Penn women's basketball is excited to return to the court for the first time since March 7, 2020, when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled both the 2020 Ivy League and NCAA Tournament. The Ivy League later cancelled the 2021 season.
Before the season opener against Hartford on Nov. 14, here are three key players to watch who can hopefully help lead the Red and Blue to its first Ivy League crown since 2017.
Kayla Padilla, Guard
As a freshman during the 2019-20 season, Padilla was a star for the Quakers. Leading the team with an average of 17.4 points per game, Padilla made her mark throughout the Ancient Eight and was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
Padilla scored 27 points against Princeton on Jan. 11, 2020, 21 points against Harvard on Jan. 31, 2020, and 22 points against Columbia on Feb. 7, 2020, showing up big in conference matchups.
Padilla averaged 32.4 minutes a game during the 2019-20 season and is ready to continue her workload this season. Padilla has had almost two years to continue to work on her craft and is poised to continue her reign dominating the Ivy League this upcoming season.
As a junior — and one of the few members on the team with extensive in-game experience — Padilla’s leadership will be of utmost importance for the Red and Blue this season.
Kennedy Suttle, Forward
Senior forward Kennedy Suttle is coming off a sophomore season averaging 17.6 minutes a game. Her playing time in the front court was limited with both center Eleah Parker and forward Tori Crawford in the lineup, both of whom have now graduated.
Parker was the second-leading scorer on the 2019-20 team, with an average of 12 points per game, as well as serving as a defensive anchor for the Quakers. Now as a senior, it is likely that Suttle will increase her production during this season. She has experience playing with Padilla and it will be exciting to watch them develop throughout the season.
Stina Almqvist, Guard
The Quakers roster is filled with players who have yet to see gameplay, including the 2024 recruiting class, who had their season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2025 recruiting class. The Quakers boast a very promising recruiting class this year, one that will hopefully play a large role in helping the Red and Blue reclaim the Ivy League crown and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.
Almqvist, from Atina, Sweden, played two seasons in the Swedish professional league. She scored 50 points in the Swedish Championship bronze medal game in 2019. It will be exciting to see how her game translates to the collegiate level for the Quakers.