Penn Athletics will be inducting its Hall of Fame Class VIII this Saturday, May 5 at the Inn at Penn. As we prepare for the upcoming ceremony, we will be introducing each inductee over the next several days. Click here to find the original release on all the inductees, from February 22.
Diana Caramanico is quite simply the most dominant women's basketball player in Penn history. Arguably, she may have been the most dominant player in women's Philadelphia Big 5 and Ivy League history.
Caramanico's 2,415 career points still stand as the Big 5 and Ivy League records, and she remains the only men's or women's player in Penn's illustrious basketball history to score more than 2,000 career points.
The first and only All-America in program annals, Caramanico led the Quakers to their first-ever Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament game in 2000-01. In addition, she is one of just seven players in league history to earn first-team All-Ivy honors four times. More than a decade since her final game, Caramanico still holds nine school records and several Ivy League marks while remaining in the all-time top 5 countless other times in both record books.
As a freshman, Caramanico became just the second Quaker in program history to score 500 points in a season -- something she went on to do in each of her final three seasons as well. In addition to her first-team All-Ivy accolades, Caramanico became the first player in Penn history to earn Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors and was also the first Quaker selected as Philadelphia Big 5 and ECAC Rookie of the Year. Her 10 Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards remain the league standard.
A year later, Caramanico was named Big 5 Player of the Year, Ivy League Player of the Year, unanimous first-team All-Ivy, first-team All-Big 5 and second-team All-ECAC -- as a sophomore. She recorded 21 double-doubles in 26 games, set the school record with 333 rebounds, and became the fastest athlete in Penn men's or women's basketball history to record 1,000 career points.
The accolades kept pouring in for Caramanico following her junior season, when she set the current school record with 694 points. She was named Associated Press honorable mention All-America, District I GTE Academic All-America, and District I Kodak/WBCA All-America. Her 24.8 points-per-game average was second in the nation that season. Penn won a then-school record 18 games in 1999-2000 to post the program's first winning record since the 1990-91 season.
In 2000-01, Caramanico's senior season, the Quakers became just the second team in league history to finish with a perfect 14-0 mark in Ivy play. Penn's 22 overall wins that season remain the program's high-water mark. For the third time in her career, she was named Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year. Caramanico scored 607 points in her final season, including 42 against Albany which remains the program's single-game record.
Caramanico is the only Penn player with 1,000 career rebounds (1,207), remains the program's all-time steals leader (210), and is third all-time with 114 career blocked shots. She also holds the school's top marks for field goals in a season (268) and a career (927).
At the time of her graduation, Caramanico ranked seventh on the NCAA Division I scoring list with a career average of 22.7 points per game. She also ranked second on the all-time NCAA Division I rebounding list with a career average of 12.8 per game.
From 2001-03, Caramanico played professional basketball in France. She was the leading Division II scorer in France both years. She was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in 2007.
"Having trained myself to instantly forget all previous actions while playing, I can't say I remember a whole lot of my time on the court. What I do recall is the enjoyment, camaraderie, pride, and sense of warmth that came from the hours spent in the weight room, Weightman, various buses and games, and most importantly The Palestra with my coaches and teammates. The Palestra was my 'Giving Tree,' as being on the basketball team with unlimited access to that wonderful arena afforded me the opportunity to connect and bond with many people (including my now husband, Geoff Owens), excel in my studies, and enrich my college experience immeasurably. I am deeply humbled by this honor and would like to thank all of my coaches (especially Coach Greenberg and Julie Soriero), teammates, Keith Weigelt, strength coaches Wagner and Steel, Sam and the rest of the training staff, all of our managers, and the generous donors who helped provide opportunities for us as players that might not otherwise have been possible. While it was conceivably my actions on the court that have earned this honor for me, I hope that my teammates and coaches will share in it with me as without them I would not have found success. I am most proud to be a member of the first Ivy League championship team in women's basketball. Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their undying love and support, and for providing me with the opportunity to come to Penn."