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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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.

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

Good Bad & Ugly








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.


Game 21: Dartmouth – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly







After the Lady Quakers completed one of their most successful weekends in recent memory, a Good, Bad & Ugly for their 63-40 rout of Dartmouth.

THE GOOD: Keiera Ray

With 50 points in this weekend's two games, including 19 tonight, consider this freshman guard Keiera Ray’s coming out party once and for all. She led all scorers in both games this weekend. Her emergence along with the steady play of junior guard Alyssa Baron give the Quakers a formidable backcourt.

THE BAD: Princeton continues to dominate

Not much bad to take away from the weekend for the Quakers. Perhaps the only downside is that the Tigers do not appear to be slowing down any time soon Penn hopes to catch them in the standings. There is some hope, however. A Dartmouth squad that the Quakers just blew out lost to Princeton by “only” 12 points on Friday night – their smallest margin of victory in Ivy play this season.

THE UGLY: Dartmouth turnovers

The Big Green turned the ball over a whopping 23 times. Penn’s 24-0 advantage in points off turnovers covered its entire margin of victory. By continually handing the ball back to the Quakers, Dartmouth never gave themselves a chance.

Mano-a-Mano: Will women’s hoops stay in the Ivy hunt this weekend?

ManoAMano11-1In this week’s Mano-a-Mano, Associate Sports Editor Steven Tydings and Sports Editor Ian Wenik discuss whether Penn women’s basketball can stay in the Ivy League title race this weekend by defeating Dartmouth and Harvard.

Steven Tydings: Whether you focus on their strong defensive numbers or their impressive 3-2 start to Ivy League play, you can’t help but see that Penn women’s basketball has improved significantly this year.

That being said, this weekend is going to be extremely tough on them. Two of the teams ahead of them in the standings, Harvard and Dartmouth, come into the Palestra and each come in having won at least five of their last six games.

So I struggle to see how Penn can take both games.

Ian Wenik: I actually think that the Quakers have a great shot at sweeping both games this weekend, but the formula for victory must begin with the interior size of junior forward Courtney Wilson.

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Behind Enemy Lines – Cornell’s Dayna Smith

Dayna SmithPenn (7-8, 0-1 Ivy) will head to Cornell (10-6, 2-0) Saturday night as the Ivy League season kicks into full gear.  Cornell coach Dayna Smith has been with the team for 10 seasons and is already the winningest coach in program history. Prior to taking over for the Big Red, Smith spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Penn.  I spoke with Coach Smith about Cornell’s season so far and what the matchup with Penn will mean to both teams.

What led you to Cornell after three seasons with Penn?

Smith: I was able to work at Penn for three seasons under Kelly Greenberg and she did a fantastic job with the program and we were able to win a championship.  I was there for Penn’s first women’s basketball Ivy League championship.  It was just a tremendous experience as my first job in the Ivy League being able to work with the type of student-athlete.  We had a well-balanced team with some players that are probably still on the record-books.  It was my second stint as an assistant after I spent three years at my alma mater at Rhode Island.  Because of our success I was fortunate enough to be able to get the Cornell job.

What have you thought about your season so far?

Smith: We have a veteran team with nine seniors and juniors. You can just tell the experience and the amount of leadership we have is the big difference for us from last season. I’ve been very happy with where our team has been.  We had one big letdown against Bucknell.  That was a game where everything went wrong and everybody played poorly. You hope to have only one of those a year and hopefully we got that out of our system.

As of late, we’ve been playing good basketball.  We played a very scrappy, physical Columbia team in back-to-back weekends and were able to come out of that type of environment with a double-overtime victory on Saturday.  We were able to get two Ivy League wins right off the start and be able to win on the road.  That’s always tough in this league.  We’re excited for these back-to-back night games.  We have two forwards that are our leading scorers and our point guard leads the league in assists.

How does everyone match up in the Ivy League this year?

Smith: The league looks very tough. I think everyone has improved. Obviously, until someone knocks off Princeton, they’ll be the cream of the crop. In preparing this week for them, they just look good. They have talent in every position and they’re skilled in every position. They really don’t have a weakness and that just makes it very difficult to scheme and prepare. I’ve been most impressed with their defense. That’s going to be a challenge for anyone. When you look at the league, Penn is having a very good year. You can see their maturity in their players.  You can see them developing that experience and that familiarity with one another.

Obviously, Alyssa Baron is a fantastic offensive player and I think she’s starting to have pieces around her. If you can bring in a player of her caliber and surround them with people that can score or penetrate and be able to kick to her and be able to score inside for her. That’s when you’ll have success and you can definitely see Penn is starting to develop that. Harvard has a terrific team and Dartmouth was able to knock them off.  I think what you see in the league is anyone can beat anyone on any given night. That sounds cliché but it is something we preach and something we believe in.

How does Penn matchup with Cornell?

