The closest thing I can compare it to is what Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp calls “Heavy Metal Football” — and well, ladies and gentlemen, what the Quakers have finally worked their way into is Heavy Metal Basketball.
It’ll be a long bus ride home for Penn women’s basketball. Across sports as a whole, many athletes hate losing more than they like winning, and that holds especially true at the elite level. And that’s exactly why this weekend isn’t as bad as it seems.
Penn women’s basketball split their second Ivy League road trip doubleheader with a win at Brown followed by their first conference loss at the hands of Yale. Despite the 61-48 defeat, the Quakers (15-7, 8-1 Ivy) still remain in sole possession of first place in the league. But that doesn’t mean they played first-place basketball this weekend.
Put the funeral pyres away — Penn men’s basketball is back. Boosted by a ridiculous 27-2 first-half run spearheaded by a career-best shooting performance from freshman shooting guard Ryan Betley, the Quakers jumped out to a 25-point first-half lead at Brown and never looked back, cruising to a 96-72 win over the Bears.
Rock-bottom after six games, even we had written this team off. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Quakers have taken the bull that is the Ivy League by the horns and is almost halfway through a Mission Impossible: going from 0-6 to finish in fourth place and make the Ivy League Tournament.
In what was arguably Penn women’s basketball’s wildest game since last year’s epic Ivy title-clinching win at Princeton, the Quakers battled back to overcome a 16-point first-quarter deficit and edge a feisty Brown squad, 71-68, to keep their dreams of Ancient Eight perfection alive. Here are our biggest takeaways from the epic contest:
One player Penn could not have lived without at Brown was junior Michelle Nwokedi. The star forward kept her team in the game all night, scoring 21 points and giving five assists in the process. It was her composure in the second and third quarters of the contest that enabled the Quakers to slowly carve out Brown’s large lead.
Penn men’s basketball had a diamond weekend against Columbia and Cornell, winning its first two Ivy League games of the season under immense pressure. The pressure was both expected and self-imposed; the result of an 0-6 run bookended by twin loses to rival Princeton. The Quakers (9-12, 2-6 Ivy) knew that another loss meant the end to their post-season chances, and they responded with two of the most spirited performances to date.
Still undefeated in the league, the Quakers (14-6, 7-0 Ivy) are clear favorites to take another pair of wins on Friday and Saturday, but they can ill afford to take their eyes of the ball. In Brown (14-7, 5-3) they face what some might call a sleeper team, currently fourth in the league and playing some solid basketball.
Penn women's basketball's Princess Aghayere just had the best weekend of her career, and now she has the hardware to prove it.
The sophomore from Reston, Va., was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week for her tremendous efforts in propelling the Quakers to wins over Columbia and Cornell.
Penn Athletics had a widely successful weekend, with plenty of teams taking home multiple victories.
Coming into the weekend, Penn men's basketball’s chances to make the Ivy League Tournament and compete for a March Madness bid seemed almost nonexistent. The Quakers were not shooting well, and seemed unable to hold teams off down the stretch in games. But by early Sunday afternoon, it appears as though the Red and Blue have life once again.
The floodgates have finally opened. Winless in its first six conference games, Penn men's basketball came out firing on all cylinders this weekend at the Palestra to take down Columbia and Cornell in a sweep of New York’s two Ivy League teams.
Coming into the season, Penn’s starting front court of Michelle Nwokedi and Sydney Stipanovich got most of the attention.
In their first Ivy road doubleheader of the season, the Quakers did not disappoint, beating Columbia on Friday 64-54 before travelling to Ithaca to take down Cornell 61-55 on Saturday. Penn (14-6, 7-0 Ivy) maintained their perfect Ivy record and cemented their position atop the Ancient Eight.
This season has not been kind to Penn men’s basketball. Coming into Friday’s game against Columbia, the Quakers were winless in six Ivy League contests and in desperate need of a better performance to have any shot of making the Ivy League Tournament. The Red and Blue were able to gut out the victory on the back of 48 rebounds and 12 three-pointers. Let’s go to the player ratings.
Matt Howard has solved Penn men's basketball’s finishing problem. After watching an 11-point lead slip away in the second half, the senior forward was determined to not let another strong start go to waste. Howard hit a clutch three-pointer with eight minutes to play, cutting a brief Columbia lead down to one. But, it was his defensive closing that sealed the game for the Red and Blue as they went on to win 70-62.
In the first leg of its first Ivy road doubleheader of the season, Penn women's basketball downed Columbia 64-54. An all-around effort for the Quakers saw major contributions from several bench players.
Coming in as the Ivy League’s only remaining undefeated team, Penn certainly looked the part on Friday night, as the Quakers led for all but two minutes of the game in their 64-54 victory over Columbia.
Time to hit the road.
Having just finished a seven-game stretch at home, Penn women’s basketball will leave the comfort of the Palestra for its first away competition in a month