Penn women’s basketball picked right up where they left off after a nearly-two-year hiatus.
Opening their season at the University of Hartford, the 2019-20 Ivy League runners-up looked the part of a team with something to prove in the upcoming season. Having defeated the Hawks during their most recent season, en route to a 20-7 record and a 10-4 standing in conference play, the Quakers jumped all over their foes to the tune of an 85-42 victory.
As expected, former Ivy League Rookie of the Year and 2020 All-Ivy first-teamer Kayla Padilla led the Red and Blue in the effort. The junior guard paced the Quakers with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including four three-pointers. She also recorded five rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and a steal. Senior guard Mia Lakstigala and sophomore forward Jordan Obi also notched double-digit performances, putting up 19 and 10 points, respectively.
As the Quakers doubled up their opponents from the Constitution State, they demonstrated their depth in a team effort. 12 Penn players saw the court in the blowout win, including first years Stina Almqvist, Lizzy Groetsch, Sima Visockaite, and Marianna Papazoglou. Each of these players recorded their first collegiate minutes, with Almqvist and Groetsch combining for nine points off the bench.
The Red and Blue were stalwarts on the defensive end throughout, holding Hartford to single-digit points in both the first and second quarters. Additionally, the Quakers recorded 11 blocks over the course of the game — 10 of them coming in just the first half — which tied the program record for blocks in a single game.
For the Hawks, only one player managed to reach double figures, junior guard Jada Lucas, with 10 points. The Quakers led Hartford in virtually all statistical categories, including field goal percentage (45-22), three-point percentage (41-16), and free throw percentage (69-58). Penn scored 21 points off of 19 forced turnovers, pulled down 49 rebounds as a team, and never relinquished the lead, holding strong for all 40 minutes.
The season-opening victory is likely a special one for head coach Mike McLaughlin, who picked up the 200th win of his Penn head coaching career.
Next up for the Quakers is the team’s home opener at the Palestra on Tuesday, when they will take on King’s College.