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Frontrunners come out on top

(03/08/00 10:00am)

In yesterday's Super Tuesday primaries, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Goe soundly defeated their opponents. Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush all but ended the battles for their respective parties' nominations last night with decisive victories in a series of primaries across the country. Challengers Bill Bradley and John McCain needed major wins in yesterday's Super Tuesday primaries to sustain their beleaguered campaigns. But both failed to achieve the victories considered necessary for them to stay competitive, propelling their opponents into positions of even greater dominance and leaving the future of their respective bids in serious doubt. On the Republican side, Bush soundly defeated McCain in seven of the day's 11 major GOP contests, most notably sweeping the crucial delegate battlegrounds of California, New York and Ohio. He supplemented those gains with wins in Georgia, Maine, Maryland and Missouri. McCain, whose insurgent bid had challenged Bush's dominance with wins in New Hampshire and Michigan, managed to eek out small victories in four New England states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. Bush now holds a substantial edge in delegates to this summer's Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Last night, he picked up an additional 347 delegates, bringing his total to 517 of the 1,034 needed to win the nomination. McCain garnered 117, bringing his total count to 222. The results were even more punishing for Bradley. The one-time Princeton and New York Knicks basketball star and three-term Democratic senator from New Jersey failed to win even one state delegation from the heavily favored vice president. Though he has picked up delegates in non-winner-take-all states, Bradley has yet to win a single state contest from Vice President Al Gore. His total now stands at 284 of the 2,170 votes needed to win the Democratic nomination. Gore has 975 delegates. In Democratic exit polling, African Americans preferred Gore over Bradley by a margin of six-to-one, and Latinos by eight-to-one. The margin among union members was smaller, but still a healthy three-to-one. Gore also won the vote of independents, a key element of Bradley's electoral strategy, and a group that the Democratic nominee will need in the general election race. The exit polling was conducted by Voter News Service, a consortium of The Associated Press and television networks. Exit surveys across the states showed women preferring Bush by a two-to-one margin over McCain. Among age groups, McCain carried only younger voters; those over 30 voted for Bush. Among Catholics, the vote was split evenly between the two candidates. And by a big margin, the voters said McCain was more likely than Bush to say what he believes. Now, as the primary season moves in the coming weeks on to the southern states -- areas where Bush and Gore are expected to dominate -- speculation continues to swirl as to when the two underdog candidates might concede their races. "We're very pleased with the victories we won and disappointed with the ones we lost," McCain said shortly after calling Bush to offer his congratulations. He later told supporters that he and the Texas governor "may meet again," leaving the door open for a possible departure from the race. One senior adviser said that he expects the Arizona senator to announce his withdrawal from the race tomorrow, but added that no firm plans had yet been made. McCain said he would take stock of his campaign today when he travels to his retreat in Arizona. Some aides planned to recommend that the senator depart the race, while others looked for him to forge on to the nine primaries coming up in the next week. McCain's strength so far has been his ability to attract Democratic and Independent voters who don't usually vote Republican. But in recent days McCain has pledged to support Bush if he were to become the nominee, putting a damper on speculation that he might consider a third-party bid. Bradley addressed a crowd of supporters in New York, taking credit for launching "the beginning of a new politics," and recognizing his followers for pushing such issues as gun violence, poverty and campaign finance reform into the national spotlight. "He won, I lost," Bradley said last night, all but conceding the end of the race. He said he would consult with aides over the next few days regarding the future of his campaign and make an announcement sometime in the next week. For the victors of yesterday's primary battles, though, the campaign focus now shifts from the primaries to the general election showdown in November. As Bush and Gore addressed their respective crowds last night, the target of their comments noticeably shifted away from their party opponents and instead, toward each other. "Our campaign is your cause," Gore told a crowd of supporters in his home state of Tennessee. "We are the party of the mainstream. We appeal to hope, not anger, not to exclusion. He continued by saying his approach was the right one to continue the current economic expansion begun under Bill Clinton -- the only time he used the president's name. In an unnamed reference to Bush's policies, he cautioned against "wasting the surplus on a risky tax scheme." Looking ahead to a potential fight with Gore, Bush congratulated the vice president for his victories in the Democratic primaries, but said, "He is the candidate of the status quo in Washington, D.C., and he has a tough case to make in the general election." Bush continued by saying, "My frame of mind is to keep moving. Soon our party will unite and turn to the main task at hand -- ending the era of Clinton-Gore." The Associated Press contributed to this story.


W. Squash places three at Individuals

(03/08/00 10:00am)

One of the more rousing ovations at yesterday's Penn rout of Princeton in men's basketball had nothing to do with an alley-oop or a blocked shot. Instead, during a second-half timeout, nearly all Penn supporters in the sellout crowd of 8,722 put their hands together for the extraordinary accomplishments of the Penn women's squash team. Coach Demer Holleran's squad, the first-ever Ivy League and national champions in the history of women's squash at Penn, marched onto the court, where they received the Howe Cup from Athletic Director Steve Bilsky. The Quakers secured the national championship trophy on February 20, by beating Princeton, 5-4, in the Howe Cup finals so, naturally, most of those wearing orange in the crowd remained seated. The Red and Blue put just a dab more of icing on their history-making campaign this past weekend at the Individual Championships at Yale. Although Penn was by no means dominant at the competition, senior co-captain Katie Patrick and freshman Runa Reta both made it to the quarterfinals, while junior Lauren Patrizio captured the consolation bracket championship. Patrick, the tournament's No. 6 seed, made it to the quarters with relative ease. She beat Lindsey Bishop of Dartmouth in the first round and Harvard's Colby Hall in the round of 32. She won each by scores of 9-5, 9-1 and 9-1. Patrick then went on to beat Bowdoin's Dana Betts in straight games to reach the quarters. There she bowed out of competition with a loss to Princeton junior and defending national champ Julia Beaver in four tightly contested games. Beaver went on to take the title on Sunday. Reta was stellar in her first try at the individual crown. She dropped merely seven points in six games in the first two rounds. Particularly impressive was her 3-0 drubbing of Princeton's Liz Kelley to gain safe passage into the quarterfinals. Once there, Reta suffered a nip-and-tuck 3-2 loss to Yale's Laura Keating, who was the runner-up this past weekend. Patrizio, who has been hobbled by knee injuries all season, won her first match in New Haven, 9-3, 9-2, 9-3, over Abigail Drachman-Jones of Dartmouth, before dropping a four-gamer to Harvard's Carlin Wing in the round of 32. Her tournament was far from over, however. She won her next two matches, 3-1 and 3-0, to reach the consolation semifinals. There she bested Sarah West of Dartmouth in straight games. In the consolation finals, Patrizio recovered from a two-games-to-none deficit to score 9-6, 9-1 and 9-5 wins in a stirring comeback that added a little extra luster to an already sparkling season.


Students advised on how to pursue teaching career

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Penn undergraduates pursuing degrees in the liberal arts need not despair about their postgraduate careers. There is at least one profession that can never use enough of them: Teaching. Yesterday afternoon, the Kelly Writers House hosted an information session designed to teach humanities-oriented students -- all undergraduates -- how best to go about receiving a master's degree in Education and a teaching certificate. Ellen Braffman, the coordinator of secondary education at Penn's Graduate School of Education, was the featured speaker at the event. In her talk, she stressed the growing need for teachers -- especially in inner city high schools. "It is estimated that 2 million teachers will be needed in the next decade," Braffman said. "Science, math and foreign language teachers are especially needed." The Teacher Education Program allows Penn undergraduates to submatriculate into the Graduate School of Education. The program begins the summer after graduation and lasts until the following spring. Students take a one-month Introduction to Teaching course and then teach in a West Philadelphia high school for two semesters, simultaneously taking graduate school courses. Once the students decide the subject area in which they want to teach, they are required to take a certain number of classes in that subject. The student-teaching aspect of the program works exclusively with West Philadelphia high school students, trying to increase literacy rates of these students and help them to develop essential writing skills. The student teachers involved in the program must create teaching methods to achieve this goal. Braffman stressed that many students who participate in this program, in fact, ultimately do not pursue a teaching career. Some students who receive their masters in Education and their teaching certificates then go on to pursue other careers. Still, Braffman said the Teacher Education Program can prepare students for success in a wide range of career fields. "The teaching program is based on a theory into practice relationship," Braffman said. "You don't really learn anything until you have to teach it." College senior Richard Adzei, one of the students who attended the talk, is currently in the teaching program. "This is a great opportunity to maximize your time here at Penn," Adzei said after the talk. "It also saves money," he added, referring to the fact that alumni who teach in inner city schools have their student loans waived. College sophomore Allie D'Augustine, who attended the event, also praised the teaching program. "It is a good thing to help in inner- city schools" D'Augustine said. Students apply to participate in the program at the end of their junior year. Applications are read on a rolling basis and the students are notified of a decision by the end of the fall semester of their senior year. Applicants must complete an application, an essay and submit recommendations as well.


