While the season may be over for Penn’s basketball teams, the awards keep coming in.
Fresh off a spate of Ivy League awards, the women’s side added Big 5 honors to their Ancient Eight title-winning campaign.
For the third straight year, Penn coach Mike McLaughlin was named Big 5 Coach of the Year after guiding the Red and Blue to a program-record 24 wins.
While he wasn’t able to bring home the second-ever — and second straight — Big 5 title for the Quakers, McLaughlin led Penn to a 2-2 record in city play, which climaxed with a de facto title game against Villanova in January. The Quakers eventually lost, 66-46.
To his name, McLaughlin now has nine Big 5 wins, almost double that of any other coach in program history.
“Talking to my dad, he’s so excited about it,” McLaughlin said. “He’s someone that grew up watching Big 5 basketball and all of the greats. So it’s a big thing for him, and I think that it’s really cool — because of that. It means a lot because of where I’m from.”
But McLaughlin was not alone in taking home Big 5 honors. Penn’s star forwards, Sydney Stipanovich and Michelle Nwokedi, were dominant forces inside this season, and they were recognized with first team All-Big 5 honors.
This is Stipanovich’s second straight year on the All-Big 5 first team, in addition to winning Ivy League Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous All-Ivy first team honors on the year.
For Nwokedi, the award is the first of her career, having missed out on Rookie of the Year honors last year to Temple’s Alliya Butts.
Ultimately, Villanova took home the city title, and they were rewarded for their performance. Caroline Coyer, who scored 23 points against the Quakers, was named Big 5 Player of the Year for the second straight year. Her teammate, Adrianna Hahn, brought home Rookie of the Year honors.
“She got my vote for Player of the Year for the Big 5,” McLaughlin noted. “She’s very deserving. We’re happy for her. ... It’s a good thing for her, it’s a good honor, and it’s well deserved.”
For the men, a 1-3 record in city play was highlighted by a dominant 80-64 win over La Salle in November.
That night, Darien Nelson-Henry added 14 rebounds to a career-high 31 points in perhaps the most memorable performance of his career. The Big 5 has one last memory to offer the senior center, as he was the only member of the Red and Blue netting city honors after being named second team All-Big 5.
The Palestra will host the Big 5 one more time this year, as the banquet to honor all of the awardees will be held April 11.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.