PHILADELPHIA - For the first time in school history, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team will take on Tennessee when the defending Ivy League champions open the 2014-15 season at Boling-Thompson Arena on Nov. 14.
"This is a great opportunity for our players and our program," said head coach Mike McLaughlin, who is entering his sixth season at the helm of the Quakers. "I know we are all excited to play a program with such a storied history and tradition."
Penn, which earned its first win over an ACC opponent last year -- and on the road -- at Miami (FL), has never defeated an SEC team, but has a less extensive history with this powerhouse conference. The Red and Blue's only previous SEC matchup was at Florida in the 1993 Lady Gator Classic which the hosts won, 80-49.
Tennessee was the top seed in Penn's region during last year's NCAA Tournament. The Lady Vols (29-6, 13-3 SEC) are the only program to appear in all 33 NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 32nd time before falling to eventual Final Four participant Maryland.
Penn loses four key seniors, including two starters and the program's second all-time leading scorer. However, the Quakers return 10 letterwinners, second-team All-Ivy recipient Kara Bonenberger, and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Sydney Stipanovich.
Last year, the Quakers clinched their first Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth since 2003-04 on with an 80-64 win at Princeton on the final day of the regular season. The Quakers (22-6, 12-2 Ivy) tied a school record for wins in a season and earned the outright championship with the second-best league mark in program history. The Quakers also tied a school record with two Big 5 wins, matched the best two-year stretch in school history with 40 wins (1999-01), earned back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time and garnered the program's best seed at the NCAA Tournament (No. 12). The Red and Blue led fifth-seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by as many as 15 and led by seven at the half before falling 79-61.
Penn's complete 2014-15 schedule will be announced later this summer.