Penn women’s basketball is preparing for the opportunity to win it all.
With Ancient Eight play coming to a close, the Quakers currently sit atop the standings with Princeton, but anything can still happen with two games to play.
The Quakers (20-5, 10-2 Ivy) will compete this weekend against Yale (6-11, 6-6) and Brown (9-19, 1-11) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. If the Red and Blue come out of the two-game stretch with a better weekend than the Tigers, Penn will have secured the all-important No. 1 seed for the Ivy League Tournament.
The Quakers will need to do what they have done all season and continue to play consistent basketball if they hope to come out of this weekend with both wins.
“We have been consistent from the first day to this day. We treated the Ivies the same, the way we prep throughout the week,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “Obviously back-to-back, we gave them their day off at the beginning of the week as we do and build up through the week. We know the importance of having success on Friday and then having that opportunity on Saturday. We understand that, but that didn’t change how we prepare.”
On top of the opportunity to win it all this weekend, the Quakers will have the added challenge of doing it on the road after playing five straight games in front of a home crowd.
“We were away for the beginning — five of the first seven — and having five in a row at home was very rewarding because of the travel," McLaughlin said. "It's going to be tough. The way our league plays out, it's difficult to win on the road. To try to play back-to-back on the road with travel and prep in between is difficult. Just try to focus on Yale, and the coaches are prepared to go right on to Brown after that game, and the players will prepare for Brown on Saturday. It's challenging and it's tough to do it on the road, but we all play under the same type of rules when we travel.”
The last time Penn squared off against Yale and Brown, the Red and Blue won by scores of 54-48 and 83-43, respectively. Despite picking up wins the first time around, the team found areas that it could improve upon heading into the rematches this weekend.
“Yale is really good in transition, so we focused on trying to stop them in transition,” McLaughlin said. “I thought we struggled a little bit in the half-court the first time. [We should be] better in that area than we were the first time.”
Overall, the team is ready to tackle these last two games and the opportunities that they present.
“We're in a position to come out and play our last two games on the road, play against two good teams in our league, and finish the League strong," McLaughlin said. “Hopefully at the end, we have an opportunity to win the League.”
Whether or not Penn wins a title, this weekend definitely won't be one lacking in excitement.