Method Man, Redman to play at Relays

(03/08/00 10:00am)

The popular duo will share the stage at April's annual Penn Relays concert, which will be held at the Class of 1923 ice Rink this year. The Class of 1923 Ice Rink will be pounding when twosome Method Man and Redman join opening acts The Outsidaz and Ram Squad for the annual Penn Relays concert this April, in what organizers are billing as one of the year's most dynamic hip hop events. "The duo was our first choice," said Shamika Lee, the co-director of the Social Planning and Events Committee To Represent Undergraduate Minorities, after receiving signed contracts from the performers. The College sophomore added that SPEC-TRUM selected performers that were popular in both Philadelphia and the hip hop industry. Last spring, SPEC-TRUM brought groups 112 and Mobb Deep to the concert for Penn Relays, an international track and field tournament that attracts tens of thousands of people to the University each year. Past years have seen heavyweights Busta Rhymes and the Fugees. Capping the University's second annual hip hop week and opening the Penn Relays weekend, the concert will for the first time take place in the ice rink, a venue larger than last year's The Armory, which Lee said no longer holds concerts. Lee said SPEC-TRUM tried for a "different flavor" and a "different feel" with this year's acts, hoping to appeal to more than just the hip hop fans in Penn's student body and attract greater diversity. Method Man started out as a member of the world renowned Wu-Tang Clan in 1993. After attaining stardom with the group, he released two solo albums --ETical in 1994 and Tical 200: Judgement Day in 1998 -- both of which went platinum. New Jersey native Redman gained popularity with the release of his 1992 album, Whut -- The Album, and has released several albums since. Method Man and Redman, with Def Jam Records, released their platinum album BlackOut in late September. And the pair -- who first collaborated on their 1996 single "How High" -- solidified after appearing on the highly publicized Hard Knock Life Tour with fellow Def Jam artists DMX and Jay-Z. Also from New Jersey, The Outsidaz have been working the rap scene since 1990. Their current album Night Life features artists such as Eminem and Rah Digga. And Philadelphia native rap trio Ram Squad has two popular singles out right now -- "How We Do" and "I See Nothing." Yesterday, organizers said they hope the lineup's MTV exposure will draw in a larger student crowd. "It will be accessible to more students," said SPEC Chairman Jon Herrmann, a Wharton senior. And Lee said SPEC-TRUM will focus marketing on campus more this year by selling tickets on Locust Walk for a month. Tickets for the concert go on sale starting March 20, the first day of classes following Spring Break.


Princeton has no answer for West-Caramanico connection

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Many good things came to a pleasant end for the record-setting Penn women's basketball team last night as the Quakers rolled over Princeton, 68-54, at the Palestra in the season finale for both teams. Penn guard Mandy West, the lone senior on the team, capped her collegiate career with a 17-point night, including a pair of three-pointers that put the Quakers (18-10, 9-5 Ivy League) up by 18 late in the first half. "That totally took the momentum out of Princeton," Penn forward Diana Caramanico said. "When somebody hits two threes on you in a row when your game is to shoot threes? she just beat them at their own game." Caramanico played solidly in the paint to lead all scorers with 22 points, which included a short bank shot midway through the second half that put the Quakers up by 19 points -- Penn's largest lead of the night. The Penn tri-captain's shot and the Quakers' huge lead was answered, though, by the heroics of Princeton guard Kate Thirolf. The senior took the Tigers (9-19, 6-8) on her back for four full minutes in the heart of the second half, mounting a solo, 9-2 comeback that was met only by a pair of Caramanico free throws with 9:44 left. Running on the momentum of Thirolf -- who totaled a team-high 17 points before fouling out with 1:13 remaining -- Princeton managed to bring the deficit down to eight with two minutes to go. By that time, however, the Tigers were forced to begin fouling a Penn team that shoots 72 percent at the line. "We had a lot of shooters out there, and I really thought we could shake loose and knock down a couple of threes," Princeton coach Liz Feeley said. "We didn't capitalize on our next possession after we cut it to eight, and then we started fouling. And once we started fouling, all they had to do was knock them down." West went 5-for-5 at the free throw line last night -- including a pair that pushed the Penn lead up to 10 points with 1:13 left on the clock -- preserving her claim to the Penn career free-throw percentage record at 82 percent. And by night's end, West could claim a second team record. Including the two treys last night, West leaves the Red and Blue holding the team record for most threes made in a season with a total of 77 hit from downtown in her final Penn campaign. West's record-setting numbers have drawn deserved respect from opposing sides as well as her own team. "You have to contest her shot," Feeley said. "You basically have to be right there, sitting on her right hand to stop her. That's why she's scored over 1,000 points in two years, because she can just knock those down." But the departing tri-captain isn't only known for her shooting touch. Her special guard-forward passing connection with Caramanico -- who finished her junior year last night just 19 points shy of Ernie Beck's all-time Penn scoring mark -- is also an aspect of West's game that has resulted in individual and team success. This connection was highlighted in the game's final minute, when West made her last assist as a Quaker from midcourt under a Princeton double-team to an open Caramanico down low. Caramanico's layup -- giving the star forward the last of her 22 points and Penn a 66-54 lead -- provided West with a fitting end to her Penn career. "I'm glad it ended on that," West said. "Di and I have complemented each other so well. I wouldn't get all my open shots from the outside [without her], and vice-versa with her. I think it's pretty cool that we ended on that connection." Caramanico, too, was pleased that their connection was the closing chapter of West's tenure in a Penn uniform. "I actually thought about that when she passed to me, that it might be the last time," Caramanico said. "It was really special. Just the feeling that we had that connection and we knew what the other person was thinking, that's really special and I'll really miss it next season." The Quakers, riding the West-Caramanico connection for the last time, hardly missed a beat against Princeton in the first half. After trading the lead with the Tigers for the first six minutes, Penn finally broke free with a 10-0 run over a three-minute span that put the game virtually out of reach for Princeton. The run was halted midway through the half on a three-pointer from Princeton guard Allison Cahill, but it was not enough to cool the red-hot Quakers. By halftime, Penn was up by a comfortable 38-23 margin on impressive 62 percent shooting from the floor. The team was anchored by Caramanico and West, who both contributed 10 points in the opening stanza. The 15-point deficit on the scoreboard was unnerving for Princeton in its halftime locker room. "We knew that we would have to keep Penn in the 50s in order to have any chance to win this game," said Feeley, whose Tigers had not given up more than 51 points per game in their last six contests. With the victory over Princeton, Penn ends the season with 18 total wins and a .643 winning percentage, both team records. The Quakers also scored a team-record 2,122 total points, with a record-breaking team scoring average of 75.8 points per game.


Bon Appetit looks to improve service after first year on job

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Almost a year after it began operating Penn's dining halls, food service management firm Bon Appetit is still working to settle into its role on campus. Residential dining services were outsourced to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company last May amid promises of superior food options and improved service. But while some changes have been instituted, including expanded a la carte options and increased theme dining events, both University officials and students say there is still room for improvement. "It just needs more variety," College junior David Rice said of dining hall food. Penn and Bon Appetit officials said they are working to improve the quality and service at dining halls across campus. "You always strive to get better," said Elaine Smart, director of Bon Appetit's residential dining services at the University. "I think this year is a transition year for the Penn managers, for Bon Appetit [and] for the current Penn employees." Dining has held several round table discussions to seek suggestions from students. In the fall, Dining officials conducted a survey jointly with the Undergraduate Assembly. In the survey, students expressed doubts over whether dining was capable of preparing a wide variety of food. Most gave dining an overall rating of six on a 10-point scale. College freshman Aasta Mehta noted that there are a lack of options in dining. "There's not really that much variety for vegetarians, at least," she said. Dining officials said offering a greater variety of food is one of their top priorities. "We have to be observant of the multiculturalism on the campus," Smart said. "We can't just cook Philadelphia, we have to cook vegetarian and Indian and authentic Indian." Chefs from the Moosewood Restaurant, located in Ithaca, N.Y. and well-known for vegetarian cooking, were brought to campus in January to teach campus chefs about vegetarian foods, according to Managing Director of Campus Dining Peg Lacey. Lacey said more special events and a focus on fresh foods were two particular improvements this year. "Almost everything is a fresh product," Lacey said. "If you have broccoli in the dining halls, it's fresh broccoli, fresh beans, everything." Both Lacey and Smart emphasized the importance of student input. "I can't stress enough that we encourage participation from all students," Smart said. "They're our customers and we're here to serve them." And while officials are working to improve the food, they also want to better the service in the individual eateries. Dining hall employees attended a day-and-a-half long workshop on customer service at the beginning of the year, Lacey said. The recent UA survey also showed that students were confused about the logistics of the dining operations. Some said they were concerned with the hours of operation of the dining halls and confused by certain policies, especially regarding guest passes and the "dining dollars" included with many meal plans. In response, campus dining extended the operating hours of the Hill College House dining hall and will distribute flyers explaining the use of "dining dollars," Lacey said. She noted that dining continues to consider making further changes to operating hours for next semester, based on data on the use of the dining halls. Other improvements that Bon Appetit is hoping to make include integrating dining more closely into the college house system and increasing the individuality of the dining halls, Smart said. Bon Appetit also plans to add more a la carte options, like wrap and taco stations, and cook-to-order foods in the dining halls. "I also see having each unit really getting its own identity," Smart said. "Historically, all the units ran basically the same menu, and we're really trying to change that."


