This weekend, we got our first taste of Penn women’s basketball as the team took the court for their Red and Blue scrimmage. While it’s always tough to take too much away from a scrimmage, here are some of our first insights into the Quakers’ upcoming season.
Guard play at a premium: With the graduation of guards Alyssa Baron and Meghan McCullough, it was pretty clear that Penn would need to find a new pair of starting guards. While the scrimmage didn’t entirely clear things up, it brought some clarity to the situation.
Sophomore Melanie Lockett put together a strong performance on both ends of the floor, while freshman Beth Brzozowski struggled from the field. Junior transfer Kasey Chambers looked like the best guard on the court at times, but she’ll have to sit out the season due to eligibility.
According to coach Mike McLaughlin, Lockett has been transitioning to playing more as a wing, while Brzozowski and fellow freshman Anna Ross will likely see the majority of minutes at point guard. Ross was unable to attend the scrimmage due to a prior commitment.
Wealth of forwards: With sophomore Sydney Stipanovich (back) and senior Kara Bonenberger (illness) sitting out during the scrimmage, McLaughlin had an opportunity to take serious looks at his depth at forward. Sophomores Sade Gibbons and Jackie Falconer – both of whom saw very limited action last year – had strong performances.
Gibbons, in particular, looked very comfortable battling down low with freshman Michelle Nwokedi and altering shots in the paint. Falconer showed off a bit more range, knocking down a pair of mid-range jumpers. Between Stipanovich, Bonenberger, Michelle Nwokedi, Katy Allen and these two, there are plenty of frontcourt players to go around. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Quakers pull out some three forward lineups during the season.
Long road to recovery: It’s been a tough road to full health for junior guard Keiera Ray. Though she played in the scrimmage without a knee brace, the former Big 5 Rookie of the Year wasn’t at her best. A late ankle injury took her out of the game, but it didn’t look to be too serious.
While it was great to see Ray back on the court, it’s starting to seem unlikely that she finds herself back in the same role she was freshman year when she finished second on the team in scoring. She’ll definitely continue to provide solid minutes as a two-guard off the bench, but it’s unfortunate to see a career so plagued by injuries.
Fresh faces: It certainly wasn’t all familiar faces on the court for Penn fans, with three freshmen and a junior transfer out there. As mentioned before, Chambers had a strong showing at the point, while Brzozowski seemed to struggle for the most part.
Meanwhile, guard/forward Lauren Whitlach showed off her range, knocking down a variety of mid-range jumpers and a three. Listed on the roster as a guard, Whitlach appeared to handle herself fine when matched up defensively with smaller forwards and should see playing time as a wing player.
Down in the paint, forward Michelle Nwokedi seemed to have her hands full. A highly-touted recruit out of high school, the Texas native looked rather raw on the offensive end when matched up against Gibbons. The defensive end was a whole other story as Nwokedi picked up a handful of blocks and generally held her own. The combination of Nwokedi and Stipanovich – the reigning Ivy League defensive player of the year – will do a lot to alter opposing team’s offensive gameplans.Comments powered by Disqus
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