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Credit: Tyler Kliem

With a roster of 18 players heading into the 2022-23 season, the Penn women's basketball team features a variety of backgrounds, spanning seven states in the United States and four countries overall. 

Although the team is small compared to other sports at Penn, which often gather players from all corners of the United States and beyond, Penn features patterns of basketball talent hotspots. On the Quakers, there is a striking majority of players from California and New Jersey on the team compared to others — Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Virginia, and New Hampshire. 

California boasts one of the most crucial players of the team coming into the season. Senior Kayla Padilla — who earned many honors last season, including her second first team All-Ivy — values the support sourced from her West Coast home community. Padilla has proven herself as one of Penn’s best three-point shooters in history, which her hometown of Torrance, Calif. has embraced through her Penn career. 

Fellow Californians who join Padilla on the team include freshmen Ella Ray and Isabel Gomez, as well as standout junior Jordan Obi who set impressive numbers on the scoresheets to the likes of upperclassmen players. 

There are 10 total players on the Red and Blue who have called the East Coast home waiting to strike this season. Of the five seniors on the team, four New Jersey natives include sisters freshman Saniah Caldwell and senior Sydnei Caldwell, who haven’t played together since high school. Sophomore Marianna Papazoglou and freshman Georgia Heine also join the Caldwell sisters in calling New Jersey home.

The Quakers also feature Pennsylvania natives staying close to home: senior Mandy McGurk and sophomore Lizzy Groetsch. Some have joined Penn from a little bit further out: from Massachusetts, senior Faye Parker and junior Michaela Stanfield; and from New Hampshire, senior Silke Milliman. 

Two Quakers from Illinois and Virginia serve as outliers from the rest: freshman Simone Sawyer and sophomore Iyanna Rogers, respectively.  

Additionally, there are three international players on the team: sophomore Stina Almqvist, junior Floor Toonders, and freshman Helena Lasic — from Sweden, the Netherlands, and Canada respectively. 

Almqvist comes from a career in Sweden playing for youth club and professional teams. Toonders is a transfer from the University of Florida who had multiple starts in her two years there in addition to having a four-star rank from Blue Star Europe. Lasic, the Ontario native, played in Pennsylvania at the Westtown School and helped them win the school’s first PAISAA championship in 2022. 

With the influences from great East Coast pride, the passion from the West Coast, and the unique influences in between, Penn features the chance to watch a team where players from across the states and the world take to the court all wearing Red and Blue.