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.

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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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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Turn Back the Clock: Feb. 7, 2009

Women's hoops turns its season around against Cornell

Feb. 7, 2009

Before this past weekend, the Penn women’s basketball team had lost to Cornell in three straight meetings.

Yet Penn’s 65-56 win on Saturday couldn’t have been as sweet as the Red and Blue’s victory over the Big Red four years ago today.
Struggling to shake off an eight–game losing streak, Penn conquered Cornell in Ithaca on Feb. 7, 2009, 79-70, to notch its first Ivy win of the season.

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Behind Enemy Lines: Princeton’s Courtney Banghart

Princeton women's hoops coach Courtney Banghart has won seven Ivy League Championships as a player and coach. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Princeton women's hoops coach Courtney Banghart has won seven Ivy League Championships as a player and coach. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Today, I was able to interview Princeton women’s basketball head coach Courtney Banghart. In her six seasons as head coach for the Tigers, the program has undergone a complete reversal of fortune. In her first season, the team went 7-23 and won just four Ivy League games. However, in the past three seasons, the Tigers have gone 41-1 in the Ivy League and entered the national rankings, a first for an Ivy League women’s program. Before coming to Princeton, she was an assistant for four years at Dartmouth. She also played at Dartmouth from 1996 to 2000 and won two Ivy League titles.

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W. Hoops Lands Long Island Forward

The New York Post has reported that Sade Gibbons, a rising senior at Long Island Lutheran High School, has verbally committed to play women’s basketball at Penn.

The 6-foot-1 forward chose Penn over Delaware, Davidson, Fairfield and Manhattan.

Gibbons helped the Crusaders win a state Federation Class B title two years ago and reach the finals last season. Gibbons played in 20 of the 23 games for LuHi last season.

Gibbons will be an interesting addition to the Quakers. The Post reports that though she is naturally right-handed, she goes to the hoop as a lefty.

After a 13-15 season last year, the strength of Penn's past two recruiting classes has been one of the hallmarks of coach Mike McLaughlin's tenure thus far. Gibbons will now be an addition to that legacy.

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.

 

Half-court shot from South Bend

It seems like The Buzz has jumped on the Women's Hoops bandwagon. And for good reason -- the Quakers are off to their best start (4-1) in program history. Coach Mike McLaughlin's crew has been in South Bend, Ind. since yesterday afternoon in preparation for tonight's game against national runners-up Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are undoubtedly the biggest test this team has faced in years, but if this video is any measure, the Red and Blue are ready to put up a fight tonight.

In a quick video tweeted from @PennWomensBball, sophomore Megan McCullough sinks a half-court shot during Penn's shootaround this afternoon. Apparently the players go up against the coaches after shootarounds -- the players lead the season, 2-0-1.

Follow @PennWomensBball tonight on Twitter for game updates.

Women’s hoops highlights vs. Lafayette

While everyone's pumped up for the return of Penn men's basketball, they should start to take note of the women's team, which is off to its best start (4-1) in program history, thanks to a 49-39 win over Lafayette Wednesday night. Freshman Renee Busch is off to a great start to her Red and Blue career, and she drained five threes against the Leopards.

Check out Penn's highlights of the night, courtesy of the Penn Sports Network.