Past and future of American welfare programs discussed

(03/08/00 10:00am)

For the last 30 years, he has studied American social policy and welfare programs. In his lifetime, he has advised several American presidents. And last night, Richard Nathan, the director of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, spoke to a roomful of 16 professors and students -- many of whom were Political Science majors -- about the changing face of welfare in America. Part of the Fox Leadership Program lecture series, Nathan's talk entitled "Is Welfare Really Over?" began by examining the Clinton administration's role in welfare reform. "It wasn't until 1994," Nathan said, "that the Clintons got around to handing a welfare reform to the Congress." With a few students busily taking notes, Nathan explained that the responsibility of welfare has increasingly returned to the states. "New welfare is highly decentralized," he said. As the Director of the Rockefeller Institute, Nathan has spent the last 11 years collecting data from states and publishing reports about welfare reform. His recent publication, A First Look, examines the effects of the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. Under this act, Nathan explained, the Republicans implemented a program of block grants, a way of providing money to needy families based on a formula. The act, according to Nathan, was pivotal. "Big changes have occurred," he said. He stressed that the new regime of welfare policy has strongly pushed the "work first" concept. In the effort to make welfare a temporary form of help, welfare reform has focused on "helping people become self-reliant," Nathan said. He went on to describe the Personal Responsibility Act as a way of "hitting welfare bureaucracy on the head." Nathan also discussed the current presidential election and pointed out that debate over welfare reform has typically been a long-standing issue. This year, however, features less than normal controversy, he said. "Welfare bashing has always been a hot issue in every campaign for presidency. It's curious that we've heard little about it in the 2000 campaign." Several students in attendance said they were impressed by his extensive knowledge of the topic. "He gave a really different perspective on the current state of welfare," said College junior Meg Guliford, a Political Science major. "He was a fountain of knowledge," said College senior Justin Timbie, who praised Nathan for being "well-versed in the issues." After hearing Nathan speak of the shift in control of welfare policy from federal to local hands, Timbie said he believes that "communication will need to be improved" if welfare policy is to be effective. The Rockefeller Institute of Government conducts public policy research on the political and economic relationships between state and local governments.


Legality of online note firm uncertain

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Versity.com may iolate copyright laws by posting class notes on a Web site. When it comes to the controversial Versity.com, there's one thing most everyone agrees on -- the legality of buying and posting class notes online is a very precise shade of gray. The site, which pays college students to post their lecture notes online, received negative publicity recently after Yale University demanded that all of its professors' lecture notes be taken down. Yale argued that each time Varsity.com features new notes online, the company violates copyright laws. And although Penn has not taken any action against the Web site, a committee of administrators is looking into the issue -- which, according to Penn Legal Studies Professor Dan Hunter, is very complex. Hunter said that while students would be infringing on copyright law if they copied professors' notes verbatim, because they are selling only their interpretations of the lectures, it may not be against the law. "There is a loophole here," Hunter said. He explained that copyright law protects the expression of an idea. The students employed by Versity.com are actually expressing the ideas, which are given by professors. The students therefore have a degree of the copyright material, Hunter said. And however complex the issue of copyright may be, Versity.com spokeswoman Janet Cardinell insists that the Web site is not infringing upon the law. She said that the copyright laws do not extend to information in the public domain and scientific facts -- the type of material presented in the introductory courses for which notes are posted. "These classes provide basic information," Cardinell said. "The student in the class is writing down their interpretation." The Versity.com notes are designed to be value-added, as the notes are meant to be used as supplements to professors' lectures, she explained. Cardinell admitted, though, that "there is a gray area of the law." Problems may arise, she said, because at times professors plan to publish the material they present in class, and thus want to protect it from being made available to the public before they are finished. Several Penn professors expressed concern earlier in the week because they were not informed that notes were being posted for their classes . In addition, some of the notes were of low quality. "We understand their concerns," Cardinell said, adding that Versity.com often does not contact professors before posting notes from their classes but plans to begin doing so and will likely encourage professors to review the notes before they are posted. This process would allow professors to have control over what is published and to find out if students are understanding the material presented in class, she explained. "We will work with professors individually so that everyone is mutually satisfied," Cardinell said. Versity.com has not contacted any of the Penn professors whose notes are online. Penn Deputy General Counsel Wendy White said that the University has a committee currently looking into the site, which has notes posted for 52 Penn courses in a range of departments including Economics, Biology, Philosophy, Political Science and Computer Science. "It is an issue for the University whether Penn wants to permit this activity," White said. "The Provost's office and our office need to take a look at it, and we are." White added that there will likely not be a problem if a professor has granted a student permission to post the course notes and if the notes accurately reflect class discussions.


W. Fencing captures fifth place at IFAs

(03/08/00 10:00am)

In the regular season, the Penn women's fencing team suffered devastating one-touch losses to both NYU and Rutgers. On Saturday, the Quakers got their revenge at the IFA championships, taking fifth in a very strong 14-team field, while placing ahead of both the Violets and the Scarlet Knights. The Red and Blue finished behind Princeton, Yale, St. John's and Columbia -- the same teams they could not overcome in the regular dual-meet season. Thus, the outcome of the tournament was somewhat expected. "We came in behind teams that beat us during the regular season -- it was a representative showing," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "I don't feel like we did badly, but I don't feel like we did wonderfully either." Leading the way for the Red and Blue was their strong foil squad, which combined to win 27 of 39 total bouts, placing fourth behind Ivy League rivals Princeton, Yale and Columbia. Freshman foilist Lauren Staudinger won 11 of her 13 bouts, putting her in second place in the A pool, while senior Margo Katz and freshman Stacey Wertlieb each won eight bouts and finished in fourth place in the B and C pool, respectively. "Relative to the field, the foilists did the best," Micahnik said. Penn's sabre squad also did very well, however. In the first year that women fenced sabre in the IFAs, the Quakers finished in sixth place, winning 21 total bouts. "The sabres came along. They're not as good as the best teams, but they haven't been fencing sabre that long," Micahnik said. "They did very well for us given a very difficult situation." For the sabres, freshman Christina Verigan and senior captain Heba Abdulla each won eight bouts, placing them fifth in the A and C pool, respectively, while sophomore Abby Lifter came in ninth place in the B pool. These results satisfied Penn's sabre fencers, as they know that they are still lacking in experience. "I think we did really well considering that a lot of squads have been training for a year or two," Verigan said. While Penn's sabres had the challenge of fencing more experienced opponents, the Quakers epeeists also faced stellar competition. The field was packed with proven champions and excellent fencers, including St. John's national epee champion Arlene Stevens, who was not even good enough to make the A pool. Stevens' teammate, Emese Takacs of Hungary, took the Red Storm's spot on the A strip. Nevertheless, the Quakers held their own, finishing in seventh place while coming away with 20 out of 39 bouts. Freshman epeeist Kim Linton came in sixth place, going 7-6 in the very tough A pool, while sophomore Mindy Nguyen came in 10th place, winning six of her 13 bouts in the B pool. Freshman Julia Blank and senior Sandra Yens won five and two bouts, respectively, on the C strip. Each fencers' performance was good enough to give them a top-third finish, a realistic goal set by Micahnik prior to the tournament. Nevertheless, the long-time fencing coach was still not satisfied with the results. "It was a pretty good tournament -- we were ahead of two-thirds of the field," Micahnik said. "But I'd like us to do better than that." After the team tournament on Saturday, the best fencers advanced to the individual tournament held the next day. For the Quakers, Staudinger, Katz, Verigan and Linton all competed on Sunday. However, only Staudinger was able to make it out of the first round, which was made up of two separate pools of six fencers. Staudinger advanced to the final pool of eight foilists, where she won four of her seven bouts, which was good enough to make her the fourth best foilist in the competition. Linton, Verigan and Katz combined to only win two bouts in the first round of the individual tournament. But this was against some of the best fencers in the country, and Verigan, for one, was happy with her results. "My goal was to make it to individuals and I did that," Verigan said. "I think that I came out of the meet with a lot more confidence, and I felt up to fencing A strip." However, putting records, victories and results aside, the tournament was a very emotional one as the Quakers said goodbye to their four seniors. "After the last bout, we were all hugging -- it's kind of sad that it's all over," Abdulla said. With the seniors departing, the strong corps of freshmen will be looked upon to step up for the Red and Blue. "We've established the tradition for them and now we're gone," said Abdulla, who won her final bout 5-1, in what could very well be the final bout of her Penn fencing career. With the Penn women's fencing team now done with their season, some individuals will look to continue to shine in the upcoming weeks. Penn State will host the Mid-Atlantic South Regional tournament this Sunday, and Penn will send any fencer who fenced in at least half of the meets, while winning in at least 50 percent of their total bouts. The following weekend, the Quakers will look to send some of their top fencers to the NCAAs at Stanford.


