Smith, Knapp and Nicholson Named Women's Basketball Captains

PHILADELPHIA - Junior Jess Knapp and seniors Caroline Nicholson and Jerin Smith were named the 2010-11 tri-captains for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team on Wednesday as announced by head coach Mike McLaughlin.

"This is well a deserved recognition for Jerin, Caroline and Jess," McLaughlin said after the team voted on its captains. "This is an honor. It's an honor to be a captain here at Penn and these three are definitely worthy of the title."

Knapp missed her entire freshman campaign due to injury, but returned to start 25 of the team's 28 games last season. She led the 2009-10 Quakers in rebounding (6.8/game), made field goals (72) and blocked shots (40), while also finishing second on the team in scoring (6.7/game). Those numbers placed her seventh in the Ivy League in rebounding and fourth in blocks.

"Jess just has an ability to lead," McLaughlin said of the Carlstadt, N.J., native. "She has the respect of her teammates, her coaches and all her peers. I think she has the ability to be something special in that role. People are attracted to her because her work ethic and commitment is second to none."

Nicholson, a two-year letterwinner, started at center in 26 games last year and has played in a combined 48 games over the last two seasons. As a junior, she finished second on the team in blocks (24) and logged career highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.

Smith played in 27 games last year - she missed one due to injury - and started five of them. She finished second on the team in field goal percentage (38.8%) and rebounding (4.7/game). Smith scored in double digits six times and led the Quakers in scoring in five games. She also led the team in rebounding six times, highlighted by a 15-rebound night at Princeton on March 9. As a sophomore, the two-time letterwinner finished in the top five on the team in scoring, made field goals, free throw attempts and blocked shots.

"Caroline and Jerin have put three years into this program and have dedicated a lot of time and effort," McLaughlin said of his senior captains. "They showed great leadership throughout our preseason this year and I think it just shows the strides they have each made as leaders."

Penn opens its 2010-2011 campaign at The Palestra on Nov. 12 against Bryant. It will mark the first time since the 2005-06 season since the Quakers have opened the year at home. Penn's first road game is a week later against West Philadelphia rival Drexel. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. for both contests.