By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While everyone is following the La Salle Explorers magical run in the NCAA Tournament, it should be noted that they aren’t the only Big 5 squad making postseason noise.
The Penn women’s basketball team has advanced to the semifinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational and on Wednesday night they will visit the Detroit Titans, with a berth in the final on the line.
“It’s a tremendous amount of fun,” Penn head coach Mike McLaughlin tells KYW Newsradio. “The players are just ecstatic to continue to play. We’ve played well down the stretch, we improved from day one to now. We have a lot of momentum right now and we’re going to try and ride it as far as we can.”
Penn is 18-12, they finished third in the Ivy League and so far in the WBI they have defeated Howard and Fairfield. Those are actually the first postseason tournament wins in program history. The win over Fairfield was one for the ages as junior Alyssa Baron buried a three with under a second remaining to give the Quakers a 49-48 victory.
Detroit calls the Horizon League home and they bring a 19-13 record into this game. McLaughlin says they have a special post player in sophomore forward Shareta Brown, who averages 20.4 points and 9.2 rebounds a game
“(She is) Really going to be the key to the game,” McLaughlin says. “She makes everyone around her better. They spread the floor. They do a lot of four out, one in. I think that’s the key match-up right there, can we contain her a little bit? She’s going to score, but we’ve just got to hold the other players back a little bit because she’s that good. They score the ball well. We’re going to have to defend them and we’re going to have to execute on the half court at the offensive end.”
The winner of this game will host the Women’s Basketball Invitational championship game against the winner of McNeese State and South Dakota.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.