This weekend may prove to be the most important in Penn women's basketball history. After 25 years of living in the shadows of their Ivy League rivals, the Quakers may emerge from Friday and Saturday's games against Dartmouth and Harvard with an appellation that has so far eluded them -- champions. "[These are] probably the most important two games that I have ever been a part of since I began playing basketball," Penn senior forward Diana Caramanico said. "We can't really get ahead of ourselves. We really need to focus on Friday night and beating Dartmouth. "We want to keep our winning streak going and they're a tough team. We're really going to have to bring our A-game, especially against Dartmouth." In Penn's previous encounter with the Big Green -- last year's Ivy League champions -- at the Palestra this season, the Quakers pulled out a tight 81-75 overtime victory. Penn (17-5, 9-0 Ivy League), however, hasn't beaten Dartmouth (9-13, 5-4) in Hanover, N.H., in five years -- before any of the current Quakers arrived on campus. The Quakers have another battle ahead of them against Harvard (9-13, 6-3) on Saturday. In a poorly played contest two weeks ago, Penn beat the Crimson, 65-51. The Crimson are second in the Ivy League behind Penn, and will be loath to cede any more ground to the Red and Blue. "We're really confident going into [this weekend]. We've beat [Harvard and Dartmouth] before, even though they were close games, we're ready," Penn senior guard Erin Ladley said. "This would be a huge weekend for us if we won, obviously we'd win the Ivy League Championship. "The seniors have never beat Dartmouth before [on the road] so that's another motivation." Although Penn would win the Ancient Eight title outright if it beats both Harvard and Dartmouth, the Quakers' three-game lead over the Crimson gives them some leeway. In fact, it appears to be only a matter of time before Penn finds a way to deliver the coup de grace to the rest of the league. There are also a number of records on the line for Penn this weekend. The Quakers' 16-game win streak is one game behind Tennessee Tech's streak, which is the longest active winning streak in the nation. Ladley is just 24 points shy of becoming the 13th player in the history of Penn women's basketball to score 1,000 points. And Caramanico is within 29 points of the Ivy League all-time scoring record of 2,312, set by Harvard's Allison Feaster in 1998. Caramanico was reserved about the accomplishment, showing the modesty that has been characteristic of the Quakers despite their success this season. "Allison Feaster is a great player and it's an honor to be considered in the same sentence with her -- she's playing in the WNBA now," Caramanico said. "In that respect I'm honored and I'm happy for that, but I'm not really thinking about it." One thing Penn is certainly thinking about right now, however, is playing solid basketball this weekend. "I can't concentrate on anything. I just want to keep playing basketball," Ladley said. "I think that's the way everyone else on our team feels. It's just been a really great season and we just want to keep it going. And it will be a good weekend for us if we win."Comments powered by Disqus
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