This Saturday, both Penn men’s and women’s basketball took the court at the Palestra for the annual Red & Blue scrimmages. The intrasquad matchups were the last scrimmage action prior to both teams’ season-openers.
As with all scrimmages, particularly intrasquad ones, it can be difficult to glean significant takeaways from the action. But with both teams’ seasons just around the corner, here are some notes from Saturday’s back-to-back contests.
The first of the two contests pitted the Blue and White teams of Penn women’s basketball against each other. The White team's starting lineup could be the same starting lineup that takes the court on Nov. 14 when the team opens its season against Hartford. The lineup featured returning starters Kayla Padilla and Kennedy Suttle, veteran Mia Lakstigala, transfer Nikola “Niki” Kovacikova, and sophomore forward Jordan Obi.
One standout performer from the first scrimmage was Obi, who coach Mike McLaughlin said is poised to make an impact in her first full season with the team. The sophomore scored 14 and showed off a smooth shooting stroke.
Obi wasn’t the only newcomer to show slashes in the contest, with Kovacikova making her debut as the Quakers’ primary ballhandler. Freshman guard Lizzy Groetsch also showed off an aggressive defensive style that could earn her minutes in a deep Penn backcourt.
Perhaps the biggest storyline from the women’s contest was the offensive performance of senior Kennedy Suttle, who led the White team in scoring with 16 points. Suttle showcased her classic gritty playing style, tracking down rebounds and making hustle plays on the defensive end. But, as McLaughlin mentioned before the season, Suttle will also be looked on to make an impact on the offensive end. On Saturday, she showed flashes, going 2-of-5 from three.
Following the women’s scrimmage, the men took the court. Familiar faces stole the show for the Quakers, with Max Lorca-Lloyd and Jordan Dingle playing well for the White team. Dingle led all players in scoring with 25 points on the back of 7-for-7 free throw shooting. Lorca-Lloyd, along with fellow frontcourt big man Michael Wang, was a strong offensive presence in the paint, with both players scoring in double digits. Lorca-Lloyd also had multiple blocks on the defensive end, including one on guard Jonah Charles that drew a noticeable crowd reaction. He also had a poster-worthy dunk early in the game.
The scrimmage also offered a glimpse at some of Penn’s younger players, who may not see as much action come regular season. Freshmen Nick Spinoso, Eddie Holland III, Gus Larson and George Smith all received significant minutes, as did sophomores Andrew Laczkowski, Clark Slajchert, and Colin Chambers. In previous interviews, coach Steve Donahue has signaled that Slajchert will be a part of Penn’s main rotation, and that he may employ a deeper rotation than usual, perhaps giving some other underclassmen a chance to contribute.
Season storylines and key performers will become clearer when both teams make their season debuts over the course of the next week. The men’s team is set to travel to Tallahassee on Wednesday to take on Florida State and the women are gearing up for a road trip to Hartford next Sunday.