PHILADELPHIA – For the third-consecutive season, Mike McLaughlin of the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team was named the Big 5 Coach of the Year. The Big 5 also honored Penn’s frontcourt duo of Sydney Stipanovich and Michelle Nwokedi on Monday, as each were selected to the First Team.
McLaughlin, who just completed his seventh season as Penn head coach, led the Quakers to a program-record 24 wins and the school’s fourth Ivy League title. In addition, the Ivy League Coach of the Year paced the Red and Blue to a school-record 11 non-conference victories and the second-most Ivy triumphs in school history (13).
Penn finished the season with the highest RPI in program history at No. 27, notching seven wins against teams in the RPI Top 100. Most recently, the Quakers earned the highest NCAA Tournament seed in program history at No. 10.
Overall, McLaughlin has helped the Quakers to three-straight 20-win seasons for the first time in history, as well as four-straight postseason appearances. He piloted the Red and Blue to the school’s first-ever Big 5 Championship last season, en route to winning his second-consecutive Big 5 Coach of the Year award.
McLaughlin also posted his 500th career victory in December, as well as his 100th win at Penn in January.
Stipanovich and Nwokedi were nothing short of dominant in the paint this season. The duo managed to finish the season ranked 1-2 in the Ivy League in both rebounds and blocks per game. Stipanovich paced the Ancient in rebounding (10.1), while also being the only player in the League to average a double-double. Nwokedi finished the season as the conference’s blocks’ leader at 2.8 per contest, including a game-high six in the Quakers’ NCAA Tournament contest against Washington.
It was a season of milestones for Stipanovich, who is a Big 5 first-team selection for the second-straight season. Not only did she become the program’s all-time leader in blocks in December, but also scored her 1,000th career against Cornell in February. She also became the first player in Ivy League history to win both the conference’s Player of the Year AND Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season.
Nwokedi was Penn’s leading scorer this season, pouring in 14.0 points per game. She scored in double figures in a team-best 24 games this season, and tallied nine double-doubles. The 2015 Ivy League Rookie of the Year hauled in at least seven boards in all but three games this season.