The season might not have ended how the Quakers wanted, but the team can still celebrate its success on the court this year.
The Ivy League announced its women's basketball postseason awards last Wednesday, and Penn players took home two of the three biggest accolades.
Freshman guard Kayla Padilla became the sixth Penn player to earn Rookie of the Year, while junior center Eleah Parker was named Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Both players also picked up first-team All-Ivy honors.
Despite being new to the team, Padilla showed very few signs of trouble adjusting to collegiate play. The rookie's 17.4 points per game were good enough for second-highest in the Ivy League, just barely behind Player of the Year Bella Alarie from Princeton at 17.5.
Her lightning-fast speed on the floor was just one of the ways she could impact a game. During fast breaks, she often beat the entire opposing defense to the basket and converted an easy layup.
Padilla was also lethal from beyond the arc, converting 73 of 183 three-point attempts (.399) — the second-best percentage in the League.
Playing a team-high average of 32.4 minutes on the floor, the Torrance, Calif. native was a key part of Penn's offense and will no doubt only continue to improve and grow into a leader for the Red and Blue in her final three years with the program.
Shifting to Parker, the junior is coming off a season where she led the Ancient Eight in blocks, totaling 72 on the season. She also finished third among conference opposition in rebounding, averaging 8.2 boards per contest.
The Charlotte, N.C. native especially excelled on the offensive glass, where she grabbed a League-high 92 rebounds — an average of 3.4 each game for the Red and Blue.
Despite a mid-season slump, Parker came alive during Ivy League play and once again proved herself a valuable asset on both sides of the floor. She topped the rebounding charts across the 14 conference games with 10.3 boards a contest, and totaled 41 blocks, 10 more than the next closest opponent.
As her final season with the team approaches, Parker will continue contributing as a defensive stalwart for the Quakers as they look to challenge for an Ivy title.
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