Penn women’s basketball ended its semester on Monday night with a tough trip to Saint Joseph’s, escaping with a 57-50 win to kick off a brief 11-day break.
Both Penn men’s basketball and women’s basketball saw their seasons end in agonizing fashions last March, but neither of those final games should take away from thrilling 2017s for both teams.
After earning his first Ivy League Player of the Week award of the season two weeks ago by putting in a 55-minute effort at Monmouth, the sophomore guard won his second this week after totaling 41 points across three games.
After playing the most minutes of any men’s basketball team in the country in November, the schedule quiets down considerably in December. After dispatching Dayton at their home court on Saturday, the Quakers won’t return to action until December 27. That is a gap of 17 days without a game.
At 8-4, Penn is off to its best start since the 2002-03 season, when the Fran Dunphy-led Quakers finished undefeated in Ivy League play. That’s notable in itself, but what’s even more impressive is that the Red and Blue have been doing nearly all of their damage away from the Palestra.
With various teams engaging in some instant classic battles, the Quakers have given fans a wild range of emotions throughout the calendar year, with the lone constant being thorough entertainment across the board.
All athletic directors have their own hiring methods, and all coaches interact with their respective teams differently, but both within Penn itself and the entire NCAA, team sports tend to have female coaches at a very high rate, while sports more individual in nature have been hiring male coaches in increasing numbers — and this is no coincidence.
Few expected Penn women's basketball to beat, or even hang with, No. 3 Notre Dame. But that didn't stop the Quakers from playing their hearts out in a 66-54 loss. And in that effort, they showcased why they are once again the favorites to win the Ivy title.
Perhaps what was most impressive about Jones’ play, though, was just how efficient his scoring was. Jones finished the week with almost as many points (27) as minutes (31), and in each of Penn’s last two games, his scoring total exceeded his total minutes played.
In the last game before a two-week break, Penn men’s basketball overpowered Dayton on the road in an emphatic 78-70 win. The Quakers (8-4) outshot the Flyers (4-5) from every area of the court, most notably from beyond the arc.
Despite the final result, it was Notre Dame who left disappointed, and the Quakers who held their heads high.
Penn men’s basketball capped off its 8-game stretch away from home with a 78-70 victory over Dayton. The Quakers outplayed the Flyers for most of the contest, as Dayton led for only one minute and 55 seconds throughout the entire game.
The last time Penn men’s basketball started a season with a 7-4 record from its first 11 games, the team went 14-0 in the Ivy League and made it to the NCAA Tournament. That was 15 years ago.
Playing away from the Palestra for the seventh straight game, Penn survived a streaky shooting night to defeat Lafayette 73-68 and earn its second victory in three nights.
On December 9, Penn women’s basketball is set to take on No. 3 Notre Dame, which may prove to be a difficult matchup for the Quakers. Coming off of a tough Big 5 loss against La Salle (4-3) on November 29, the Quakers (2-3) are looking to rebound after a shaky start to the season.
Penn used an absolutely dominant stretch at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half to erase a slow start and build an insurmountable lead en route to an 81-68 victory over Howard.
Penn men's basketball sits at No. 92 in the latest national Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings, which came out on Monday. RPI seeks to compare the nation's many teams by taking into account the massive variety in strength of schedule when looking at wins and losses.
Most major basketball programs play somewhere between 28 and 31 games. Historically, Penn and the rest of the Ivy League play fewer to allow the players time off for winter break and finals. This year, Penn will play 30 games, which means they have to fit the same amount of games as major programs in a smaller amount of time. The result: a packed first month before the break.
Now in his sixth season as an assistant, Bowman is men’s basketball’s longest tenured coach. Originally an assistant under Jerome Allen, the former player’s main task is to coach defensive schemes and rotations for the Quakers.
It's not how you start that counts, it's how you finish. Penn women's basketball learned that the hard way tonight.