The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

wbb-columbia-parker

Sophomore center Eleah Parker totaled 26 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks in Penn women's basketball's meeting with Cornell earlier this season.

Credit: Chase Sutton

On to the next one. 

Coming off its first conference loss of the season against Harvard in double overtime, Penn women's basketball will look to get back on track when it hosts Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday, marking the beginning of a five-game home stand at the Palestra. 

The Quakers (16-4, 6-1 Ivy) — who came into the season without three of their five starters from last year — have taken the League by storm this season with a 6-1 record. Sophomore center Eleah Parker, the 2018 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, leads the Red and Blue with 15.3 points per game and also ranks second in the nation with 3.4 blocks per game.

Besides Parker, the Quakers have done a good job getting everyone involved. They have 10 players that have played more than 120 minutes so far, and in conference play, four of their five starters average above 9.5 points per game. 

Parker's defensive dominance is an indicator of how good the Quakers have been on defense as a team this year. Penn's opponents have scored just 51.9 points per game on a 33 percent shooting clip. Both of these statistics rank first in the Ivy League. Additionally, the Red and Blue have held 10 different opponents to under 50 points this season, ranking No. 5 in the NCAA in scoring defense. 

For Penn, shooting the ball well has led to success. In each of the Quakers' losses, they've shot the ball under 37 percent from the floor. Additionally, the Red and Blue struggled from beyond the arc last week, shooting just 2-of-19. If the Quakers want to continue their conference success, they will likely need to shoot the ball better.

“For the guards, we have a goal this week of shooting a certain amount of threes,” senior guard Ashley Russell said. “We’re putting it on ourselves to get back in the gym and put the shots up to better everyone around us.”

Penn's opponents this weekend may not seem intimidating based on their records, but both teams have the potential to give the Quakers trouble. Freshman Sienna Durr leads the Lions (7-14, 3-5) with 14.6 points per game, and sophomore Riley Casey is averaging 12.4 points per game this season while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc. 

Despite losing Camille Zimmerman, its best player in program history, Columbia throttled Harvard, 75-65, just under two weeks ago, flustering the Crimson and holding them to just 28.3 percent shooting from the field. If the Lions can force the Quakers to start missing shots, Penn could struggle. 

Cornell (9-10, 3-5), on the other hand, has won two straight Ivy matchups against Brown and Yale. Penn rolled the Big Red by a score of 59-46 in their last matchup, but the Quakers will have to limit junior forward Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, who averages 15.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and transferred from Penn only two years ago. 

Earlier this season, both matchups went Penn's way. The Quakers trounced Cornell behind 26 points and 12 rebounds from Parker, and they toppled Columbia, 72-60, in a game where four of Penn's starters posted double-digit scoring. 

Home court advantage could pay dividends for the Quakers this weekend. They have only dropped one game at home — against Villanova — while Cornell (3-6) and Columbia (3-8) have struggled on the road.

“This weekend, coming back home, asserting ourselves against [Cornell and Columbia] is going to be huge,” Russell said. “We definitely don’t have any given wins, so it’s about coming in, bouncing back, and proving that we’re a top team in the Ivy League.” 

Regardless, if their first games against Columbia and Cornell are any indication, the Red and Blue should like their chances of taking care of business this weekend. 

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.