Penn Wins Ivy League Opener

Mandy McGurk Set Career-Marks in Victory over Brown

January 2, 2023 –

It is now Ivy League schedule games. For the University of Pennsylvania it is fourteen games to qualify for the league tournament. There is little room for error, and the strategy is to get off to a good start and force the opponent to play uphill. That is exactly what the Quakers did in their 74 – 53 win over the Brown Bears at the Palestra.

“We were explaining to the underclassmen what the Ivy League is like, what the atmosphere of the games are like,” senior guard Mandy McGurk pointed out. “We know that each game is going to be competitive. We know we have to win each game if we are going to be competitive in the league and making it to the tournament. Coming off such a strong win here is really encouraging in a competitive league.”

The First Quarter Set the Tone for the Red and Blue

In the opening 10 minutes the Quakers built a 25 – 4 lead that controlled the game. The 4 points allowed are a season-low for the Red and Blue. On offense Penn made 11 of 21 field goals. Most were easy baskets that came from the defense. Brown turned the ball over 10 times. The Red and Blue built an advantage based on an 18 – 0 edge in points off turnovers, coming off 7 steals. Two swipes came from McGurk. The Bears were good on 2 of 11 shots (18.2%).

“I thought it was a good a start that we could possibly ask for,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “We made shots, we defended, we turned them over, we executed, got the ball down the floor. I can’t think of a better start. We played terrific basketball.”

“We had a goal in the first five minutes to take control and set the tempo,” said McGurk. “Our shots were falling, but our effort was outstanding in the first five minutes.”

Mandy McGurk Got the Offense Started

The defense created offense, most of which came from McGurk who scored 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

McGurk rewrote her personal record book in the game as she scored a career-high 28 points on 12 made field goals off 21 shots, which is a collegiate-best. It is the second highest point total scored by a Penn player this season. McGurk had 5 steals which is a season-high for the senior guard. The way the game evolved made it important for her to execute. And the tempo McGurk helped to create played to her strength.

“I think I’m better in transition, and we were all finding each other pretty well in transition,” McGurk said. “I was looking for a gap to penetrate or a gap to get inside and get easy buckets. Playing fast and playing in transition definitely helped me definitely today.”:

Play for Forty Minutes in the Ancient Eight

The largest lead for the Quakers was 30 twice. The first came at 7:05 of the third quarter on a short jumper by McGurk. The final score margin was the same as the end of the first ten minutes. It is quite difficult to maintain such an edge throughout the game. The lesson for the team is be ready to play consistently for 40 minutes. Brown did not roll over. They adjusted and won the second half 34 – 29.

“I thought Brown took back control of the game after halftime,” McLaughlin said. “We got a little tentative and didn’t play as great. Give them credit, they made some adjustments, and I don’t think we adapted as well as we are going to need to.”

Other Numbers

Two Quakers scored in double figures as Kayla Padilla contributed 13 points and Jordan Obi added 12. Forward Floor Toonders took down a game-high 11 rebounds. Penn made 28 of 66 field goal attempts (42.4%), and assisted 21 times on their made baskets. Obi dished a career-high 7 assists. McGurk had 6 caroms, one shy of her career-high.

The hosts won the rebounding battle 44 – 30, and had a 21 – 11 lead on offensive boards.

Brown had two players score in double-digits led by Grace Arnolie with 11 points. Kyla Jones added 10.

Up Next

Penn (8 – 5) is on a seven-game winning streak. Cornell comes to town on Friday and Columbia visits on Saturday. A traditional Ivy Weekend. Brown takes a trip back to New England to play Harvard.

In Memory of

McLaughlin coached with a bit of a heavy heart today as today would have been his mother’s 81st birthday. It is a day of remembrance.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Mandy McGurk

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