The Penn women will head home from California dreaming of better days, having dropped two games during their Thanksgiving break but having demonstrated the standout talent of a star freshman.
The trip was a coming-out party for 5-foot-11 guard Simone Sawyer, who is fulfilling her promise as an electric offensive threat. At San Francisco on Monday, Sawyer came off the bench early and started hitting threes, going 6-for-9, to account for her team-leading 18 points in 33 minutes. So coach Mike McLaughlin started her at Southern California, gave her 30 minutes on the floor and got another team-leading 18 points: 6 of 10 from the floor this time, including 4-for-7 from deep, with three assists and four steals.
It’s also good news that the Quakers (1-5) were competitive against two good teams, USF (3-2) and especially USC (5-0). But they’ll have to be better still to reclaim a spot in the top half of the Ivies.