PHILADELPHIA - For the first time since the 2004-05 campaign, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team was picked to place among the top three in the Ivy League and received a first-place vote in the Ivy Preseason Media Poll released on Thursday. The preseason poll features a select panel of 17 Ivy media representatives.
Penn earned 98 points in the poll - 22 more than last year. Princeton, the four-time defending Ivy League champion, was picked to finish first with 13 of the 17 first-place votes and 130 points. The Tigers were followed by Harvard, which received three of the other four first-place votes and 120 points.
However, for the first time since 2009, the first-place votes were not divided between just those two schools. The final first place vote went to the Quakers. The Red and Blue were ahead of Yale's 91 points, as well as Dartmouth (55), Cornell (52), Brown (45) and Columbia (21).
Under fifth-year head coach Mike McLaughlin, the Quakers return nine letterwinners after a third-place finish a season ago and bring in five new members in the Class of 2017. Penn also returns all five starters from the 2012-13 squad that earned the program's first-ever postseason victory and reached the semifinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational.
Penn's 18 wins last season tied for second-most in program history and the team's nine non-league wins matched the school record set in 1999-00. Penn's 18-13 overall record marked the first winning season since 2004-05 and the team's best record since the 2000-01 team set the school standard with 22 wins.
Just three years ago, Penn was picked to finish last, but has improved its win total each season under fifth-year head coach Mike McLaughlin. Last year, the Quakers were selected to finish fourth in the preseason poll.
The Quakers will begin their 2013-14 campaign on Saturday, Nov. 9 against St. Francis Brooklyn at The Palestra. Tip off is at 2 p.m. The schedule is also highlighted by a pair of ACC opponents with Notre Dame visiting the Cathedral of College Basketball on Nov. 23 and the Quakers heading to Miami on Jan. 1. Ivy League play begins Jan. 11 against Princeton.
2013-14 IVY LEAGUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
First-Place Votes in Parentheses
Rank School Points
1. Princeton (13) 130
2. Harvard (3) 120
3. PENN (1) 98
4. Yale 91
5. Dartmouth 55
6. Cornell 52
7. Brown 45
8. Columbia 21