The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

During a season in which very little has gone right for his team, coach Mike McLaughlin finds reasons to be optimistic.

This weekend, it’s about the Quakers last two home games of the season, Friday and Saturday night against Columbia and Cornell respectively.

The two-game slate will be Penn’s (1-22, 0-9 Ivy) last chance for an Ivy win at the Palestra this season.

These contests will also mark the final time three Penn seniors — guard Sarah Bucar and forwards Amy Donovan and Caitlin Slover — suit up for Penn in their storied home gym.

Bucar will enter the team’s game against Columbia (15-9, 6-4 Ivy) leading the Ivy League in minutes played this season. But she also leads the Quakers in turnovers with 74.

“It’s the turnovers that we have to watch out for,” McLaughlin said. “We can control the flow of the game if we can be efficient on the offensive end.”

The offensive end swill be especially important for the Red and Blue tonight, as Columbia leads the Ivy League in steals as well as defensive rebounding.

Led by junior Judie Lomax, who is the nation’s top rebounder at 13.8 board per game, the Lions have outrebounded their opponents by nearly five per game. Lomax was recently named Ivy Player of the Week for the fifth time this season.

Penn and Columbia have exchanged wins and losses in their last five matchups, with the Lions winning the latest matchup, in New York on Feb. 13.

Friday will also be the Quakers’ annual “Pink Zone” game.

This initiative, an effort to raise breast-cancer awareness around the country, first started in 2007 under the name “Think Pink.”

Penn will give its proceeds for the game to breast-cancer research, joining 1,500 teams that have performed the same deed this season. At last year’s Pink Zone game, the Quakers raised over $5,000 for the Rena Rowan Breast Cancer Center.

Come Saturday, pink will turn to Red as Cornell comes to Philadelphia.

The Big Red (6-17, 1-9 Ivy) have lost 14 of their last 15 games, after a promising 5-3 start to the season. Their lone victory since Dec. 19 was against the Quakers two weeks ago in Ithaca, N.Y.

Cornell owns the last-ranked defense in the Ivy League, to match Penn’s last-ranked offense, and are also last in the conference in turnover margin.

Yet Cornell is looking to stop the Quakers from finally getting an Ivy win.

“No game can be understated in the Ivy League,” McLaughlin said. “Every night demands your best effort.”

Rest assured, Penn’s seniors will give their all in the last home game of their careers.

“This will be a very special weekend for our seniors,” McLaughlin said. “All their years of service to this team will be recognized by the home fans.”

All three seniors were named team captains this season, and McLaughlin appreciates what they bring to the table for his young squad.

“I’m fortunate to be working with some very special people,” he said. “Our seniors’ enthusiasm has been important to our functioning as a team, all year.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.