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Having started in every game of her sophomore and junior seasons up until her recent knee injury, guard Lauren Whitlatch will be missed as Penn women's basketball approaches its title defense.

Credit: Ananya Chandra

Penn women’s basketball’s Lauren Whitlatch is out for the season with a torn ACL.

The junior guard had started all thirteen games for the Quakers before her injury leading up to last Wednesday’s 60-48 loss to Big 5 rival Villanova. Additionally, Whitlatch started every game as a sophomore, when Penn set a school record with 24 wins en route to an Ivy League title. Up until this week’s heartbreaking news, the team’s starting lineup featured the same five names for almost two straight seasons.

Fellow junior guard Beth Brzozowski replaced Whitlatch as the starter in that Villanova game, putting up two points and three assists in 24 minutes on the floor. Previously, Brzozowski had made a large impact from the bench as the team’s sixth woman, including a game-saving performance at Princeton to give the Quakers their first win in Ivy play this season.

As for backup for Brzozowski, there is a handful of players that could fill in that sixth woman slot. Ashley Russell is one candidate to back up the junior, while freshman Phoebe Sterba has also made a case with positive contributions from the bench recently.

One thing is for sure, though — Whitlatch won’t be easy to replace.

“It’s tough ... She’ll obviously be missed,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “Surgery is pending.”

The junior has contributed 6.7 points per game this season while also grabbing 2.1 rebounds. Additionally, she has established herself as a legitimate three-point threat, having knocked down 25 shots from beyond the arc this season and ranking fifth in the conference with 1.9 treys per game.

Whitlatch was seen at the Villanova game on the bench in street clothes, but McLaughlin refused to comment on the injury at the time, explaining that she had just found out the day before and he wanted to give her a chance to digest the news before it became public.

Whitlatch was at practice to help the team prepare for their upcoming matchup with Temple, but left early for a doctor’s appointment.