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Senior guard Mandy McGurk brings the ball up the court during the team's earlier matchup against Princeton on Jan. 16. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

With an Ivy League tournament berth already secured, Penn (17-9, 9-4 Ivy) enters its last game of the regular season against Princeton (20-5, 11-2) on Friday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m. in the Palestra with little on the line but pride.

Despite challenging for a share of the Ivy League regular season crown for most of the season, a shocking loss to Brown on Feb. 18 in Providence, R.I. all but eliminated Penn’s hopes of competing for first place. However, the Tigers do have the chance to play spoiler in their home finale — where the Quakers have gone 12-1 this season. 

Princeton and Columbia sit atop of the Ivy League with conference records of 11-2 each. For the Tigers, they must win this game and hope for Columbia to lose to lock up the first seed in the tournament. Penn will be more than eager for revenge after Princeton snapped its 11-game win streak in a 55-40 loss on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In that match up, Penn was out-shot and out-rebounded in what turned out to be a complete domination by Princeton. Since then, Penn has never failed to score at least 50 points in a game — even in its losses to Columbia and Brown. 

For Penn, winning against Princeton would lock the team into the third seed heading into Ivy Madness and set the team up for a rematch against Princeton on March 10 in the first round of the tournament. A win against Princeton to end the regular season would also go a long way towards building the team’s confidence heading into Ivy Madness — where the stakes are as high as ever. 

This will also be the last time that senior captain Kayla Padilla will play in the Palestra while representing the Quakers. While she has one more year of eligibility left, Ivy League rules prevent her from staying at Penn as a graduate student. Nonetheless, her time at Penn has been incredibly impactful on the program as a whole. 

In addition to already receiving two first-team All-Ivy recognitions with a third likely to follow, Padilla will also finish her career as the program’s all-time three-point leader and the program’s seventh all-time scorer. Averaging 17.5 points per game this season, all eyes will be on Padilla to see what she has in store for the Palestra crowd on Senior Night, capping off what has been an incredible and accolade-full career.