Undefeated! M. Hoops declaws Tigers for 14-0 Ivy record

(03/08/00 10:00am)

A rivalry traditionally filled with drama had little in a rout by Penn With the clock winding under four minutes at the Palestra last night and Penn thoroughly dominating Princeton on the hardwood, there was little left to do but celebrate. So Quakers senior guard Matt Langel did exactly that by firing a perfect lob pass to Geoff Owens, who rammed it home with a reverse dunk. That got the standing-room-only crowd into the act, as the first chants of "Undefeated" began to echo in the very rafters where another Ivy League Championship banner will soon be lifted. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read 73-52 in favor of the Quakers. More important to the hundreds of fans rushing the floor and the players they were about to embrace was the Quakers' Ivy League record -- a perfect 14-0. After so many classic battles in recent years, this latest Penn-Princeton showdown was relatively short on drama. Princeton (19-10, 11-3 Ivy League) led, 3-0, two minutes in after Spencer Gloger knocked down an open three from the top of the key. But by the first television timeout with 14 minutes, 42 seconds to play, Penn (21-7, 14-0) was ahead, 4-3. The Quakers would never trail again. Penn was up by at least 10 points for the entirety of the second half. "The game was lost right in the beginning," Tigers coach Bill Carmody said. "We got some pretty decent looks early and missed them." Princeton not only opened the game by shooting a frigid 1-of-10 from the floor, but was also hurt by two quick fouls to both starting forward Ray Robins and sixth man Nate Walton. That left lots of room for drives to the bucket by Penn's Michael Jordan and post moves from Owens and Ugonna Onyekwe. Penn outscored Princeton 20-0 in the paint during the first half. "There was a lot of dribble penetration, and we either made the choice to stop the penetration or try to stop the pass," Tigers sophomore center Chris Young said. "When they get the ball that deep, it made it easy to score." Princeton, meanwhile, did its best to make the Palestra's west basket look like a rigged carnival game, making just four of its 20 first-half shots and limping off to the locker room down, 26-13. Penn tried to shut the door on Princeton with an 8-0 run to start the second half. The Quakers' inside game continued to work to perfection, helping to open the floor for perimeter shooting by Langel, who followed a bagel in the first half with 11 second-half points. The Quakers shot an Ivy-season best 56.6 percent from the field for the game -- not bad against a Princeton defense that is ranked sixth in Division I field-goal percentage defense (36.2 percent). But this being Penn-Princeton, one team can never completely dominate the other, and last night was no exception. Coming out of a timeout with 7:30 to play, Gloger knocked down a three off a feed from Young to bring the Tigers within 10. Two free throws by Onyekwe and another bucket by Gloger made the score 55-45 with five minutes to play, but that would be as close as Princeton would get. "When they cut it to 10, we knew we needed to stop the run," Jordan said. However, he and Dunphy both dismissed the notion that the team was having flashbacks to last year, when Penn lost a 27-point lead to the Tigers. Seven straight points by the Quakers did more than stop the run -- it effectively ended the game. A three-pointer by Langel off a feed from Owens with 3:44 left capped the run. The Quakers ran the lead all the way to 24 before Jordan, Langel and fifth-year senior Frank Brown were called to the bench one final time in their home and Ivy League careers. That left the floor to senior Mike Koller, the fourth recruit from the fall of 1996 along with Jordan, Langel and Owens. Koller, who has played JV the past three seasons, suited up for tonight's finale and made the most of his opportunity by making one of two free throws with 23 seconds to play. While the loudest ovations were given to the seniors last night, they were not the only ones on display. Onyekwe put the final touches on his case for Ivy League Rookie of the Year by throwing in 20 points in 39 minutes of action. Owens, who will apply for an extra year of eligibility following the season, added 14. "[Owens] was as relaxed and poised as I have ever seen him," Dunphy said of the center, who uncharacteristically dished six assists while grabbing only three rebounds. Following the game, it was time for both teams to begin pondering the contests that might lie ahead. For Princeton, they will wait for the NIT pairings to be announced and hope to be one of the 32 invitees. For the Quakers, up next is an assured first-round game in the NCAA Tournament. As for what seed the Quakers will get, Dunphy said most predictions he had seen put the Quakers as a No. 12 seed. But the last words on the future were best left to the player most responsible for getting them this far. "We like winning," Jordan said. "We want to keep it going as long as possible."


W. Tennis blows Pirates straight out of the water

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Georgia Tech might have had its way with the Penn women's tennis team, 9-0, last weekend, but it was the Quakers who got the taste of a landslide victory yesterday when they trampled Seton Hall, 8-1, at Penn's Levy Tennis Pavilion. "We swept them in singles," Penn senior co-captain Anastasia Pozdniakova said. "When I came off the court, half the team was done already." Pozdniakova had no trouble wiping the hardcourt with her singles opponent, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 2 position. At No.1 singles, Penn junior Shubha Srinivasan swept Pille Arike in straight sets, 6-3,6-2. Though Srinivasan predicted her victory early in the match, Arike was no easy opponent. "She was very consistent," Srinivasan said. "I had to wait for the right ball [to get points]." Penn sophomore Jolene Sloat played No.3 singles and handily defeated Evelyn Macko, 6-1,6-1. Penn's Louani Bascara and Rochelle Raiss also easily won their matches at No. 5 and 6 singles, respectively. Not all of the Quakers had such easy matches, though. Penn senior co-captain Elana Gold lost her first set in disappointing fashion but rebounded to eke out a hard-fought three-set victory. "[Elana] picked it up after the first set and realized she was better than the other girl," Penn junior Lenka Beranova said. "She fought her way through with her mental toughness." After winning all six of the singles matches, Penn had already clinched the match but still had three doubles matches to play. The Quakers won the doubles point after the duos of Beranova and Raiss and Srinivasan and Niki DeCou won their matches, 8-3 and 8-4, respectively. Beranova recently began playing with Raiss, a transfer from UCLA. She believes their individual strengths complement each other extremely well. "She and I make a great team," Beranova said. "We have the same level of intensity. We're like one when we're out there." Srinivasan believes a strong start helped her and DeCou in the end, when their opponents began to make tougher shots. "It's very important to play intense at the beginning," Srinivasan said. "Tennis is all about intensity." At No.1 doubles, the pair of Pozdniakova and Bascara faced the Pirates' Arike and Judy McAuley. Though Pozdniakova and Bascara kept their opponents racing around their end of the court and made a number of tough shots themselves, the Pirates tandem eventually won the battle, 8-6. "We had a lot of chances we didn't capitalize on," Pozdniakova said. "We made some mistakes we shouldn't have, but it gives us something to work on." That the sole Pirate victory was in doubles was no surprise to Seton Hall coach Tracy Zawicki. "We always do better in doubles," Zawicki said. "Doubles is our strength. It's disappointing to lose [6-0] in singles. I know how tough Penn is because we played them last year, but I thought we'd give them a better match in singles. It's upsetting." Penn coach Michael Dowd was surprised that the Quakers won by such a robust margin, especially since the Pirates recently beat Ivy opponent Brown. Dowd believes that even though Penn lost to both nationally ranked Georgia Tech and Clemson last weekend, playing such high-level teams gave the Quakers valuable experience that helped lead them to victory yesterday. "We saw how much we've improved," he said. "We got a lot of confidence today." Both Dowd and Beranova noted the Quakers remained especially focused during their matches yesterday. "It's important to stay focused, even when you're up 5-0, because you never know what kind of player your opponent is going to be," Beranova said. "This match will help us be prepared for the Ivy season, so we can kick some butt."


M. Hoops wins battle inside the paint, pounding Princeton in blowout victory

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Unlike last weekend against Brown and Yale, Penn did not have a huge height advantage against Princeton -- the Quakers' starting five was only one inch taller than the Tigers' starting five. But it sure did not seem that way, judging from Penn's dominance inside last night. For nearly 24 minutes, the Quakers held Princeton scoreless in the paint. Nate Walton's layup 3:47 into the second half was the first shot the Tigers made inside. In fact, aside from a 15-footer by Chris Young in the first half, Princeton had done all its scoring up to that point on three-pointers and free throws. And, in the same time period, 24 of Penn's 34 points had come from the paint. "It's always a plan of ours to go inside first," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. But the Quakers were not the first to test the area around the basket. After winning the opening tip, Princeton fed the ball immediately to Young, their 6'11" center. And, as a harbinger of things to come, Owens swatted the Tigers sophomore's first shot of the game. Penn's Michael Jordan and Ugonna Onyekwe committed turnovers on each of Penn's first two possessions, but the Quakers were indeed able to get the ball inside on offense on their next two possessions. Owens first hit Jordan on a cut for a layup to give Penn its initial two points and scored himself on a three-foot hook over Princeton forward Ray Robins on the Quakers' next trip down the floor. Last month, Princeton forward Mason Rocca almost single-handedly kept Princeton in the game with 16 second-half points when the Tigers and Quakers matched up in Jadwin Gymnasium. But Rocca was in street clothes last night, sidelined with tendonitis in his ankle. And his replacement, Robins, had all sorts of trouble with Penn -- both on offense and defense. Robins scored just two points on the night and was held to a mere 15 minutes of playing time after picking up three early fouls while guarding Owens. Like he did at Jadwin, Tigers coach Bill Carmody had a forward guarding the Penn center. At Princeton, it was Rocca on Owens, while last night, Robins had the difficult assignment of stopping a player several inches taller than him. Carmody, however, did not second guess himself. "I thought it would have been worse the other way," Carmody said. But it was pretty bad for the Tigers anyway. On the night, Owens scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting. And, more surprisingly, the Penn big man showed an uncanny ability to find an open teammate inside, as he dished out a career-high six assists. "I think it's always nice to have that kind of presence in there making good decisions," Dunphy said. "I can't say that that's one of the big fella's strong points, but he certainly did a great job at it tonight." Onyekwe, meanwhile, scored 20 points of his own, including four dunks -- two in a 20-second span late in the second half. Owens and Onyekwe combined for four blocks and three steals, but Carmody did not blame all of his team's shortcomings inside on the Quakers' defense. "We did what we wanted to do offensively," Carmody said. "We just didn't put the ball in the basket. I didn't think their defense bothered us tonight like it did at our place." But whether it was Penn's defense or their own volition, Princeton struggled mightily inside in the first half -- hitting just 1-of-7 shots inside the arc. The second half was a little different inside, as Walton's ability to penetrate and tenacity on the boards helped to close the gap between the frontcourts. But despite Walton's 14 points and nine rebounds in the final 20 minutes, Penn won the scoring battle in the paint, 40-14. "Nate was the only guy that seemed to have life out there," Carmody said. But, like Robins, Walton was hampered by foul trouble and fouled out with 22.7 seconds remaining. The key big man for Princeton was supposed to be Young. But last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year had not practiced in the last four or five days due to tendonitis in his ankle and had a quiet 16 points on the night. "Chris, he has a sore ankle, but he wasn't moving very well in there," Carmody said. That, in addition to Penn's defense, made it hard for Princeton to find their big man in the post most of the game. And when they did find Young, Owens was often there to at least alter his shot. When Owens was not in the game, the Tigers did have some success on the inside, but not nearly enough to make a difference in the end result.


