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Senior guard Ashley Russell and Penn women's basketball will host American in the first round of the WNIT this Friday.

Credit: Alec Druggan

The season isn't over yet for Penn women's basketball.

After earning a share of an Ivy League title but suffering a 65-54 loss to Princeton in the final of Ivy Madness, the Quakers are headed to the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) for the second straight year.

In the 2018 edition, the Red and Blue got past Albany in the first round by a score of 76-61 before succumbing to a late St. John's run and falling 53-48 in the second.

This time around, the Quakers (23-6, 12-2 Ivy League) will open their tournament on Friday against American (22-10, 16-2 Patriot League). The Eagles were co-conference champions with Bucknell but later fell to the Bison in the Patriot title game, strikingly similar to the Red and Blue's fate this season.

"The team is excited to keep the season going," coach Mike McLaughlin said. "We're excited to be back in the Palestra and hoping we get support from the student body on Friday."

The only common opponent Penn and American faced was Navy, with both teams picking up wins over the Midshipwomen during the regular season.

As for strategies entering the contest, McLaughlin wants to keep more of the same from the team's overall strong year

"On the offensive end, just putting the ball up and getting shots off," he said. "Just to keep [the players] fresh and staying sharp, [with the] energy level high."

Success in the WNIT might not be as sweet as playing in March Madness, but it's the last chance at competitive basketball the team will have for eight months. Despite coming up just short in their quest for an NCAA Tournament bid, the Quakers still have at least one more opportunity to play for glory in front of their fans, and could be poised for a deep run into April.

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