Penn regular season recap – Ivy women’s tournament preview

Prior to the Ivy League Tournament, Ivy Hoops Online is recapping the seasons of each of the four women’s seeds. Next up is No. 1 seed Penn. We previously covered No. 2 PrincetonNo. 3 Harvard and No. 4 Brown.

Record: 20-7 Overall, 13-1 Ivy (1st Place)

Ivy Tournament seed: No. 1

Home 8-5, Away 12-2, Neutral 0-0

Present streak: 5 Wins; last 8: 7-1

Record against Ivy Tournament Teams –

Princeton (2-0): 62-57 (away, 1/7/17) and 52-40 (home, 3/7/17)

Harvard (2-0): 63-43 (home, 2/3/17) and 64-46 (away, 3/4/17)

Brown (2-0): 86-60 (home, 1/14/17) and 71-68 (away, 2/17/17)

Coach: Mike McLaughlin (22nd year of coaching, eight seasons at Penn; 538-160 overall record; 407-61 in 14 seasons at Holy Family University and 131-99 in eight years at Penn). He was just named Ivy League Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

Probable starting five: Michelle Nwokedi (Junior, F; 31.1 mpg), Sydney Stipanovich (Senior, F; 32.8 mpg), Anna Ross (Junior, G; 34.9 mpg), Kasey Chambers (Senior, G; 32.4 mpg), Beth Brzozowski (Junior, G; 17.8 mpg)

Key reserves: Ashley Russell (Soph, G; 13.9 mpg), Princess Aghayere (Soph, F; 12.8 mpg)

Nonconference                                                                                Conference

Category              Penn     Opponent                                           Penn                     Opponent

Points                   59.1                        51.8                                        62.9                        51.2

Pt Differential    + 7.3                                                                      + 11.6

FG%                       36.1%                    34.8%                                    41.4%                    35.0%

FG Made             21.1                        19.2                                        23.6                        18.9

FG Attempt        58.5                        55.0                                        57.1                        54.1

3 PT FG%             32.8%                    31.8%                                    34.8%                    28.5%

3 PT Made           6.8                          5.3                                          6.6                          5.2

3 PT Attempt     20.6                        16.7                                        19.1                        18.3

2 PT FG%             37.9%                    36.1%                                    44.8%                    38.3%

2 PT Made           14.4                        13.8                                        17.0                        13.7

2 PT Attempt     37.9                        38.3                                        37.9                        35.8

 

FT%                        67.1%                    69.9%                                    69.4%                    74.5%

FT Made              10.1                        8.2                                          8.9                          8.1

FT Attempt         15.0                        11.8                                        12.8                        10.9

Fouls                     13.5                        14.2                                        12.2        14.9

Rebounds           39.2                        36.6                                        39.7                        32.4

Differential         + 2.6                                                                      + 7.4

O-Rebounds      15.1                        12.7                                        12.6                        9.4

D-Rebounds       24.1                        23.9                                        27.1                        22.9

Off Reb %            38.7%                    34.5%                                    35.4%                    25.8%

Def Reb %           65.5%                    61.3%                                    74.2%                    64.6%

Assists                  15.2                        12.8                                        13.4                        11.4

Turnovers           12.1                        14.8                                        11.1                        12.1

TO Diff                  + 2.7                                                                      + 1.0

Steals                    7.5                          6.4                                          6.1                          5.4

Blocks                   6.4                          3.6                                          5.4                          2.7

 

Nwokedi  (season)          14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 41.5% FG%, 36.1% 3PT FG%, 67.6% FT%

(conference)     14.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 45.7% FG%, 35.1% 3 PT FG%, 66.0% FT%

Stipanovich (season)      11.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 42.9% FG%, 00.0% 3PT FG%, 61.2% FT%

(conference)             9.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 43.2% FG%, 00.0% 3PT FG%, 53.3% FT%

Ross  (season)                   9.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 35.1% FG%, 31.4% 3PT FG%, 83.3% FT%

(conference)               11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 42.0% FG%, 34.0% 3PT FG%, 80.0% FT%

Chambers  (season)        5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 32.1% FG%, 33.3% 3PT FG%, 78.6% FT%

(conference)               6.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 30.6% FG%, 29.1% 3PT FG%, 81.8% FT%

Brzozowski (season)       4.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 33.1% FG%, 36.9% 3PT FG%, 87.5% FT%

(conference)               5.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 32.9% FG%, 40.4% 3PT FG%, 100.0% FT%

Aghayere (season)          5.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 50.9% FG%, 25.0% 3PT FG%, 47.8% FT%

(conference)               6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 53.4% FG%, 33.3%  3PT FG%, 44.4% FT%

 

After winning the Ivy League last year and almost beating eventual Final Four participant Washington last year, hopes were high for this season. The nonconference schedule was difficult for the Quakers, as they went 7-6, including an 0-4 record in Philadelphia’s Big Five series.

The schedule, though, made the Quakers ready for Ivy play, where they proved themselves to be the class of the conference. Except for a tough weekend in New England, where Penn had to come back from a 16-point deficit to beat Brown and a 13-point loss to Yale, the Quakers won 12 games by an average of 14.4 points.

Penn is led by its strong court, where they have the last two Ivy Players of the Year, Michelle Nwokedi and Sydney Stipanovich. In the backcourt, they are led by Anna Ross, the team’s second leading scorer in league competition and an Ivy Honorable Mention.

The team lost some of its depth, when starter Lauren Whitlach was done for the season three games into the conference slate. However, four of the five starters play more than 30 minutes and are resistant to foul trouble.

Penn can beat teams with offense and defense. The Red and Blue are leading the conference in field-goal percentage and three-point field-goal percentage and second in made three pointers. On the defensive side, the Quakers lead the Ivies in allowing turnovers, allowed fouls, allowed rebounds, rebounding differential and blocks, while being second in the Ivies in offensive and defensive rebounding percentages. If there is one weakness for Penn, it is free throws, where they don’t get to the line often and, once there, do not have great accuracy.

With the team’s overall strength and the home-court advantage, things look good for Penn to get the automatic bid on Sunday. Since Penn has recent double-digit victories against Princeton and Harvard that play similar half-court styles, the Quakers’ biggest challenge may be getting past the No. 4 seed Brown Bears.

Penn was able to keep up with Brown’s run and gun style in the team’s first matchup in Philly this past January. At the return match in Providence in February, Brown came out of the game fast, taking a quick double-digit lead. Fortunately for Penn, the team’s strong interior play wore Brown down and it was able to enjoy enough timely three-point shooting to win by three.

If the Bears can maximize their strengths of controlling tempo, balance scoring, and getting to the foul line like they did at Cornell and against Penn, then they make things difficult for the Ivy champs.  However, if Penn can prevent the youthful Bears from getting a fast start, it should be able to use its experience to make it into the finals and the NCAA Tournament.

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