Dancing the night away

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Penn students are running parties Thursday nights at Envy. It's late Thursday night and strobe lights atop the dimly lit dance floor of Envy are pulsating to the rhythms of Pakistani bhangra music, each flash illuminating a party scene rarely matched at Penn. As the music takes an international journey through Latin dance, American hip hop and European house, College sophomore Lourenco Bustani seems to have forgotten the 25 hours of work he and his collaborators have put into creating that moment. "Seeing 900 people dancing together to Pakistani music or European trance and appreciating it all," Bustani said. "That's when our work pays off." Bustani belongs to a partnership of Penn students, known as Pachanga and Le Monde, that has broken into the Philadelphia club scene by throwing a series of increasingly successful Thursday night parties at the Olde City nightclub Envy. Since October, the group has hosted six parties -- each of which have lifted hordes of Penn students away from Thursday night cocktail parties and transported them onto the dance floor of one of the most popular clubs in the city. For Bustani and the rest of Pachanga and Le Monde, that's precisely the point: To work to bring together as wide a variety of students as possible. "We want to give Penn something different to do, acquaint the students with different cultures and bring together different groups at Penn. We think throwing parties is the way to do that," Bustani said. The crowds initially came through word-of-mouth, with the students' circle of friends bringing their friends, who, in turn, brought their friends. Today, with the parties bringing in students with backgrounds ranging from Pakistani to Latin American and everything in between, the question is not how many will come but how many will be left at the door. Bustani said he even had to turn away 300 people at a recent party. The focus on diversity is hardly lost on the partygoers. "The mix of music -- Latin, European, American -- it represents what Penn is like: A mixture of different cultures," College freshman Jonathan Fernandez said at a recent party. According to the organizers, one of their biggest challenges is avoiding the boredom factor that can occur when one group puts on party after party without adding variety. So, as a result, Pachanga and Le Monde work to keep the audience on its toes by bringing new attractions, dancers and themes -- a recent party was titled "Climax," for instance -- to their events. The fact that the number of people attending their parties has steadily increased from each party to the next is, the students say, testimony to the effort they put into keeping their events lively. "The last time I came, it wasn't this crowded, so this must be a good party," fourth-year Penn Medical student Noam Harel said as he gazed down at the packed dance floor. Led by Bustani and Engineering senior Andro Nodarse, Pachanga teamed up last fall with College senior Omer Ghani and his group of Pakistani students, Le Monde, to start their venture. Luckily, they had experience on their side. Pachanga was started six years ago by a former Penn student named Carlos De Miguel. De Miguel, as a freshman, noticed that the Philadelphia club scene lagged somewhat behind those of cities like Miami and New York. He decided that a party scene with a touch of international flavor would perfectly complement Penn's social life. Nodarse joined De Miguel during his freshman year, and the two began moving their parties into local clubs. Le Monde started out two years ago with a huge bash at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in 1998. Earlier this fall, the two groups decided to consolidate their resources and tap into the downtown party scene. The newly formed Pachanga and Le Monde went straight for the top by trying to land a gig at Envy. As college students instead of proven Manhattan playboys, they discovered that throwing huge parties downtown involved more than lots of advertising and alcohol. "Many of the clubs don't see a vested interest in working with university organizations," Bustani said. After hours of negotiations, however, Pachanga and Le Monde stuck a deal with the club ownership. They succeeded, perhaps, because some of the students involved had already been noticed by those in the city's club scene. "We saw a party that they threw somewhere else. We loved it when they contacted us," Envy's former Promotional Director Kelly Meddick said. Other then Pachanga and Le Monde, Envy does not allow other groups to regularly throw parties at the club. That the party organizers are able to pack a crowd so eclectic makes it difficult for Envy's owners to refuse a partnership. "It's a more diverse crowd than what we have on Friday and Saturday. It's brought us into different groups? than what we usually get," Meddick said. Pachanga and Le Monde are currently working on their annual Spring Fling Extravaganza, which they hope will solidify their legacy here. "We want to build an institution at Penn," Bustani said. "Penn is definitely a party school. It's the right place to do it."


M. Squash wraps up season

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Last weekend, Penn's top three men's squash players headed to Williams College to square off against this season's best players in the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association Individual Championships. Penn, coming off a fifth-place finish in its bracket at the NISRA Team Championships, sent junior co-captain Peter Withstandley and sophomores John Griffin and Roberto Kriete to the individual tournament. The trio began play Friday morning in Williamstown, Mass. Withstandley, who managed a 5-9 record this season at the No. 1 position for Penn, was matched up against Harvard senior Tim Wyant, the tournament's No. 3 seed. Wyant was selected as an All-American for the fourth time this season. Withstandley fell to Wyant 3-0 in match play this season and was defeated again by the same margin. Withstandley was edged again in the consolation round by national champion Trinity's Rohan Bhappu. Kriete, who competed at the No. 2 spot for Penn this season, faced off against Williams' Win Tangjaitrong, a second team All-American this year. Like Withstandley, Kriete lost his match in three games. A similar fate befell Griffin, losing 3-0 to Harvard's Shondip Ghosh. This loss set up an intra-squad matchup in the consolation round, pitting Griffin against teammate Kriete on Saturday. Griffin, after falling behind Kriete 2-1, came back to win in 5 games. The victory made Griffin the sole member of the Quakers trio to move on past the first round of the consolation bracket. Griffin took the court Saturday against Trinity's Rohan Juneja in what turned into a five-match seesaw effort. Griffin took the first game, 15-9, followed by a second game loss by the same score. They also split the next two games, Griffin winning the first and Juneja winning the second. In the fifth and deciding game, Juneja won the final point at a 14-14 tie to clinch victory and a berth into the next round. In overall tournament play, Princeton's Peter Yik, winner of the Pool Trophy as the season's national singles champion, defeated fellow first team All-American Preston Quick of Trinity to take the tournament championship. Trinity's Jonathan Smith won the consolation bracket.


