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Credit: Michele Ozer

The Daily Pennsylvanian recently compiled a pair of Penn men's basketball all-time starting five lineups, but now it's time for our top lineup for the women.

Guard - Jewel Clark (2000-04)

Jewel Clark was on Penn’s first two championship-winning teams. Looking at her competitive nature, that isn't a surprise. On Feb. 24, 2001, when the Quakers clinched their first-ever Ivy League title in a game against Harvard, Clark waited for the celebrations to die down before saying to then-coach Kelly Greenberg, “How come we're that excited? We've got three more [games] to win."

After Penn legend Diana Caramanico graduated after her freshman year, Clark stepped into the vacated position. Clark graduated second on Penn women’s basketball’s all-time scoring list, with 1,743 points. In her senior year at Penn, Clark led the Red and Blue to their second-ever title, averaging 19.8 points per game and becoming the 2003-04 Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year. Her first team All-Ivy selection that year would mark the last of three.

Clark would go on to play for various professional teams, including in the WNBA, before becoming an eighth-grade language arts teacher at the time of her induction to the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Guard - Alyssa Baron (2010-14)

Alyssa Baron entered college with a bang, as she became the first freshman in Ivy League history to lead the league in scoring at 16.6 points a game. Her arrival at Penn was not one of simply individual achievement but signified an entire program shift. The season before her debut, the Quakers were 2-26 — in her senior year, the Quakers were Ivy League champions and matched the 22-win record set by the 2000-01 team. 

In Baron’s junior year, Penn reached the postseason for the first time in a decade, and in her senior year, Penn appeared in the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time ever.

Baron wrapped up her college career with the second-most points in Penn women’s basketball history and ninth-most in Ivy League history with 1,806 career points. In 2014, after Penn won the title, Baron was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. Her resilience and consistency was remarkable. Baron started in every game the team played, setting a school record of 116 games played.

Forward - Diana Caramanico (1997-2001)

Diana Caramanico is not only the greatest Penn women’s basketball player of all time, but arguably the most dominant athlete in women's Philadelphia Big 5 and Ivy League history. 

Caramanico became the first athlete in program history to win Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and the second Quaker ever to score more than 500 points in a season. In each of the three years following, she was named Big 5 Player of the Year, Ivy League Player of the Year, and unanimous first team All-Ivy.

The 2000-01 season was the hallmark of Caramanico’s career. After the Quakers had their first winning record since 1990-91 in the season prior, Caramanico led Penn to 22 wins, a perfect 14-0 Ivy League record, and its first-ever title, shattering Ernie Beck’s all-time points record at Penn in the process. She remains the sole basketball player at Penn to score over 2,000 career points, and her 2,415 points are still the best in Big 5 and Ivy League history. She is also the first Penn player to record over 1,000 career rebounds (1,207).

After graduating from Penn, Caramanico played professional basketball in France from 2001-03, serving as the Division II leader in points in both years.

Forward - Kirsten Brendel (1987-91)

Kirsten Brendel was arguably the first great in Penn women’s basketball history.  In 1990-91, she was the first player in program history to earn Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year honors. 

In the Penn women’s basketball record books, Brendel has the most points in a game (41 against Bucknell in 1991) as well as the third-most points in a season (631 as a senior). While she would not win an Ivy League title while at Penn, she was twice an Ivy League scoring champion, averaging 19.9 and 25.1 points/game in league games in her final two seasons, respectively. At the time of her graduation, she was the Ivy leader in scoring average and field goals made in a season.

Brendel was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Center - Sydney Stipanovich (2013-2017)

Over the course of her four-year stint at Penn, Stipanovich won the Ivy League title three times. She was a freshman for the first title in 2014. The second and third times, she was, along with forward Michelle Nwokedi, part of the powerhouse that led the Quakers to back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

Stipanovich was one of the dominant post players under head coach Mike McLaughlin. During her junior year, Stipanovich was named the Ivy League Player of the Year, and was twice named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, once in her junior year and once in her freshman year when she was also named Ivy League Rookie of the Year. At the end of her Penn career, Stipanovich became the greatest shot blocker in Ivy League history, leading both men and women with 317 career blocks.

Outside of defense, Stipanovich was also a strong offensive player, having the all-time sixth-most points in Penn women’s basketball history with 1,386 career points.

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