PHILADELPHIA - At the midseason Ivy League women's basketball teleconference Wednesday afternoon, University of Pennsylvania head coach Mike McLaughlin answered questions about the current state of the program.
"Right now we’re off to a slow start, record-wise. As you said, we’re 1-13, so we’re building in the program. We have a lot of avenues that we’re trying to strengthen. The commitment to the program has been strong, and the work ethic has been really strong, as well as the preparation for every game which has improved. Right now, we have a small margin for error if we want to win basketball games, so we’re trying to narrow that. Overall, though, I’m happy with the commitment and where this program is going to go. It’s going to take a lot of work from everyone but we’re certainly up for the challenge."
On The Palestra being as well known in women’s game as in men’s:
"Obviously, in being a part of Philly basketball growing up, I’m familiar with what it meant on the men’s side for every Philadelphia player to play at the Palestra and compete there. On the women’s side, this doesn’t seem to be as strong. That’s one of the avenues, as we move forward in this program, that we can strengthen in the community, particularly as far as what Big 5 Women’s Basketball is and what the Ivy League is. That’s one of our goals because I think that will help us recruit. As we brought in kids from around the country they were not as familiar with the Palestra as I would have hoped, because it’s such a phenomenal place and a great atmosphere. The Penn-Temple game tonight is going to be great and the atmosphere is going to be electric."
On schedule differences between Division I and Division II:
"It’s definitely a different challenge, and I’ve spoken to many coaches at Penn, around the Ivy League, and even some of the seniors on our team about it. I mean, we played Princeton on the 9th and we won’t play another Ivy game for three weeks, and in between we have two Big 5 games and a big gap. That is a challenge. But where we’re at as a program right now, every day is a chance to get a little bit better. We’ve been trying to stay competitive in practice, which I think is the small goal that we have. Right now, I don’t see [the schedule gap] as being a problem for us because we have so much to work on within our program. The program’s excited to move on, we have one more game against Temple next Saturday, then we’ll move on to the Ivy season and it’s going to be exciting."
On differences between Holy Family (Division II) and Penn (Division I):
"I’ve been asked that question many times and I really don’t believe there are a whole lot of differences at this point. We’re still working with players and still teaching and trying to develop a program. Where I was, we had to develop a program and try to keep making it stronger. I still think that we have to prepare our players like we did where we were before, so I don’t really find much of a difference. The Ivy League schedule is going to be a challenge and different for me because where I was we didn’t play back-to-back very often. Overall though, I think that where we’re at and the experiences we have will make us better in the long run."