Double trouble: Two sets of Tigers visit

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Mandy West plays in her final game tonight for W. Hoops For her last practice as a member of the Penn women's basketball team, Mandy West was late. Due to a midterm, the 1998-99 Academic All-Ivy and Academic All-Big Five honoree missed stretching and running some warmup drills with her teammates in preparation for the Quakers' (17-10, 8-5 Ivy League) season finale against Princeton (9-18, 6-7) at the Palestra at 5:30 p.m. West's final Palestra appearance, however, will be about nothing more than pride for the Quakers. Last Friday, Penn entered its final Ivy weekend against Brown and Yale one game behind Dartmouth in the Ivy standings with an outside chance at winning its first-ever title. The Quakers dropped both those games and fell to third in the league standings despite West's valiant efforts, crushing the hopes of a season that had looked bright just weeks before, when the Quakers stood at 6-0 after defeating Harvard to take sole possession of first. Now, West will just be trying to end her two-year Penn career with a win over the Tigers. The senior guard arrived in Philadelphia relatively late in her college career, as she transferred to Penn after spending her freshman and sophomore years at Boston College. "I think it was a great decision," the Quakers second-leading scorer and tri-captain said of her decision to transfer. "I've gotten the best of both worlds, I've had fun with basketball, and I'm walking away with an Ivy League degree. I don't regret my choice at all." First-year Penn coach Kelly Greenberg is delighted to have inherited a player like West. "From day one, she was very receptive to [our coaching staff] and really bought into us," Greenberg said. "And I've always felt very comfortable with Mandy and her humor. I've only been with her a year, and I'm sad." The usually even-keeled West, who broke 1,000 points as a Quaker on Friday night in a loss to Brown, found herself getting a little emotional on the eve of the final game of her collegiate career. "I didn't expect to be sad," she said. "I didn't really expect to be thinking about it that much but, even today, I thought about it." West has made the most of her second and final Ivy League season, though. She has had three 30-point games, the first one against Princeton, in the first game of the Ancient Eight season, when she scored 31 in a 92-82 Quakers win. Her second and third 30-point efforts came this past weekend when she scored a career high 35 at Brown and fell one short of the newly established mark the next night against Yale. "She's playing great right now," Greenberg said. "Saturday night she just flat out took over the game. The AD from Yale came up to me and said that he's never seen a female basketball player like her. I knew he was right. I mean she's just unbelievable." Greenberg hopes that West can take over tonight's rematch against Princeton in the same manner. "This is only my second Princeton game, but I realized in the first one how emotional it is," Greenberg said. "I think they only had one win or something, and it didn't matter. They played harder against us than anyone [had] up to that point. So, I quickly learned what it meant to be Penn-Princeton, that records don't matter, and names don't matter and numbers don't matter. "I think this game is huge for our future and it's huge for Mandy West. All of our underclassmen really have to realize what they have to give [tonight] for Mandy." West's fellow tri-captain, Diana Caramanico, also wants to send West out on a winning note. "This past weekend was really disappointing," Caramanico said. "It sort of left a pit in my stomach, and I'm sure it did for other people on the team as well. I plan on going out on a winning note, especially for Mandy." But what comes after Princeton, after college? "First of all, as a player, I don't know if there's a better shooter out there, and I'm talking in the country," Greenberg said. "I've said it to a few people recently, that if WNBA people aren't looking at her, they're crazy. She'd be a fabulous backup guard on any team. She's in the gym all the time, and she's a great competitor." Greenberg hopes that that competitive edge will be the legacy West leaves with the Quakers. "I hope that? this group of girls will take a large chunk of Mandy West, and I hope that chunk is going to be her fierce competitiveness," Greenberg said. "Even if Mandy was playing against that water bucket, she'd want to beat it." West attributes a great deal of her success this year to the fact that she rediscovered her love of the game after playing for Greenberg and her staff. She also has reconsidered attempting to play professionally. "Last year at this time, if you'd said you'd pay me this much money to play, I would've said no," West said. "I was ready to just sort of take my last year of playing and move on with the next aspect of my life. This year has really changed everything, and it's brought back my love for the game. I'd love to play for a couple of years before going back to school." However enticing she finds the prospects of a pro career, West has concentrated on enjoying the time she has left as an amateur. "My biggest goal this season was to have fun," West said. "That, I've accomplished. These coaches are so much fun to play for, and playing with these guys has been awesome. "I really haven't focused too much on [going pro], especially during the season. I really do hope to play next year, I'm not sure where I'll end up," West said. "I'm not depending on the WNBA, but to go overseas, really to play anywhere, would be great."


Perspective: Time stands still at the Palestra

(03/07/00 10:00am)

John McAdams, the Palestra's public address announcer, makes a living with his voice. For 19 seasons, he has been a fixture at the mike, reminding fans that the Palestra is "college basketball's most historic gym." But even McAdams' smooth voice quivers just a little bit when he recalls his first impression of the Palestra in 1956. "Wow! You look up at the ceiling, and you say, 'What a place!' You walk in there, and you just look around, you see everything -- the big high ceiling, the scoreboard, the stands?. Wow." Almost a half century later, little has changed. It's 11:45 a.m. on a Saturday, seven hours before tip-off, and the Yale team has just filed into the Palestra for its morning shoot-around. Dan Harrell, the Palestra's caretaker, watches the wide-eyed Elis take in their surroundings. The Yale players, five of them freshmen, remove their warmups in a reverent silence. "I can tell when an Ivy League team comes in if they're young," says Harrell, 56, who has worked for Penn since '89. "Because when they walk in, the players look up. They look around and they know they're someplace special." As the fifth-oldest gym still in use, the Palestra doesn't have the distinction of being the dean of college arenas. With a capacity of 8,700, it's hardly the biggest facility. It doesn't have luxury boxes or a jumbotron scoreboard or even comfortable seats. What it has, though, is more character than any other arena in the country. And no one challenges McAdams when he calls it college basketball's most historic gym. In its 73 years, the Palestra has hosted more games and more visiting teams than any other gym. It hosted the first NCAA Eastern Championship in 1939 and has since played host to 50 NCAA Tournament games. But mere numbers aren't what makes the Palestra so special. "If you throw that subject, the Palestra, out at people in Philadelphia -- actually at anyone with a connection to East Coast basketball -- they just start to rhapsodize about the place," says Alex Wolff, a longtime Sports Illustrated writer who first became acquainted with the Palestra as a Princeton student in the late '70s. "Everybody just feels they have a piece of the building?. Everybody has warm feelings about the place." Talk to anyone who has played or coached in the Big 5. To anyone who grew up within a trolley ride of Penn and spent their winter evenings at Palestra doubleheaders. You hear the same thoughts, the same warm feelings. "I don't think there's any question that it's magical and special," Penn coach Fran Dunphy says. Dunphy often brings the key to the Palestra with him when he speaks to groups. "I'll say how fortunate I am to have this [key] and that the Palestra is my place of work every day -- that's very special." "It's the best building in college basketball," says St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, a native of Southwest Philly. "I know that people would say Cameron [Indoor Stadium at Duke] and Pauley Pavilion [at UCLA] and places like that, but to me, [the Palestra's] synonymous with a noise level that doesn't exist anywhere else." With its arched ceiling and huge rafters, the Palestra has been likened to a giant bass drum, where the noise resonates like no place else. "It's so loud, that sometimes you can't decipher if people are cheering for you or against you," says Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky, who captained the 28-1 Penn team of '70-71. "It's loud and it's ricocheting off the walls and, as a player, it just propels you to be more juiced up and play better. At Big 5 games in particular, when the crowd is split down the middle, the noise is incessant. "When it's right, and both teams have their share of the crowd, you have noise the entire time," Martelli says. "It's really spectacular. I've never been anywhere else like that." The Palestra served as the exclusive home of the Big 5 and its doubleheaders -- synonymous with streamers, roll-out banners and city bragging rights -- from 1955 to 1986. The rivalry between Penn, Temple, St. Joe's, La Salle and Villanova thrust Philadelphia into a role as the nation's leading basketball city, with the Palestra as its focal point. In 1986, the five schools signed a 10-year pact continuing the round-robin but with a catch -- games would be held at each school's respective gym, closing the book on a storied chapter of the Palestra's history. In 1991, the dagger was driven deeper into local hearts when Villanova successfully petitioned to halve the schedule, ending the round-robin. "It's unfair to students today that they've never been to a Big 5 doubleheader at the Palestra," Harrell says. "Sometimes you have something, you don't realize how lucky you are until it's gone." Through it all, though, the Palestra stood like a portal to another era. Times changed, but the gym stayed the same. Whenever two Big 5 schools tangled at the Palestra, the magic would return, at least for a night. Last May, however, area fans erupted at the surprise announcement that the Big 5 would return to a full round-robin. While the Palestra only sees a share of the games, many view the rebirth of the Big 5 as a victory for everything the Palestra stands for, a reaffirmation of an era when local rivalries were more important than TV contracts, conference requirements or 20,000-seat-arena gate receipts. "['Nova] came to find out that you can play a Big East schedule and play in all these big arenas and be on TV all the time," Wolff says, "but there's nothing like coming into that building on a cold winter's night, making the walk over from 30th Street Station? and being in there for a couple hours and getting that energy." It is that energy that lured Wolff to the Palestra from Old Nassau as an undergraduate. "I was so taken with the place that I would come down from campus, the way if you go to school in New Jersey you can either go to New York and to a jazz club or to Philly and to a college basketball game in a temple, in a cathedral." To thousands, the Palestra serves as both a fan-luring mecca and a shrine to another era, of both basketball and America. Martelli chalks up his days taking the trolley to doubleheaders as a different age, when "parents could trust they could send their kids somewhere, and everything was going to be alright and you were going to get home safely." The Palestra stands as a time capsule in a changing world. A mere glimpse of the building is enough to send shivers down the spine. "As bad as things get in your life, you come here and you feel young again," Harrell says. "Things aren't as bad." So many great games have been played at the Palestra that picking one as most memorable is impossible. But ask anyone who has spent more than a few evenings on the Palestra's wooden bleachers and you'll be met with a flood of stories that make no mention of final scores. "It's every moment," Harrell says. "It's game time, when you can feel the place come alive. It's just a feeling." Martelli laughs when he thinks about a game between the St. Joe's Hawks and the Fairfield Stags in the mid-'60s. "Some friends of mine and I were running up and down in the portals, and we went near the Fairfield student section and started yelling, 'What the hell's a Stag?!' A couple of college students who'd had a few libations before the game ran down and started chasing us -- these college guys were chasing seven sixth-graders through the corridors of the Palestra. That's something that I will never forget." Jack Scheuer, an Associated Press writer, has been getting paid to watch games at the Palestra for 40 years -- he used to read Bob Vetrone's copy back to the Evening Bulletin for $2.50 a game. "I thought I was overpaid, I loved being there so much." Scheuer is still amazed by a pre-game shooting performance he saw over 30 years ago. As fans counted audibly, Princeton's Bill Bradley hit 22 -- or 26, depending on whom you ask -- straight jumpers. Wolff loves the bomb scare story. The capacity crowd was evacuated prior to a game in 1965, but immortal play-by-play man Les Keiter continued reporting from an empty gym. "It was almost like the captain refusing to abandon ship -- he was going to go down with the thing," Wolff says. "That's part of the Palestra legend -- there are all these wonderful stories you don't hear about any other building." They are the stories that make the Palestra into what Harrell calls a "living museum." They are part of what makes it the most quintessential of college gyms, the pulse that makes this building so different from the flashier new arenas that appear more suited to professional teams than college ones. At 73 years old, the Palestra is very much still alive. "That's the heartbeat right there -- it's a living thing, this building, when the basketball bounces," Harrell says, hearing the echoes from the court reverberate through the gym. The Palestra is frequented by a stream of former players and old fans. They walk the concourse and peer into the dusty trophy cases. They climb the bleachers. They tell stories to their children or grandchildren of what it's like to watch a game on a cold winter night, a feeling that Wolff describes as "human electricity passed from elbow to elbow" when 9,000 fans are shoe-horned into the bleachers. Harrell sees it every time an ex-player comes back. "You can just tell when a guy comes in, if he played here," he says. "And I never bother them, because they're 20 years old again." As much as the old place is alive, Harrell swears that there are spirits at the Palestra. "She's seen one of the ghosts down here," he says, holding a picture of his daughter Erin, 17, a basketball player at West Catholic. "She was shooting here one day and said, 'Daddy, I always thought you were kidding me, but I looked over and there was a guy in a plaid shirt. I shot and looked back and he was gone, but I know he was there.' So ever since then she believes me. It's true though." Mostly, though, the spirits make themselves felt and heard but not seen. Tony Crossen, an electrician who has worked at Penn for 39 years and at the Palestra for 25, agrees with Harrell. "If you're walking through there at night you can swear that you hear somebody walking behind you or somebody talking or a crowd noise. It's definitely haunted." Still, Crossen can point to a few explanations. Renovations to the Palestra altered the air flow of the original design, creating a circulation problem that causes doors to slam and the concourse, on occasion, to howl. "You can feel the strong wind," Harrell says. "To me, that's like the spirit of the building trying to get back to where it was." Walk through the front doors of the Palestra, past the lobby and into the main concourse. Adjust your eyes to the dim lighting, soak in the musty smell of concrete and wood, of floor varnish and sweat, of basketball -- 70 years of basketball. Look at the dusty photos. Stare through one of the portals and look up at the iron rafters, the sky blue ceiling. But don't enter the gym. Turn to the wall on the front concourse, where there is an old bronze plaque. It reads: "To win the game is great? To play the game is greater? But to love the game is greatest of all?" On paper, it's the kind of saying that sounds a little too mawkish to inspire awe. But hanging on the wall of the Palestra, it makes your pulse quicken and your throat well up. The Palestra is not nearly so much about basketball as it is about collective emotion, about the stories and memories of generations of fans who have shared a love for an old mass of concrete and steel. "This is home to a lot of people. Somebody wrote a book years ago that you could never go home again -- you move on in life and you can never go back to the old neighborhood. But you can come back to the Palestra," Harrell says.


