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Women's Hoops victory over Yale Credit: Sam Sherman , Sam Sherman

Penn women’s basketball’s second all-time leading scorer Alyssa Baron is gone. So are Meghan McCullough, Courtney Wilson and Kristen Kody — the other three captains of the 2013-14 Ivy League champions.

But don’t think for a second that the Red and Blue will be lacking leadership.

The Quakers’ four seniors — forwards Katy Allen and Kara Bonenberger along with guards Renee Busch and Kathleen Roche — have been named the captains for the 2014-15 season and plan on carrying the torch from last year’s successful group.

Each of the four seniors played a big role for last year’s Ivy winning squad: Bonenberger started every game and was a force in the post. Roche was Penn’s dependable three-guard. Allen settled in as coach Mike McLaughlin’s first player off the bench. And Busch was the big-time three-point shooter that could change games in an instant.

But the group also knows that leading isn’t just about on-the-court performance.

“[Last year’s captains] were always there for the team,” Allen said. “I, and I’m sure the rest of the seniors, want to make sure that even if we’re not playing our best at the time, we are there for the rest of the team.”

Each of the four captains this year brings a different style to the table. Busch described herself as “more of a lead-by-example, work hard and try and do things the right way kind of person.”

The other three have their own ways of contributing to the team.

“I definitely think Kara is our silent killer,” Busch said. “She’s going to go hard every drill, in the weight room. She’s not going to be late for any workouts.

“Kathleen and Katy are definitely a little bit more vocal. Kathleen gets us organized with team-building stuff. She’s the one who thinks of doing a team dinner the week before our first practice.”

Allen is the loudest person during practice when encouraging the team, Busch says, a side of her that has developed since she came to Penn.

“I came in being a little bit quieter,” Allen said. “Once it comes to being on the court, I speak up a little bit more, especially on the defensive end.”

The Quakers didn’t choose their captains arbitrarily. In fact, the team decided on its captains in a little bit of an unorthodox manner. Each player got two votes and had to explain their vote to the coaches, who ultimately chose the team’s formal leaders.

“I think it is important to the way we run the program,” McLaughlin said. “We want these girls to step up into leadership roles.”

“It’s been a huge honor,” Busch added. “It almost means a little bit more that your peers voted for you and it is something I’m very proud of, especially being part of the team for all four years.”

McLaughlin was highly complimentary of his senior leaders and mentioned how they had made sacrifices and become selfless for the good of the team.

Late last season, Allen was a shining example of that selflessness. She suffered a season-ending foot injury with five games left in Penn’s regular season. However, she remained an active member of the team, cheering her teammates on and helping her squad in other ways.

“It was a good experience and I think it has helped me this year thus far,” she said. “Obviously, not being able to play was tough, but it was almost just as enjoyable. ... I realized I could still contribute without being on the court.”

That kind of mentality is exactly what the coaching staff was looking for in its captains.

So with a tough schedule, injuries to deal with and a young core, the Quakers’ senior captains are up for the challenge.

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