PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/13/2017 – The University of Pennsylvania won the Ivy League Tournament one day ago. The team knew they were going to the big dance. The question was where and when? That was answered soon in the selection show. Penn was awarded with the 12th Seed in the Bridgeport Regional. The opponent will be the 5th Seed Texas A&M Aggies. The game will be Saturday night in Los Angeles, CA.
“A 12 Seed is a great accomplishment,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “A twelve seed is respectable for our program. Our league is really good.”
The Aggies (21 – 11) are going to their 12th straight NCAA Tournament with an at-large berth. They went to the Southeast Conference semifinal round where they lost to Mississippi State. The winner of the contest will face the winner of UCLA – Boise State to advance to the regional semifinal in Bridgeport. UConn, Albany, Syracuse and Iowa State also reside in the upper bracket.
That’s in the future.
The Red and Blue will be in the tournament for the third time in four years. Last season Penn was the 10th seed and faced Washington in a first round game in College Park, MD. The Quakers led in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies stormed back to win. Washington made it all the way to the Final Four. Right now, Penn is enjoying the moment.
“We’re so excited,” said senior center Sydney Stipanovich. “We had no idea who we would be playing. To be a twelve seed, going to California, we are going to give it all we’ve got and get the first tournament win for the program.”
Forward Michelle Nwokedi, the Ivy League Player of the Year, leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 15.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Nwokedi recorded double-doubles in 8 of her last 9 games, and has 15 for the season. Guard Anna Ross averages 9.3 per game in scoring and leads the team with 120 assists. Defensively, Penn features Stipanovich who leads the Ivy League in career blocked shots with 315. Out front guard Kasey Chambers will try to disrupt the Texas A&M offense.
The Aggies feature a one-two punch in scoring with Danni Williams at 16.8 and Khaalia Hillsman at 16.2 points per game. The leading rebounder is Anriel Howard who took down an average of 10.4 boards this season.
Texas A&M scores 69.8 points per game while Penn gives up 51.7 on average. Each team will learn about each other and soon.
This year the Quakers point toward taking the next step and get a tournament victory.
“We are coming off a seven game winning streak, we are feeling great and having a lot of fun,” Chambers said. “We have great chemistry. We will see what happens there, but we will prepare as best we can. A win will be great, but it will all be in the preparation.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian