3 on 3: Examining Penn Athletics
1. What should expectations be going into the opening weekend of Ivy League play for Penn men's basketball?
Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: It's hard to figure out what to expect from Penn basketball. One night they're keeping things close late in the game with Villanova, and the next they're losing to Monmouth. The win against St. Joseph's was encouraging, but Harvard and Dartmouth are both intimidating foes for the Quakers.
Sports Editor Laine Higgins: If history is the best indicator of what’s to come for Penn basketball this weekend, I expect Penn to split the weekend with a victory over Dartmouth and a loss to Harvard. The Quakers are 8-2 in their past 10 games against the Big Green, but only 2-8 over the same stretch against the Crimson. Those records speak for themselves.
Senior Staff Writer Steven Tydings: I second Holden’s idea that you never know what to expect from this Penn men’s hoops squad but expectations need to be high right now. Add a win over rival St. Joseph’s to matchups with beatable Dartmouth and Harvard squads and Penn has a chance to sweep at home. If Penn is going to take down the Crimson this season, now’s the time.
2. With Penn women's basketball finished with its nonconference slate, which player has surprised you the most with their performance?
HM: Senior co-captain Kathleen Roche has stepped up as the team's primary outside scorer and raised her scoring average by 3.0 points per game in her final campaign. Roche — an on-and-off court leader for the Quakers — has embraced the scoring void on the wing and her shooting will be key to the team's Ivy success.
LH: I’ve been most surprised with senior forward Kara Bonenberger thus far this season. The starter has recorded the second most minutes on the court this season and has been good for 8.3 points per game, third highest for the Quakers. She has progressed leaps and bounds from when she first stepped on the court for Penn four years ago and is a definitive physical presence in the paint.
ST: While Roche has been pretty darn impressive, I’d have to pick senior co-captain Renee Busch. Busch didn’t start a single game during her sophomore or junior season, but she still brought the most intensity in practice of almost any player. Her work ethic has led to her taking over a spot in the starting lineup while adding some clutch heroics in Penn’s Big 5 win over Temple earlier this month.
3. With three Ivy League matches on the horizon, what would wins this weekend mean for the momentum of both Penn squash teams?
HM: The implications of these matches are very different for the two programs. The women’s team lost a bit of momentum with a loss to Trinity, and wins over top-five Yale and Princeton would help them reassert themselves as one of the very top teams in the nation. For the men's team, upset wins over Ivy foes would certainly help them pick up the pace.
LH: Yale, Princeton and Brown will keep Penn women’s squash on their toes, no doubt, and wins over both teams would allow Penn to enter CSA championships in dominant fashion next month. On the men’s side, all three opponents provide formidable challenges. In order to pull off wins, the Quakers must look to standout freshmen Derek Hsue and Marwan Mahmoud.
ST: Momentum is key in everything you do and this weekend is especially crucial as both Penn squash teams head down the stretch in their respective seasons. The women’s team is trying to hang on to its spot near the top of the CSA rankings, while the men’s squads needs some wins in the next five days to crack the top-eight of those very same rankings. It's an exciting time for both programs, to say the least.
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