Philadelphia The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team will welcome a quintet of freshman to the program when classes begin this coming September. All five hail from different parts of the country as the Red and Blue will welcome three forwards and a pair of guards for the 2005-06 season with three of the five freshman topping six feet.
Beginning geographically, Carrie Biemer (Haddonfield, N.J.)will travel just a few miles across the Delaware River from Haddonfield High School to begin her college career. The 6’0” forward is a scorer, amassing 1,471 career points, which ranks her second all-time at Haddonfield. Biemer averaged a double-double her senior season with 19.0 ppg and 10.3 rpg. She registered 21 double-doubles in her final year en route to earning first-team All-South Jersey, first-team South Jersey Group 2 and first-team All-Colonial Conference honors. Biemer, a McDonald’s All-America Nominee, was the top vote getter in the Colonial Conference.
Joining Biemer in the front court and traveling four time zones to attend Penn is Margaret “Maggie” Burgess (Anchorage, Alaska). The 6’2” forward will graduate from East Anchorage High School this spring and brings experience, along with size, to the Red and Blue. Burgess was a member of her varsity basketball team as a sophomore, junior and senior as well as a member of the Alaska Youth Basketball Association (AYBA) team. During her junior season, Burgess averaged 8.96 ppg and 9.79 rpg in 29 minutes per contest. She recorded nine double-figure scoring and 14 double-figure rebounding games in 2003-04. Burgess also registered seven double-doubles during her junior campaign.
Katarina Lackner (Pittsburgh, Pa.)is the third of three forwards that will call The Palestra their home beginning in 2005. Lackner, a 6’2” forward, hails from Pittsburgh, Pa. and attended the Sewickly Academy. She averaged 16.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 6.0 bpg her senior year en route to a first-team All-Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) and third-team all-state selections. During her junior season, Lackner averaged 13.0 points per game and hauled down eight boards per contest. In 2000, she was named MVP of the Wendy’s Classic AAU Tournament. She, along with Burgess, will join rising senior Jennifer Fleischer down low in the post as the Quakers now boast three players over 6’2” in the paint. If Lackner’s name sounds familiar to fans of women’s basketball in the Ivy League, it should. Her sister, Christiana, will be a junior at Harvard next season.
Two guards come to Philadelphia next season as members of the Class of 2009. Maureen “Mo” Mannion (Syracuse, N.Y.) will don the Red and Blue after finishing a highly successful career at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y. This 5’9” guard received All-Onondaga High School League (OHSL) accolades all four years. As a freshman and sophomore, she received honorable mention for All-OHSL and was a member of the program’s first-ever Sectional Championship team in 2002-03. As a junior, Mannion led the team in scoring, rebounds and assists en route to a unanimous first-team All-OHSL nod and the team’s first-ever OHSL championship. Mannion continued her stellar play in her final season as she was a repeat first-team All-OHSL selection.
Anca Popovici (Arad, Romania) rounds out the Class of 2009. The 5’7” guard attended Mount de Chantal in Wheeling, W. Va. but calls Arad, Romania home. Her ball handling and floor vision will be an asset to a team that has shown consistent success with its guards in the recent past and lost four to graduation from the 2004-05 squad.
Under first-year head coach Pat Knapp, Penn finished the season with a 15-12 overall record and an 8-6 mark in the Ivy League. The Quakers faced nationally ranked opponents on various occasions and earned multiple Big 5 victories for the first time in program history.