Penn women’s basketball has announced its schedule for the 2019-20 season, and it features contests against both new and old opponents.
The Quakers boast a streak of six seasons with more than 20 wins, a feat they will hope to carry on in the upcoming year. Penn also had its share of success in the Ivy League last season, winning the Ivy League regular season championship, but unfortunately falling to Princeton in the Ivy Tournament final.
WIth a record of seven straight postseason appearances, the Quakers have proved to be strong competitors. They witnessed the departure of seniors Ashley Russell and Princess Aghayere, who were important members of the squad last season. However, players like rising junior Eleah Parker, who was Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, and rising senior Kendall Grasela, who played in all 31 games last season, will continue to work hard for the Quakers.
The season begins for the Quakers on November 9 at home, when they will open against Siena for the second year in a row. Last year, the Quakers beat the Saints 58-51, and this year’s game will be the two teams’ fourth all-time meeting. Penn will play a total of 12 home games this season.
The next two matchups for the Quakers will be against NJIT and Iona, teams they will play for the third and second straight year, respectively.
Big 5 play will begin for Penn with an away game at Saint Joseph’s on November 20. The 2017-18 season was the last time Penn won a Big 5 championship.
Though the Quakers’ overall record against SJU is only 4-40, they have won two straight contests and three of the last five meetings. Last season, the Red and Blue earned a convincing victory with a 20 point margin: 65-45.
Over Thanksgiving break, Penn will travel to North Carolina to play Duke for only the fourth time in program history and the third time under head coach Mike McLaughlin. Though the Quakers are 0-3 against the Blue Devils, their last meeting ended with a loss by only seven points, showing that the Quakers can compete with their Power 5 opponent.
On December 2, Penn will face Hartford for the first time. The meeting will take place in the Palestra and is the second in a string of four games in the span of eight days for the Quakers, beginning with Duke and ending with Stetson on December 7.
Next up in Big 5 play, the Red and Blue will face La Salle, a team which proved to be no match for Penn last season. At the Palestra, the Quakers achieved a 65-34 win, but they will hope to win their first away game against the Explorers since 2016 on December 4.
The Battle of 33rd Street will take place on December 20, when Penn faces Drexel at the Palestra. Last year, the Red and Blue won 55-39 on Drexel’s home court.
Over winter break, the Quakers will travel to Hawaii, where they will play Hawaii and Chaminade. Penn has made three trips to Hawaii total, two of which have been during McLaughlin’s tenure.
Big 5 play will resume after winter break, with games against Villanova and Temple in consecutive weeks.
The last time Penn competed at Villanova in 2018, the Red and Blue clinched a 79-77 victory. Villanova is the defending Big 5 champion, and since the two schools have a trend of games decided by small margins, this meeting will likely be challenging for the Quakers.
Non-conference and Big 5 play will end on January 22 at Temple, against which the Quakers have the most Big 5 wins: 16. Penn has won two straight games against Temple, including last season’s, where they defeated the Owls 71-62 at the Palestra.
As the Quakers transition into Ivy play, they will open against Princeton for the 15th straight season. The January 11th game will be the Quakers’ first opportunity for victory against the Tigers, with the second coming on February 25. Last year, the Quakers had a split record against Princeton heading into the Ivy tournament, having won their first contest and lost the second. Princeton broke the tie in the finals.
The Red and Blue fared well against its other Ivy opponents last year, finishing with a record of 12-2. Besides Princeton, Penn lost only to Harvard in a close game that ended in double OT, 72-80.
Penn’s regular season is stacked, and the Quakers will hope to perform well in both conference and non-conference play to advance into postseason competition.
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