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WBasketballVYale Penn lost. Credit: Joe Ovelman

The last thing coach Mike McLaughlin and his squad, currently on a seven-game losing skid, want to see is a pair of Ivy League powerhouses.

But that’s exactly what the women’s basketball team will be up against when Dartmouth and Harvard come to town this weekend.

The Quakers are coming off a difficult weekend in which they lost to both Yale and Brown, but things only look to get tougher as they face the Big Green tonight and the Crimson Saturday — teams that traditionally have had success in conference play.

“This weekend’s going to be a great challenge,” McLaughlin said. “These are two teams that pose a threat to any opponent.”

Making the task even tougher, the Quakers (1-16, 0-3 Ivy) will have to prepare for a different type of challenge from each squad.

“They’re both very good teams, though they have distinct styles,” he said. “Dartmouth is an in-and-out kind of team, while Harvard will often use their post game to set up perimeter shots.”

The Red and Blue have fared poorly against both squads, especially in recent years. Dartmouth (7-10, 2-1) leads its all-time series with the Quakers 40-21, and has defeated Penn four times in a row. Harvard leads 42-21 in its series with the Red and Blue and has won eleven straight matchups.

The Quakers haven’t beaten Harvard (11-6, 2-1) since Feb. 6, 2004 — a 73-72 victory in Cambridge. They haven’t beaten the Crimson at the Palestra since Feb. 9, 2001.

Penn will have to execute offensively if it hopes to end either streak.

“Things really don’t get any easier from here,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll have to pick it up on the offensive end if we want any chance to win.”

On the season, Penn is averaging just 45.6 points per game, shooting 30.4 percent from the floor and 21.8 percent from beyond the arc. All three numbers rank last in the Ivies.

The Quakers will use their third-best Ivy defense (allowing 61.1 points per game) to keep them in the game.

“We’ve also got to control the pace of the game,” McLaughlin said. “If we can stay composed defensively [and] not make too many mistakes, we can set ourselves up very well.”

Penn sophomore Sara Ely is entering this weekend on a high note after being named to the Ivy League and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week Honor Roll. She had a career-best three steals against Yale last Friday, and scored a career-high eight points against Brown the very next day.

These two games will conclude a 12-game homestand of sorts for the Quakers. They have played 10 consecutive games in Philadelphia, nine at home, dating back to their Dec. 12 showdown with Rider.

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