Rewriting the books

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Point guard Michael Jordan will play the final home game of his illustrious career tonight at the Palestra. There will be no comebacks for this Michael Jordan. There will be no more games at the Palestra. And unlike teammate and fellow senior Frank Brown, Jordan will have no fifth year of eligibility. Instead, when the final buzzer sounds after tonight's Penn-Princeton game, Quakers senior Michael Jordan will make his final postgame trek to the Palestra locker room. Except for the NCAA Tournament, his storied career at Penn will be over. But what a career it's been. Jordan's name is now a staple in the Penn record books. He is in the top five in school history in career points, three-pointers attempted, three-pointers made, assists and steals. But, somehow, those numbers fall short of revealing Jordan's true legacy. To get a better idea, let's go back to the 1996-97 season, Jordan's first in a Penn uniform. The Quakers were just a shell of the team that had won the previous four Ivy League championships. Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney -- two future NBA players who made up one of the top backcourts in Penn history -- had graduated in 1995. Without them, the remaining Quakers posted a less-than-stellar 17-10 record the next year. While that team was good enough to share an Ivy championship with Princeton, the vacuum of graduation would suck away the rest of the players that made up the dominant Penn teams of the mid-'90s. Into this untested roster came Jordan. He was viewed by many as the next Jerome Allen -- a little less athletic, a little more skilled. He was the guy who was supposed to carry the torch of Allen and Maloney, a torch held briefly by Ivy League Player of the Year Ira Bowman in '95-96. And Jordan did carry that torch. Sure, his hold on it was tentative during his freshman year, when Penn finished fourth in the league and two games under .500 overall. Sure, he may have nearly dropped it a few times in his 17-12 sophomore season. But Jordan kept that torch burning, and now his team has been able to brand two Ivy League titles into the record books. Back in April of 1996 -- five months before Jordan arrived at Penn -- his high school coach, Abington Friends' Steve Chadwin, gave Jordan possibly the highest praise a point guard can receive: "His best attribute is that he makes his teammates better," Chadwin said. And, time and time again, that became evident in Jordan's four years with the Red and Blue. True, Jordan will lead the team in scoring for the third consecutive year. But, more demonstrative of his impact on the team, Jordan will also top the team in assists for a third straight time. One gets the feeling that, if he needed to, Jordan could score 25 points a game. But instead, Jordan plays the role of distributor on offense and tenacious defender on defense. "There's stretches every single game we played here where he strapped the rest of the team on his back, scored a few baskets in a row or hit the shot we needed," Penn center Geoff Owens said. And Jordan is never more in his element than in the final minutes of the game. "When it comes crunch time and we need a tough basket, we're probably running everything through him," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. But running everything through Jordan most often means that the Quakers point guard isn't the one taking the shot. While Jordan's slashing layups certainly are a large part of his game, more often, visions of Jordan drives and kick-outs to fellow senior and backcourt mate Matt Langel for a three-pointer will dance in the heads of Penn fans when they recall the Quakers' No. 23. Langel, too, will see his final action on the Palestra floor tonight. For four years now, his lethal outside shot has been the dagger for many a Penn opponent, as the Quakers' guard stands just two three-pointers behind Garret Kreitz for second all-time in Penn history. Langel will close his career with well over 1,100 points, a 40 percent three-point percentage and a place in one of the best backcourts to wear Penn's Red and Blue. Debates will rage over which duo was the best since Steve Bilsky and Dave Wohl graced the Palestra court 30 years ago, but Jordan seems to give the nod to his predecessors. "What'd they [Allen and Maloney] win, three championships together?" Jordan said. "We only have two." That, in a sense, sums up Jordan's definition of success. He'll be first team All-Ivy League for the third consecutive time and seems a lock to be Ivy Player of the Year, but Jordan is the first to dismiss his individual accomplishments. "All that stuff is all well and good and fine, but I just want to focus on going 14-0 and all the team goals," Jordan said. In many ways, Jordan has been married to this team since his first practice with the squad three and a half years ago. With his arrival came lofty expectations -- expectations that he would be the man to lead Penn back to the Big Dance. "For anybody to do what he has done, in terms of coming in and basically being a significant other from day one, is not the easiest thing to do in anybody's program," Dunphy said. When things have gone right for Penn these last four seasons, Jordan has often received the majority of credit. When things have gone wrong, the Philadelphia native has taken more than his share of the blame. However, Jordan tends to downplay his impact to Penn basketball. "I'm just a member of this team," Jordan said. "I didn't carry the team." But most would agree that the Quakers would have much less of a chance of celebrating back-to-back championships without Jordan at the point. "[Jordan] was a star in every sense of the word -- his personality, how he played on the court," Owens said. "He's just someone that will be sorely missed around here." But Jordan will not be the only player stepping foot on the Palestra tonight for the last time in a Penn uniform. Langel and Brown -- who has scored 404 career points himself -- will also be playing their last Palestra home games. "[Today is] not a fun day for me," Dunphy said, "see[ing] those guys walk out there and represent the last time they'll be playing in a Penn uniform at the Palestra."


