It is almost that time of the year.
With Ivy league playoffs just around the corner, Penn women’s basketball will play host to Yale and Brown this weekend.
Despite having a tournament spot locked up, the Quakers' (18-7, 9-3 Ivy) seeding is still up for grabs.
“All of us seniors are trying to just keep us in the moment, not moving forward to the Ivy League Tournament even though that’s what we’re really excited about,” senior guard Anna Ross said. “We are still going for first place [in the Ivy league.]”
As of now, they could be anywhere from the No. 1 seed to the No. 4 seed depending on how this slate of weekend games shakes out.
Last weekend, Penn suffered its first loss of the season to an Ivy league opponent not named Princeton. In a close game against Harvard, the Quakers' outside shooters struggled, with the team shooting only 34 percent from the field. Senior stalwarts Anna Ross and Michelle Nwokedi combined to shoot just 6 of 24 from the field.
Going into this weekend, it will be crucial to get the hot hands going not only for seeding, but also to provide momentum going into the tournament.
In their first matchup of the weekend, the Quakers will welcome current No. 4 seed Yale (15-10, 8-4) to the Palestra on Friday.
Similar to Penn, Yale boasts strong front court play, particularly from Jen Berkowitz.
“She’s a tough matchup because she can step out and shoot the three. She can pull our post away,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “She’s another tough leader for them.”
Berkowitz is fourth in the Ivy league in scoring with 15.0 points per game on an efficient 57.0 percent from the field. To put that efficiency in perspective, Princeton’s Bella Alarie is second in the Ivy League in field goal percentage with 51 percent.
Aside from Berkowitz, the Bulldogs also boast a talented backcourt in Tamara Simpson and Roxy Barahman.
“Roxy does a good job, she gets in the lane. We got to keep her out. We’ve been working on what we call push points to keep her out of the lane and when she does get in there we don’t overcommit,” McLaughlin said.
After what should be a competitive matchup with Yale, the Quakers will take on Brown on Saturday for their senior night.
Brown (15-10, 3-9) has struggled in conference play. Still with so much on the line, no matchup can be taken for granted.
“Brown can really score the basketball,” McLaughlin stated.
The numbers support McLaughlin’s claim.
Against the Bears, the Quakers can expect a track meet, with Brown pacing the league in scoring offense. Still, Brown is last in the Ivy in scoring defense and provided no issues for Penn in their last meeting, an 88-55 Red and Blue victory that saw five players in double figure scoring.
This weekend has it all. Between senior night and seeding implications, Penn will look to capitalize on a potential momentous weekend before postseason play roles around.
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