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Junior forward Jordan Obi puts up a shot over two Columbia defenders during the game on Feb. 3. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Penn women’s basketball has not reached March Madness since 2017. If the Quakers wish to end the drought, they will have to overcome a number of difficult teams that stand in their way this season. The Red and Blue will have just the second game of their season be a tough Big Five matchup before hitting the road for nearly a month — with one other Big Five game at home thrown in the mix. They will return home briefly before hitting the road again and beginning the gauntlet of Ivy League play. The Quakers cap their season with their perennial foe, Princeton, who eliminated them from Ivy Madness in the semifinals last season. Here are five of the biggest games to watch out for as the Quakers chase the Ivy League Championship.

vs. Saint Joseph’s — The Palestra, Nov. 14, 2023

Penn’s first Big Five matchup of its 2023-24 campaign is also just its second game of the season. The Hawks have traditionally dominated the Quakers, with Penn having only won five times in the two schools' 45-game history. However, last season, the Quakers nearly pulled off the upset after a late fourth-quarter comeback, led by current senior forwards Jordan Obi (17 points and eight rebounds) and Floor Toonders (nine points and seven boards). Both were named captains ahead of this season and will hope to guide Penn to its first victory over St. Joe's since 2019.

vs. La Salle — The Palestra,  Nov. 29, 2023

Penn will make a quick appearance at the Palestra when the team takes on La Salle. It will be the only chance to see the Quakers at home after their St. Joe’s game until they play Maine on Dec. 30. In this span, they will play nine total games in just 22 days. Each game will be a true test of this team's endurance leading up to the start of Ivy League play. Penn defeated the Explorers last season 72-59, as current sophomore guard Simone Sawyer led the Quakers with 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. For her efforts, she was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. 

at Columbia — New York, Jan. 6, 2024

Next up, the Quakers hit the road for their first taste of Ivy League action. It won’t be easy as Penn takes on Columbia, who shared the regular-season Ivy League title with Princeton last season. Almost exactly a year earlier to the day, on Jan. 7, 2023, the Quakers took down Columbia 71-67 at the Palestra, for one of only two conference losses the team suffered the entire season. Columbia is led by reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year Megan Griffith and first-team All-Ivy selection senior Abbey Hsu, who has already been named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List for the best shooting guard in women's NCAA Division I college basketball, as well as the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award Watch List for best mid-major player in women's DI college basketball.

at Dartmouth — Hanover, N.H., Jan. 13, 2024

Hanover, N.H. may not be the most exciting place to be in the dead of winter. However, for Ivy League basketball fans, it will be Penn’s first look at Dartmouth's new head coach Linda Cimino. The team Cimino is taking over has struggled mightily in recent years, going 2-26 last season with a winless Ivy League campaign. Penn currently has a sixteen-game winning streak against the Big Green, including a dominant 54-37 win in Hanover last season. The Quakers will look to continue their dominance early in their Ivy League slate.

at Princeton — Princeton, N.J., March 9, 2024

As the saying goes, you always save the best for last. To conclude the season, Penn will hit the road to take on the defending Ivy League and Ivy Madness Champions. Princeton defeated Penn in all three of their matches last season including a 60-47 victory to eliminate Penn in the semifinals of Ivy Madness. In the Ivy League’s preseason poll, Princeton was ranked first and looks to be the team to beat this year. This game will likely have major conference tournament implications on both sides, and an Ivy League title could potentially be on the line.