W. Lax starts season with W&M; scrimmages

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Ask any member of the Penn women's lacrosse team how she felt when first taking the field against Old Dominion on Saturday and she will give you the same answer -- nervous. The game was just a scrimmage -- the first of 11 the Quakers would play over the weekend at the College of William and Mary -- so it had no bearing on records or statistics. Still, there was plenty riding on the 25 minutes of competition. It was Penn's first game under new coach Karin Brower, and the team's first chance to turn things around after last season's disappointing 1-12 performance. "I think that going out there everyone was a little nervous that we weren't going to play well and that our confidence would be shot," Penn senior tri-captain Brooke Jenkins said. Penn's first-year coach made her debut at her alma mater, the College of William and Mary -- the place where she earned All-America status as a player just eight years ago. "I think she was a little nostalgic. She would be like, 'Oh, this is this and that is that' and she would just go off a little bit," junior goalkeeper Christian Stover said. "It was kind of cool to see things from her perspective since she went to school there and coached there for a little bit." But the Quakers got over their butterflies quickly and defeated Old Dominion, as well as their next opponent, Richmond. Penn's upperclassmen had not achieved back-to-back wins since 1998, with last year's team claiming just one victory against Columbia. Of course, Penn did not look much like last year's squad, with 13 freshmen wearing the Red and Blue and a new coach pacing the sidelines. Jenkins said Brower's style differed from former coach Anne Sage's in several respects. "In the past, we had no coaching on attack," Jenkins said. "[Sage] would just be like, 'Go down there and set up whatever you want,' but [Brower] tells us, 'I want you to run this, this and this,' so it's more structured -- which is good." Brower mostly played her starters in the first two contests, but by the third game against Shippensburg, every member of the Quakers was getting into the action. In fact, Brower put out freshmen-only teams for several of the scrimmages. "They really didn't play timid," Stover said. "Maybe in the first couple minutes of the first scrimmage they did, but then they came out completely dominat[ing] over people who have had more experience then they've had." One freshman really made a name for herself -- literally. Crissy Book from Coatesville, Pa., defended her opponent so closely that Penn's assistant coach Amy Sullivan started calling her 'the White Shadow.' "I guess [the White Shadow] is a cartoon or something," Penn senior tri-captain Lee Ann Sechovicz said. "[Book] would come out of nowhere and get the ball away from her player every single time. She'd either intercept it or take it away from her." Brower described Book as deceivingly fast and very composed with the ball. Judging by Sechovicz's reaction to the freshman's play, Book just might have deceived her own teammates before last weekend's showing. "She'd started to come out in practice, but we never saw her full-force like that before," Sechovicz said. Jenkins' performance was another promising sign for Penn. The senior, who tore her ACL playing field hockey last season, said that her knees held up throughout the whole weekend of competition. "She had a little problem mobility-wise defending the clear, but she knows where to go, and she came up with a lot of balls just from being in the correct position," Brower said. With such a young squad, Jenkins' on-field presence will be crucial in leading the Quakers attack this season. "The upperclassmen have been here, so they know how to push us along," freshman Kate Murray said. "Offensively, I look up to [Jenkins] because she knows a lot about college-level play." Brower said that even though the Quakers successes were "off the record" last weekend -- from the initial wins to the final victory over Division III powerhouse The College of New Jersey -- there was still much to gain from the scrimmages. "I think the best thing is that they came back with a little bit of confidence. They came back believing that all of the hard work they've been doing is going to pay off eventually," Brower said. "That was really positive. I think they feel they're ready to take on their first game." The Quakers' season officially begins on March 14 when they face American University in Washington, D.C.


Three W. Track stars place 10th at ECACs

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Bassey Adjah, Ruthie Neuhaus and Liz Eittels finished highly in their respective events. The four members of the Penn women's track team who qualified for the ECAC Championships headed to Boston to take on some fierce competition in the final meet of the indoor season. Senior Ruthie Neuhaus, juniors Ami Desai and Bassey Adjah and sophomore Liz Wittels met the difficult qualifying standards in their events during the season to earn the right to compete in the prestigious meet. Neuhaus, Adjah and Wittels each took 10th place in their events. Desai came in 24th place in the pole vault. The previous weekend, Penn competed in the two-day Heptagonal Championships. Having the ECACs, the only other two-day event of the season, right after Heps undoubtedly left the Quakers athletes a little fatigued. "This was sort of like the calm after the storm," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. "Those girls all had great Heps, and it was really difficult to have to come back and compete in another two-day event the next weekend." Tenisci believes that mental rather than physical fatigue might have hurt the squad the most. "We definitely weren't as charged up and as energy-packed as for Heps," Tenisci said. "They were on the other side of their emotional peak, so it was very hard to get yourself motivated to try and gear up for another performance." Neuhaus, the only competing Penn senior, recorded a leap of 37'11.5" in the triple jump to place 10th, while Wittels turned in a jump of 10'11.75" for her 10th-place finish in the pole vault. Neuhaus might have placed higher in the event were it not for a botched landing on one of her jumps. "Ruthie jumped really well, but she had a bad landing on her third jump," Tenisci said. "She could have advanced if that had not happened." Adjah turned in a personal record of 18'7.75" in the long jump. There was, however, some controversy over the measurement of one of Adjah's jumps. "We thought that they might have measured one of my jumps wrong," Adjah said. "A lot of people said that it looked like my best jump, but that's not how they measured it. There obviously isn't anything I can do about that now, so I'm kind of just forgetting about it." Hopefully for Penn, Adjah, Wittels and Desai, who are all planning to return next year, gained some valuable experience from competing against such a skilled field. "I thought that it was a great experience to see what the next level is all about," Tenisci said. "It was a real honor to be in that group, and our kids just went out there and did their best." With the indoor season complete, the team's attention now turns to the upcoming outdoor season. The Quakers will have a break of several weeks before the outdoor season's first meet on March 26. "We really don't have any time to rest right now," Adjah said. "With spring break coming up, we need to take advantage of all the time that we have."


Double trouble: Two sets of Tigers visit

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Having already clinched the Ivy League championship, M. Hoops hopes to cap a perfect league slate tonight. When the men's basketball teams from Penn and Princeton meet for the 202nd time tonight at 8 p.m., the fact that the Quakers have already clinched their second straight Ivy League title and trip to the NCAA Tournament goes right out the Palestra's ancient, paint-covered windows. The Quakers (20-7, 13-0 Ivy League) know that the Tigers (19-9, 11-2) will come with everything they can muster and that a Red and Blue win will bring something that Penn's senior trio of Michael Jordan, Matt Langel and Frank Brown have never experienced -- an undefeated season in the Ancient Eight. "It's nice to have won the championship," Langel said. "But being undefeated in the Ivy League has been a goal of ours from the beginning of the year." The Penn Class of 2000 has history on its side. Tonight marks the eighth time since the inauguration of official Ivy play in 1956-57 that Penn and Princeton have met in the final game of the regular season when one of the teams has already clinched the title. The league champion has emerged victorious from each of the seven previous meetings. That fact is somewhat misleading, however. On March 3, 1998, the last time this scenario came about, the roles were reversed and coach Bill Carmody's Tigers sported a near-perfect 26-1 record and a staggering No. 8 national ranking. Penn was 17-11, 10-3 in the Ivies and, on the surface, an obvious underdog. Forty minutes of basketball later, the score was knotted at 66. It took Princeton an overtime period to finally put the Quakers away, 78-72. What was supposed to be a coronation turned into a mutiny, further reinforcing the fact that the drama of this 97-year-old rivalry transcends wins, losses and league championships. "You can never call a Penn-Princeton game meaningless," Penn center Geoff Owens said. "You can almost throw out any incentive, any NCAA Tournaments, the Ivy League championship? and it's still going to be seriously intense." Penn currently boasts a 15-game winning streak -- the second longest in the nation -- and has won 20 consecutive Ivy games, dating back to a calamitous 50-49 collapse at the hands of the Tigers on February 9, 1999, at the Palestra. There have been a few shaky moments along the way in this Ivy campaign, the most notable of which was Penn's narrowest of wins at Harvard, 62-61, on February 26. Still, the Quakers, who have pretty much been healthy throughout, have tripped but never fallen. The Tigers, on the other hand, were decimated by injuries earlier in the season. With their second-leading scorer, freshman swingman Spencer Gloger, and sole senior, Mason Rocca, out of the lineup, the Orange and Black fell to lowly Yale, 44-42, before facing Penn for the first time. A 55-46 Quakers victory gave Princeton its second Ivy defeat and virtually sealed their bridesmaid status. Since that loss at Jadwin Gymnasium on February 15, the Tigers have disposed of their Ancient Eight competition in very convincing fashion. Princeton has beaten each of its six subsequent Ivy foes by double digits. The Tigers average margin of victory in this span is 21.5 points, compared to just a 14.7 average margin for the Quakers. Even if this is all too little, too late for Princeton, the Tigers' recent exemplary play makes tonight's Penn senior night all the more intriguing. Although fifth-year senior Brown was part of a 1995-96 squad that managed to beat the Tigers at home, Jordan and Langel have yet to notch a Palestra victory over Princeton. Tonight's game gains added significance because of this string of bad luck. "We would like to go out on a positive note," Jordan said. "I'm gonna miss playing college basketball. I'm gonna miss playing with these guys. Obviously, this is going to be a special night." The past decade of this rivalry has not been kind to the home team, however, as the visiting Ivy power has won 11 of the last 19. Still, this crop of Quakers has a better chance than most to break the mini-slump at home. Jordan sits comfortably in third place on the all-time Penn list with 1,571 points and is second in career assists with 463. Meanwhile, Langel has compiled 1,169 career points and has a very good chance to move into 19th position tonight, as he needs just 11 points to move past Paul Romanczuk. In addition, with just four three-pointers, he can tie Garett Kreitz at second place with 199 treys. Brown, who is ending his five-year Penn roller-coaster ride in style, is also coming off a 16-point barrage in the Quakers' victory over Yale this past Saturday. Barring an NIT bid for the Tigers, tonight will mark Rocca's final contest in a Princeton uniform. The rough-and-tumble big man was able to play 33 minutes against Penn in February, scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, but has played a grand total of 28 minutes since then. Youth will complement the outgoing experience of both of these teams tonight as well. Particularly interesting will be the showdown between Gloger (12.1 ppg) and Penn's Ugonna Onyekwe (11.2 ppg), two of the league's premier rookies.