Smith: I don’t subscribe to the statistics of former years.  I think in any home Ivy League game you give the home team a few point advantage but we need to play solid basketball for 40 minutes.  Penn is very physical and scrappy and they like to have a lot of movement and motion on offense.  They try to play up-tempo and we like to play up-tempo so we’re going to have to play solid defense.  We’re going to have to understand where their shooters are and play perimeter penetration defense.  We need to keep our composure because Penn does like to get in your face and play physical. That’s something we’ve gotten used to from a lot of Ivy teams but from Penn in particular.

For us, we’re going to have to have a good game against Princeton on Friday and bounce back on Saturday regardless of the outcome and be ready to play a whole different game plan.  I think that’s a challenge for every Ivy team on that Saturday game.  We’re glad we won’t be on a bus driving here Friday night but I think that might be a slight advantage being at home.  Penn will be fresh and hopefully we’ll be ready for that game as well.  I think you’re looking at Alyssa Baron leading the way and we have to contain her by playing team defense.  We’re not a very good one-on-one defensive team, we like to play team defense and that’s going to have to be in effect in order to slow her down.

Behind Enemy Lines: Temple’s Tonya Cardoza

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Penn will play its final Big 5 opponent in its last non-conference game of the season against Temple on Wednesday. Penn (7-7, 0-1 Ivy) will be looking for its first win against Temple (7-10) since 2003. For this edition of Behind Enemy Lines, I spoke with Owls' head coach Tonya Cardoza about notching her 100th win in less than five years and the youth of her 2012-2013 squad.

This season, you reached a landmark, you got your 100th win. What does that mean to you?

Cardoza: It means a lot. Obviously every game that you go into you want to win and the fact that I’ve been able to do it in four and a half years, it’s just a credit to the kids that I’ve coached and the staff that I’ve had surrounding me. It feels good to get that out of the way. The last month or so, knowing that we were so close, it was finally good to  get that one win. It means a lot because it’s a milestone a lot of people are not able to reach and the fact that I’ve been able to do it, like I said, in four and a half years I’m happy with that.

You’ve obviously had a very successful couple of seasons at Temple and I know this season is a little different. You have a very young team. It’s the second most inexperienced in Division I. How has that affected your level of play and goals for the season?

Cardoza: Obviously our goals have to change and as we came into the season our expectation was to still do the same things we’ve done in the past and we haven’t been able to do that. We haven’t reached the same level of success up to this point but everyday, we are young, and everyday we have to get better because we’re also building for the future. We haven’t had a lot of wins but everyday in practice we’re trying to get better with the hopes that it carries over down the stretch and that we’re able to make a run for it.

But it’s been something different, something that obviously none of us have been used to because we haven’t lost many games here so we’re not going to be accustomed to losing as well. We know that we are young, and we do have a lot of inexperience but sometimes it’s not about inexperience it’s just about what effort you give and I think there’s sometimes that we’ve lost games this year, not because we were young, just because we didn’t do little things.

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Baron named second-team All-Ivy

Penn's sophomore Alyssa Baron was named second-team All-Ivy earlier today.

The guard who averaged 16.9 points per game over the entire campaign led the Quakers to a 13-15 record overall and 6-8 finish in the Ivy.

Baron, who was an honorable mention All-Ivy last year, led the entire league in minutes played with 1,025. She scored more than 20 points on ten different occasions in a up and down season for Penn. The Quakers had a program-best start at 7-2 and finished with its most wins since 2004-05.


Liveblog: Penn women’s basketball vs. Princeton

Penn (7-3) opens up their Ivy slate against defending champion Princeton (10-4). The Quakers are coming off a 1-1 trip in the Surf 'N Slam Tournament and will play their first game in the new year. Penn went 0-2 against the Tigers last year, the second loss was 78-27 blowout at home in the last game of the season.

A year ago: Women’s hoops vs. Drexel

Off to its best start in program history at 5-2, the women's basketball team faces one more test before winter break when they take on Drexel at the Palestra today at noon. The team will certainly be looking to put forth a better showing this year, as last season the Dragons handed the Red and Blue their second-worst loss on the year. We'll be liveblogging our first women's game this afternoon, but here are some notes on last year's contest to keep you occupied until tipoff:

  • In the second game of the season, Drexel defeated Penn, 62-31. The 31-point deficit was the Quakers' worst loss on the year until the 51-point defeat to Princeton in the season finale.
  • Penn opened with a 9-0 run to start the game, but the Dragons closed out the final 13 minutes of the first with a 22-3 run to lead at the half, 22-12.
  • The Quakers shot just 11-for-50 from the field (22%) and went 2-for-15 from beyond the arc (13%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Drexel converted 24-of-49 shots (49%) and made 7-of-17 from three-point land (41%).
  • No Quakers reached double digits. Alyssa Baron led the team with eight points in only the second game of her college career.