PHILADELPHIA - Senior captain Alyssa Baron was named Player of the Year, freshman Sydney Stipanovich was selected as Rookie of the Year and head coach Mike McLaughlin earned Coach of the Year honors from PhillyCollegeSports.com this week. Baron and Stipanovich were all all-city first-team selections, while senior captain Meghan McCullough and junior Kara Bonenberger garnered all-city third team accolades. Baron was also named first-team Mid-Major All-America by College Sports Madness this week.
Baron is the first Penn player to be named PhillyCollegeSports.com Player of the Year. She was also named the Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year. The Gulliver Prep product 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. A Miami, Fla. native, Baron is a four-time first-team all-city honoree and finished her senior season among the top 10 in the Ivy League in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and free throw percentage.
Stipanovich earned her third Rookie of the Year honor. She received the same award from the Ivy League and the Big 5. The St. Louis, Mo., native finished with a school-record 99 blocks and was also named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. Stipanovich 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. She was also the first freshman in Ancient Eight history to win four Ivy League Player of the Week awards, while her eight Rookie of the Week honors ranks sixth in the league record book. She finished third in the Ivies in rebounding and her 10 double-doubles are the most for a Penn player in 10 years.
All four of Coach McLaughlin's recruiting classes have resulted in the PhillyCollegeSports.com Rookie of the Year. Baron won the honor in 2010-11, followed by Bonenberger in 2011-12 and Keiera Ray last season.
McLaughlin has improved his win total in each of his five seasons at Penn. The Quakers won just two games in his inaugural season but have compiled 11, 13, 18 and a school-record 22 wins, respectively, in the four years since. In addition to the second 20-win season in program history, the fastest coach in women's basketball history (at any level) to reach 400 wins led the 2013-14 Penn Quakers to their first Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth in 10 years. The Red and Blue won two Big 5 games in the same year for just the second time in their history and earned two Big 5 road wins in the same season for the first time ever.
Bonenberger was also a second-team All-Big 5 and second-team all-league selection this season. She 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.
McCullough was one of Penn's most reliable and consistent players throughout the season. She started every game at point guard and finished in the top five of the league in minutes played, including nearly every minute of the last eight games. The Havertown, Pa., native led the Ivy League in assist-to-turnover ratio and finished second in the Ivies in assists. She had an assist in every game and five or more in 10 games.
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, which earned its first-ever win over an ACC opponent at Miami (FL) on Jan. 1, also garnered 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.