hoops)

Good Bad & Ugly

 

 

 

 

 

The Quakers (15-9, 8-2 Ivy) notched their sixth straight victory beating Dartmouth (6-18, 4-6 Ivy) 55-45. But what happened at Harvard is the story of the night...

THE GOOD: Brianna Bradford.

Senior Brianna Bradford had one of the best games of her Penn career. In her last road trip and her 100th game as a Quaker, Bradford recorded a career-high 17 points, going 3-for-4 behind the arc, while the rest of the team combined for only 2-for-21. With Baron and Ray in foul trouble in the second half, Bradford's added offensive help was instrumental in Penn's win.

THE BAD: The Quakers offense in the first half.

Penn only recorded 20 points in the first half, shooting 8-for-31 and an abysmal 1-for-16 from behind the arc. Without their stellar defense, the Quakers could have lost hold of the game early. As they move to face Harvard tomorrow, any opportunities the Red and Blue give for the Crimson to take the lead, a cold first half could spell trouble.

THE SHOCK: Harvard beating Princeton.

Harvard ended Princeton’s 33 game Ivy winning streak. After winning 50 of their last 51 Ivy games, Harvard pulled a huge upset, beating the Tigers 58-55. As Penn faces Harvard tomorrow, the Crimson will be high off their win and on the hunt to shut down the Quakers. With Harvard one game behind the Quakers, and the Quakers one game behind Princeton, the standings are wide open. If Penn wins all of its remaining games (still a difficult task with Harvard and Princeton still to play) to cap off its season, the Quakers would earn their first berth to the NCAA Tournament since 2003-04.

 

Game 23: Columbia – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (W. Hoops)

Good Bad & Ugly

 

 

 

 

 

BOX SCORE // RECAP

 

Penn beat Columbia, 66-48, to complete its second consecutive Ivy weekend sweep.

THE GOOD: Penn's offensive depth

This team bears almost no resemblance to that of three years ago when Alyssa Baron was the only producer. Four players posted double digits against Columbia. Baron notched 21 points of the night, Kara Bonenberger produced 13 and Keiera Ray had another big weekend with 12. Kathleen Roche continued to shoot important shots where she needed to, notching four threes of her own.

THE BAD: Columbia's second half defense.

For a second time this season, Columbia showed aggressive defense at the beginning of the first half but couldn’t adjust when Penn's offense did. The Lions let the game get away from them in the second half for a second time this season, allowing Penn to go on a 32-9 run.

 THE UGLY: Princeton

Princeton continues to decimate the Ivy League competition, making first place a lofty goal for the Quakers. After a 98-36 drubbing of Columbia on Friday, the Tigers again notched a 20+-point victory against Cornell, beating the Big Red 59-34.