A program's first-ever league championship calls for a bit more of a celebration than just dancing and screaming on the basketball court after the final buzzer sounds. And so the Penn women's basketball team decided to extend its stay in Boston for an extra night, making what would have been the season's most joyous bus ride on Saturday night the year's most jubilant train ride on Sunday morning. The Quakers spent more than an hour rejoicing with family and friends on the floor of Harvard's Lavietes Pavilion following the game, and the whole crew of about 60 people then headed to the Sports Depot, a well-known bar and restaurant in Boston. Even during this late dinner, though, the Penn players could not contain their unbridled enthusiasm, as they continued the cheers and chants that they had begun hours earlier at Harvard. "I'm sure we were the loudest bunch there," junior forward Julie Epton said. From the Sports Depot, the Red and Blue, now without the company of family and friends, traveled to the sleepy southwestern suburb of Dedham. Without the players' prior knowledge, the coaches had made arrangements for the team to stay there. Penn reserved the penthouse of the hotel, a giant suite that the whole team stayed in for a short time before waking up at 5:45 a.m. to board a train for Philadelphia. However, catching such an early train did not pose a problem to many of the Quakers. "I didn't sleep on Saturday night," Epton said. "I was just laying there for four hours, replaying the game in my mind." When Penn returned to campus on Sunday, a heroes' welcome of sorts greeted the team. The players learned of the standing ovation they had received at the Palestra on Saturday night when public address announcer John McAdams informed the men's basketball crowd of the women's success at Harvard. But even more, some Penn players have acquired a new celebrity status in their travels around campus. "There were definitely people on the Walk who I don't really know that were saying congratulations," senior co-captain Diana Caramanico said. The Quakers are hopeful that the positive reaction will result in high attendance at their final three home games at the Palestra. But even if that does not happen, the Red and Blue are nonetheless thankful that the students have been so receptive. "Everyone's been really great," Caramanico said. "I really appreciate all the fan support." Even with all the affection displayed for the Red and Blue on the Penn campus, or perhaps because of it, the players still have not completely registered the fact that they are indeed Ivy League champions. And, although a couple of days have since passed, some of the Quakers feel it might take much longer to fully understand the magnitude of what they have accomplished. "I think it's going to take a long time for it to sink in," sophomore point guard Tara Twomey said. "Later in life, we're going to look back on this and realize how lucky we are." An 18-game winning streak and an Ivy League championship earned a day off for the Red and Blue yesterday. But, just because they have already clinched their conference doesn't mean the Quakers will rest, as they look to complete a perfect Ivy season. Penn has been remarkably consistent this year, and doesn't expect any letdowns in the season's final stretch.Comments powered by Disqus
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