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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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 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.

W. Hoops PG out for season with torn ACL

Just three games into the season, the Penn women’s basketball team has been dealt a significant blow. The team announced Friday that starting point guard Meghan McCullough has torn her ACL and is out for rest of the season. The injury came during the team’s most recent game on November 18 at Army.

This comes just a few weeks after Jackie Kates decided not to return to the team for her sophomore season. The injury to McCullough further depletes the Quakes' depth at guard while leaving the team without a true point guard.

Through the first three games of the season, McCullough led the team with 3.3 assists per game. She finishes the year with 3.3 points per contest while also averaging 2.7 rebounds per game.

Where the team will proceed from here is uncertain. The Quakers remains winless early in the season and now have a large hole to fill in their back court.

Katy Allen named Ivy Rookie of the Week

Penn women’s basketball seems to have found some depth at the post in the form of freshman Katy Allen, who was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

This past week, Allen had her best games  — averaging 13 points. In Saturday’s 73-63 victory over Dartmouth, she scored a career-high 17 points, which included a key three pointer in overtime to tip the momentum in the Red and Blue’s favor.

The forward also proved to be more than just a pure shooter, grabbing four rebounds and two steals.

She has been starting regularly since senior forward Jess Knapp’s injury in late December.

Fellow freshman forward Kara Bonenberger, who scored 17 points and pulled down nine boards against the Big Green, has been named Rookie of the Week four times this season. It appears that Red and Blue women’s hoops team has quite a lot to look forward to in the next three years.

W. Hoops recruit commits to dream school

Penn women’s basketball has added a third player to its recruiting class. According to the New York Post, Christ the King (N.Y.) point guard Rayne Connell committed to Penn this week.

Connell, who chose the Quakers over Southern Methodist University, took the SATs twice and the ACTs five times in order to achieve the necessary score for admission to Penn, the Post wrote.

She has started at point guard all three years she has been on the varsity squad. In Connell’s sophomore season, the Royals took home the Class AA state title.

The scouting report on Connell is that she is a very strong defender. Her coach Bob Mackey told the Post that she guards the opponent’s best player. Offensively, she has no trouble attacking the basket.

The Royals (5-8) struggled to open the season with Connell missing time after having a benign cyst removed from her back, but the team has won five of its last seven games.

Christ the King has produced multiple WNBA All-Stars, including Sue Bird, Tina Charles and Chamique Holdsclaw.

-Tim Ghosh

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.