Penn women lose well to Villanova after winning ugly at St. Francis Brooklyn

A win’s a win, right? And if you win by 17, you must have done well, right?

Then you lose by three at home — a bad night, of course.

But those two games for the Penn women were paradoxically disappointing and worth celebrating. Mike McLaughlin’s team escaped Brooklyn with a 63-46 victory Thursday over St. Francis. Penn failed to play its game with any consistency, and the Terriers gave the Quakers a good shake and would have had a shot at winning if they hadn’t had a preposterously bad night of shooting — 14-for-62 (22.6%).

Then, on Monday, the Quakers — minus their upper-class leaders — faced their first serious challenge in their first Big 5 opponent of the year, played with verve and discipline, and almost won again.

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Penn women trump King’s College

What would you consider the most important aspect of the Penn women’s easy win against King’s College, 91-55, on Tuesday night at the Palestra?

Surely not the win itself, though a loss to any Division III squad would have been an embarrassment and a flashing red sign of problems at Penn. King’s has a good team with an excellent shooting guard in Samantha Rajza, who had 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. But King’s had no way to compete in the paint, so it lived and died by its three-point shots, putting up 36 of them and sinking 12.

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Penn women open with win at Hartford

After 20 months away from the game, you have to expect some rust. The reflexes aren’t as sharp; the eyes don’t take in the court as well, or as quickly. The muscle memory — fingers on the keys, jumping to the stat book — is just a bit off when the middle-aged sportswriter returns.

No rust on the Red and Blue, though. The Penn women went to Connecticut and tore through Hartford, 85-42, as if they’d never put the ball down. (The final score is a bit deceptive; Coach Mike McLaughlin pretty much pulled his starters after three quarters to give his bench game time and keep the total below 100. Hartford won the fourth quarter, 13-7.)

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Ivy League women’s basketball Media Day roundup

One day after releasing the conference’s preseason poll, the Ivy League moved one step closer to normal by hosting the 2021-22 Media Day for women’s basketball Tuesday.  For the first time, the league used a Zoom format to create a stronger connection between the coaches, players and the media.

In Monday’s poll, three-time defending champion Princeton was again picked as the top team with 122 total points and 12 first-place votes.  Penn, the 2019 co-champion, was selected No. 2 with three first-place votes and 108 points. The next three teams were close, with only six points separating Columbia, Yale and Harvard.

The Lions, which earned their first Ivy League Tournament berth in 2020 before the tourney was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moved up to third with 87 points. The Bulldogs, a third-place team in 2020, dropped to fourth at 82 points.  The Crimson, which finished fifth in 2020, received one first-place vote but missed the upper division by one point.

Cornell, the 2020 seventh-place squad, moved up to sixth for 2022 with 41 points.  Dartmouth and Brown, two teams with new coaching staffs, ended up with the last two spots, with the Big Green’s 29 points two ahead of the Bears.

Tuesday’s Media Day revealed the four tiers apparent in the preseason poll. But there could be a slight reordering near the top.

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Thoughts on the Ivy League canceling the 2020-21 basketball season

A crowd of 1,636 gathered at Lavietes Pavilion on March 6 to watch Harvard host Brown. Four days later, the Ivy League canceled its conference tournaments to guard against COVID-19 transmission, a move many in college basketball considered unthinkable at the time. | Erica Denhoff

The Ivy League announced Thursday evening that winter sports for the 2020-21 season were cancelled in an effort to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. Was eliminating Ivy hoops the right move? Our contributors offer their thoughts:

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Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

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Fallout continues over decision to cancel the Ivy League Tournament

Things have not calmed down after Tuesday afternoon’s bombshell announcement from the Ivy League and its eight presidents that this weekend’s Ivy League Tournaments were canceled, making the league the first conference to cancel tournament play.

The conference likes to refer to its tournament as Ivy Madness.  To paraphrase Harvard senior Seth Towns, the 2018 Player of the Year, it’s more like Ivy Mayhem.

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Penn women stop Brown to stop skid

The Penn women ended a bad week with a strong win Saturday night, beating Brown, 74-60, at the Palestra and locking up a berth in the Ivy League Tournament.
The Quakers dominated the inside; that was to be expected. And the Bears had some success with what they do best, outside shooting plus a fast transition game. But Penn kept pace with Brown from the outside: Penn was 10-for-28 from three, and Brown was 11-for-29.
On Senior Night for Penn, that outside matchup was personified by two shooting guards who have played one another very well for four years, Penn’s Phoebe Sterba and Brown’s Justine Gaziano. Each knocked down five threes; Sterba had 15 points, six assists and two steals, Gaziano 21 points and six rebounds.

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Eleah Parker leads Penn over Brown, 85-73

A team that’s talented, deep, disciplined and versatile will usually find a way to beat you. And a team that has Eleah Parker is well on its way to beating you in any case.

The Penn junior center from Charlotte, N.C., is 6-4 and powerful, with a nice shooting touch from almost everywhere but the foul line. She can go around you, over you and through you. Though she seemed tentative and fatigued for much of the first half of the season, she has returned to form the past few games, and she has rarely been better than Friday night in Providence, where Penn (14-5, 4-2) stopped Brown (7-13, 1-6), 85-73. The win was Mike McLaughlin’s 600th as a head coach.

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Penn women rout Cornell to complete weekend sweep

A night after the Penn women took a memorable game from Columbia in overtime, coach Mike McLaughlin said he was worried that fatigue might keep the Quakers from being sharp when they faced Cornell on Saturday at the Palestra.
The Quakers needed just five seconds to set those worries to rest.

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