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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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.


Liveblog: W. Hoops at Princeton

We're at Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, N.J., where the Penn women's hoops team taks on Princeton in the season finale. Princeton (23-4, 13-0 Ivy) has already clinched the Ivy League title. The Quakers (13-14, 6-7) have won four of their last five. This will be the last collegiate game for seniors F Jess Knapp and F Jourdan Banks.

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.

Jess Knapp could return this weekend

Penn women's basketball senior captain Jess Knapp could return to the floor as soon as tonight. Knapp, who has been sidelined since an early exit during the Dec. 30 game against San Diego State, would be returning despite her torn ACL and MCL, neither of which has yet to heal. She has been practicing with a brace all week. If she does take the floor, how much playing time she will get is unclear.

What is clear is the team's recent struggles. Without its senior star, the team has lost six straight, though two losses came against teams with Top 25 votes — San Diego State and Princeton. Here is a more in-depth glance at the team's declining numbers in the past six games (published in the print version on Jan. 23):

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.

Liveblog: Penn women’s basketball vs. Drexel

The Quakers (5-2) will take on the Dragons (5-3) at noon this afternoon at the Palestra. Last season, the Red and Blue suffered a 31-point loss to their City 6 rival, but with a new and improved defense this year, today's matinee promises to be a much closer contest. Follow along as Mike Wisniewski and Lucas O'Connor bring you the action live:

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.

Women’s basketball stranded in the Midwest

After playing No. 3 Notre Dame last night (a 30-point Quakers' loss), Penn women's basketball is now stuck in South Bend, Ind.

The Quakers had to deplane after boarding, and there were no flights that could handle the whole team and personnel. The team's twitter feed is keeping it light, in lieu of the delays:

The team is bussing to O'hare in Chicago, and will fly back tonight. But they're all smiles on the trip around Lake Michigan!