PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team will take to the road this weekend for a couple of Ivy League match-ups, visiting Harvard and Dartmouth.
The Quakers are alone at the top of the Ancient 8 standings right now with a 3-0 mark in the league. Overall this season, Penn is 14-3.
Head coach Mike McLaughlin breaks down his team’s progress to this point in the campaign.
“I think at this point we’ve probably exceeded where I thought we would be,” McLaughlin tells KYW Newsradio. “We played a really challenging non-league schedule, performed really well. We won 11 non-league games, which is really awesome for this group. Two Big 5 wins. So we’ve played good competition. First three games in the Ivy, opening up with Princeton, we had success against them (50-48 win on 1/9). Played very well. We got Yale and Brown at home last week and we had success and we won both of them (68-49 win over Yale, 66-49 victory against Brown).”
Listen to the entire interview with Penn’s Mike McLaughlin:
The Quakers are led by a pair of incredibly talented front court players in junior center Sydney Stipanovich and sophomore forward Michelle Nwokedi. They are both averaging a double-double this season. Nwokedi pours in 14.7 points a night while pulling down 10.6 rebounds. Stipanovich averages 14.2 points and 10.1 rebounds a game.
“They complement each other really well,” McLaughlin says. “Michelle (is) a little longer, very athletic, can score right side, left side. Sydney is just a really difficult person to guard, because she can step away at 6’4″ and make a consistent 17-footer. They’re both excellent defenders. They are really long, they challenge shots.”
Nwokedi and Stipanovich have combined to block 97 shots so far this season in 17 games.
The first stop this weekend for the Quakers will be Harvard on Friday night. The Crimson sit at 8-9 overall, they are 3-1 in the Ivy League.
“Harvard can score the ball,” McLaughlin says. “They like to transition. They’re going to shoot a lot of threes. They like to get up and down the court. I think on the offensive end, we’re going to have to make them work. We’re going to have to try to get into the second, third tier of their defense with multiple ball action and reversals and stuff like that to see if we can get open shots. It’s always a challenging place to play, good atmosphere up there.”
Dartmouth brings a 7-13 record (2-2 Ivy) into the weekend. The Big Green will host Princeton Friday before the Quakers pay their visit on Saturday night.
Penn’s game on Friday against Harvard will tip-off at 7:00pm. Saturday’s game with Dartmouth is a 6:00pm tip.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.