It’s time to bounce back.
After a 20-point loss to Princeton, Penn women’s basketball will look to get its season back on the right track this weekend as it takes on Ivy League bottom-dwellers Columbia and Cornell on the road.
The loss on Tuesday night in New Jersey snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Quakers (15-6, 6-2 Ivy), and was their second defeat this season to the league-leading Tigers (17-4, 7-1).
“It’s important any time we win or lose to try to debrief ourselves, go over a few things, and learn from the mistakes,” said coach Mike McLaughlin. “Friday’s the most important thing in front of us, so we’re on to the next task.”
However, Penn still remains in good position for a spot in the season-ending Ivy League tournament, currently sitting in second place with only teams below them left to play on the schedule.
“We’re looking forward to these games coming up in the Ivy League and securing our spot, whether it be one through four, and getting to the tournament,” said senior captain Anna Ross.
Already having played both New York Ivies earlier this season and winning the two games by a combined 39 points, the Red and Blue are likely to pick their winning ways back up again this weekend.
This Friday night, the Quakers start their road trip in the Big Apple, where they will take on struggling Columbia (7-16, 1-7). The Lions have lost 10 of their last 11 games, including eight double-digit defeats.
In the games against Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth, for example, Columbia went 0-3 and lost by a combined 64 points, while Penn defeated all three and won by a combined 53 points.
If Columbia has one player Penn needs to keep an eye on, it would be senior Camille Zimmerman. Averaging nearly a double-double with 20.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, she is no doubt the Lions’ strongest player and must be kept in check by the Quakers to seal the win.
The next day, Penn will make the long trip up to Ithaca to face off against Cornell (6-15, 2-6). The Big Red are only doing marginally better than Columbia in the Ivy League, and are also responsible for handing the Lions their lone conference win.
Cornell has kept its games close, and even picked up a narrow win over Brown last weekend, so it will be looking to carry that positive momentum from the victory into this weekend’s games.
The Big Red also have a clear leader in sophomore Samantha Widmann, but outside the five starters, the team lacks the depth needed to finish the job in games that come down to the wire.
The gap between Penn and these two teams is wide, and although the Red and Blue will be heavily favored in both games, Columbia and Cornell are currently fighting to stay in the hunt for a playoff bid, and it would be dangerous to underestimate any team playing with everything on the line.
“Our aim is to get up and have a good weekend, but our goals are still the same,” said McLaughlin. “We want to be the best in our league, and whatever that is at the end, that’s gonna be our goal. We’re still trying to be that team that can win this at the end.”
As the regular season nears its end, Penn hopes its season will continue deep into March. The Quakers came into this season looking for a “three-peat” of the Ivy title, and although they have gotten slightly jolted, they are by no means out of it.
This weekend, it’s time to prove what they can do.