But wait — there’s more!
Despite finishing second in the Ivy League, Penn women’s basketball’s season isn’t over quite yet. One year after securing the Ancient Eight crown and competing in the NCAA Tournament, the Quakers will play in the postseason yet again.
Although they will not be playing in the Big Dance, the Red and Blue were selected for the next best thing on Monday night: the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Penn will host Hofstra at the Palestra on Thursday. The bid marks the third consecutive postseason appearance for the Quakers, who made the Women’s Basketball Invitational in 2012-13 before reaching the NCAA Tournament last March.
Just as they have all season, the Quakers will be led by Ivy Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous first-team All-Ivy center Sydney Stipanovich. The Red and Blue will also seek key contributions from freshman standout and Ivy Rookie of the Year Michelle Nwokedi, as well as senior stalwarts Kathleen Roche and Kara Bonenberger, who may be slowed by a knee injury suffered against Princeton on March 10.
Meanwhile, Hofstra (20-12) is coming off a loss in the Colonial Athletic Association title game. The Pride are led by freshman guard Ashunae Durant, who is averaging 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest.
The exact time of tipoff is yet to be announced, but, as the higher seed, the Quakers will have home-court advantage.
As the Quakers prepare to match up with Hofstra, they will not be the only Ivy squad playing past the regular season. Princeton, the only undefeated women’s team in the country at 30-0, is the Ivy League’s automatic qualifier in the NCAA Tournament, where they will square off against Green Bay in the First Round on Saturday.
For the Tigers, the bid comes with a great deal of disappointment. Despite its perfect record, Princeton enters the Tournament as a No. 8 seed in the Spokane, Wash., region, positioned much worse than many analysts projected.
The Tigers’ own official Twitter account expressed its dissatisfaction with the snub, tweeting, “An eight seed? What? ... Is this fair?”
Despite the perceived slant from the NCAA selection committee, Princeton still has a legitimate shot at going deep into the tournament. Led by senior guard and Ivy Player of the Year Blake Dietrick, the Tigers will now be playing with a chip on their shoulder as they enter the most important stretch of their season. They also likely will face top-seeded Maryland on the Terrapins home court if they make it past their opening matchup.
So, while Penn and Princeton will be playing for much different stakes, the two programs will have the chance to capture their one shining moment during college basketball’s most exciting time of year. For the two teams, it will be a chance to cap off their highly successful seasons — and their seniors’ careers — on a positive note.
In post-season play, every shot, every pass and every rebound can change the course of a season. When the dust settles, only one champion can be crowned.
For Penn and Princeton, that whirlwind journey starts this weekend.Comments powered by Disqus
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