PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/17/2014 – What a difference four years makes for the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team. Coming off a two-win season this present senior class under the tutelage of Coach Mike McLaughlin started a growing process that culminated with an Ivy League championship and a bid to the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
For the selection show the team celebrated at the Palestra with fans and friends. When their name came on the board, the band played, everyone stood and cheered, and streamers hit the floor. Penn was named a #12 seed and will play fifth-seeded Texas in College Park, MD on Sunday, March 25. The seeding was the highest in program history, and will be their first appearance in the tournament since the 2003-04 season.
The evening was to celebrate the what this team has accomplished. Senior guard Alyssa Baron, the Ivy League Player of the Year, described what the celebration meant to the team. “It’s so meaningful, four years of anticipation that led up to today,” Baron said. “So proud of this team that now we have the chance to go to the NCAA Tournament, have these fans behind us who are going to support us all the way.”Baron led the team in scoring, and is the second leading scorer in program history. Fellow senior Meghan McCullough leads the team in assists. Courtney Wilson, senior forward, is a key front court reserve. Kristen Kody missed the season due to injury, but was still very much a part of the team. This senior class had the most wins of any class. They put together back-to-back 20 win seasons. Last season Penn won the first women’s basketball post-season game. This season Penn defeated Princeton in the final regular season game to earn the Ivy League Championship. Now, they have set a legacy and an example that is not lost on the underclassmen.
“They’ve been a great help,” Stipanovich said about the upperclassmen. “The seniors especially. They’re always there to guide about college life in general, basketball wise, and show us the way.”
Time to got to work. Time to think about Texas. But McLaughlin wants his team to cherish this evening.
“I was more anxious to see the reaction of the players,” McLaughlin said. “I was elated to see their reaction and how elated they were meant more to me at that time.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian