Penn Quakers

Penn women get No. 12 seed, matchup with Texas A&M in NCAA Tournament

Penn women get No. 12 seed, matchup with Texas A&M in NCAA Tournament

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The giant video board at the Palestra had only just been turned to ESPN when members of the Penn women's basketball team leapt into the air in celebration.

Seeing their school's name flash on the screen early in the NCAA Tournament selection show was certainly a thrill as the Ivy League champion Quakers (22-7) drew a 12-seed and a first-round date with fifth-seeded Texas A&M (22-11) on Saturday (9 p.m./ESPN2).

But perhaps the biggest cheers of all came when players realized that the game will be played at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, after the fourth-seeded and host Bruins face Boise State.

Yup, the Quakers are going to Hollywood.

"L.A.'s my favorite place in the world," star senior center Sydney Stipanovich said from the Palestra floor during the celebration. "We were there earlier this year and we could not be more excited."

Penn made the trip to Southern California around New Year's, beating CSU-Northridge on Dec. 31 and UC-Riverside on Jan. 2 in front of many of the Penn alumni that live in the Los Angeles area.

Head coach Mike McLaughlin is hoping for that same kind of support this weekend.

"There are a lot of Penn alums out there, I know that," he said. "So I'm sure they're excited for us. It's our challenge to figure out how we're gonna get out there at this point with the snowstorm and all that. But we'll worry about that later."

Indeed, the weather might cause some logistical issues as Penn prepares for a cross-country flight. And even though the Quakers flew out there earlier in the season, this kind of travel is not something the program is used to; for their last two NCAA Tournament appearances, they made the short drive to the University of Maryland.

But if this is a daunting challenge, the Quakers aren't showing it.

"I think we're going to be ready," junior forward Michelle Nwokedi said. "No matter what, we're going to be ready."

Nwokedi is a big reason why the Quakers got to this point, winning Ivy League Player of the Year honors after leading Penn in scoring (14.7 ppg), rebounding (9.3 rpg) and blocks (2.8 ppg).

She then was named MVP of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, which the Quakers won Sunday at the Palestra following a 13-1 league record in the regular season.

And Nwokedi, along with Stipanovich, senior point guard Kasey Chambers and junior guard Anna Ross, played a big role in last year's near-upset of Division I all-time leading scorer Kelsey Plum and Washington in the first round of the NCAA tourney.

"We played well against Washington," McLaughlin said of last year's 65-53 loss in which the Quakers led 13-7 after the first quarter. "A lot of those players were on the floor last year. I think maybe that will take away the beginning jitters. But obviously we're going to be [facing] a quality basketball team."

Indeed, while McLaughlin was happy that Penn earned a 12-seed, the opponent will certainly be a tough one as the perennial powerhouse Aggies are one of only eight programs to have qualified for 12 straight NCAA Tournaments.

But the Ivy champs understand that winning in the NCAA Tournament isn't easy. That's why Penn has never done it before -- something the Quakers hope will change a few short days, and 3,000 miles away.

What would it mean for the program, which has risen to the top of the Ivies with three titles in the last four years, to win its first NCAA tourney game?

"Oh my God, it would mean so much," Stipanovich said. "That's what we're striving for. We're gonna give it our all and hopefully we get the first win for our program."

"I can't even put that into words," McLaughlin added. "I know these guys believe they can win a game. And I think it would be amazing."

Penn makes it a perfect 10 against Cornell

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Penn makes it a perfect 10 against Cornell

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AJ Brodeur scored 18 points with nine rebounds and six assists and Penn defeated Cornell 69-61 on Friday night, beating the Big Red for the 10th consecutive time.

Ryan Betley added 13 points and Darnell Foreman 12, including three free throws in the final minute for Penn (11-5, 1-1 Ivy League), which has won six of its last seven.

Stone Gettings scored 20 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds for the Big Red (6-8, 0-1) with Matt Morgan adding 13 points, his 37th straight double-figure game.

After Brodeur opened the second half with a bucket, Gettings scored the next 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to get Cornell within two. A 10-0 run built a 14-point cushion for the Quakers with five minutes left before the Big Red made a final push, getting within four with 53 seconds remaining. Foreman drew a charge in the final minute and made 3 of 4 free throws to ensure the win.

The teams were tied in the first half when Max Rothschild scored four straight points to start an 18-3 run and a 31-16 lead that Cornell cut to 34-24 at the break.

Penn beats Princeton in Ivy League opener

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Penn beats Princeton in Ivy League opener

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Ryan Betley scored 21 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead five players in double-figure scoring as Penn beat Princeton 76-70 in an Ivy League opener on Saturday.

Betley was 8 of 11 including three from distance for the Quakers (10-5). Antonio Woods added 13 points and four rebounds, AJ Brodeur had 12 points and eight rebounds, Darnell Foreman had 11 points and Max Rothschild added 10 points with six rebounds and five assists.

Betley scored 19 points in the first half, helping to lift Penn to a 36-27 lead at the break.

The Quakers led throughout the second half. Princeton cut it to 72-70 with 50 seconds to play but Brodeur sank a jumper after that and Woods drained a pair of free throws to secure the win.

Devin Cannady led the Tigers (7-8) with 21 points. Amir Bell added 12.