The closest thing I can compare it to is what Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp calls “Heavy Metal Football” — 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.
330 players were invited to one of the final chances to prove their worth to scouts before the NFL Draft in April. Of those, 15 quarterbacks were invited — a small number, but Torgersen was ranked by Sports Illustrated as the 10th best QB available for the NFL Draft, and more recently even moved up to eighth on the list.