PHILADELPHIA - Senior Alyssa Baron, freshman Sydney Stipanovich, and head coach Mike McLaughlin, all representing the Ivy League champion Penn Quakers, were named the 2013-2014 Big 5 Player, Rookie, and Coach of the year, respectively. In addition, junior Kara Bonenberger was named second-team All-Big 5 and Baron was a first-team selection for the fourth straight year.
This marks the first time in Big 5 history that a school has swept all three awards. McLaughlin is the first coach at Penn to win Big 5 Coach of the Year accolades, and Baron is the second player in school history to earn four first-team honors and just the sixth player in Big 5 history to do so.
This is the fourth straight year a Penn player was selected as the Big 5 Rookie of the Year. Prior to this stretch, no school had ever produced more than two straight women's Rookie of the Year winners.
All four of Coach McLaughlin's recruiting classes have resulted in the Big 5 Rookie of the Year. Prior to his tenure, Penn had just one Big 5 Rookie of the Year in its entire history (Diana Caramanico, 1997). Baron won the honor in 2010-11, followed by Bonenberger in 2011-12 and Keiera Ray last season.
Baron is the first Penn player since Jewel Clark in 2003-04 to be named Big 5 Player of the Year, and she is just the fourth Penn player to be selected as the city's MVP. She finished second on Penn's all-time scoring list and ninth in Ivy League history with 1,806 career points. She also finished among the top five all-time at Penn in assists, steals, made threes, made field goals, made free throws and free throw percentage. The Miami, Fla., native was named the 2013-14 Ivy League Player of the Year and finished her senior season among the top 10 in the Ivy League in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and free throw percentage.
Baron joins Diana Caramanico (Penn), Angela Zampella (Saint Joseph's), Susan Moran (Saint Joseph's), Marilyn Stpehens (Temple) and Crista Ricketts (La Salle) as the only players in Big 5 history to win four first-team honors.
Earlier this month, Stipanovich became the first player in Ivy League history to win two Player of the Year awards in the same season when she was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. The freshman's 99 blocks were second-most in a season in league history and more than six Ivy League teams. She broke the school single-season record of 72 with eight games to play and became the first Penn player with eight blocks in a game -- a feat she reached three times in her rookie season, including a school-record nine in a win over Harvard on Feb. 1. The St. Louis, Mo., native finished third in the Ivies in rebounding and her 10 double-doubles are the most for a Penn player in 10 years.
Bonenberger also earned second-team All-Ivy accolades this season and finished third in the Ivy League in field goal percentage, fourth in rebounding and sixth in blocks. The Walnutport, Pa., native has started every game over the last two seasons. In 29 games this year, she scored in double figures 18 times and finished with three double-doubles.
Coach McLaughlin remains the fastest coach in women's basketball history (at any level) to win 400 games. He has improved his win total at Penn in each of his five seasons. The Quakers won just two games in his inaugural season but have compiled 11, 13, 18 and 22 wins, respectively, in the four years since.
This season, Penn (22-7, 12-2 Ivy) tied a school record with 22 wins and clinched its first Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth since 2003-04 with a 80-64 win at Princeton on the final day of the regular season. The Quakers won two Big 5 road games in the same season for the first time in school history and matched a program record with two Big 5 wins.
Penn earned its highest NCAA seed in history (12) and led fifth-seeded Texas by seven at the half, before the Longhorns caught up and pulled away late to top the Quakers, 79-61, on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in College Park, Md.
The four Penn award winners will be honored as part of the annual Big 5 postseason banquet on April 14 at the Palestra. Tickets for the Big 5 Banquet are $50 each can be reserved by contacting Steve Crider at 814-935-5015 or at email@example.com.