PHILADELPHIA - Following back-to-back 20-win seasons and the program's first-ever Big 5 championship, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team has set up a challenging slate for 2015-16. Entering his seventh season, head coach Mike McLaughlin officially announced the team's official schedule on Wednesday.
"Our goal every year is to make sure we are prepared for the Ivy League," said McLaughlin, who is six wins away from 500 for his career. "It has proven to be one of the toughest conferences in America, and we have to be ready for the challenge. We will be tested in our non-league play, but it will serve us well for Ivy weekends."
Of the 33 conferences, the Ivy League ranked seventh in RPI last season -- only behind each of the power six conferences. The Quakers were second in the Ivies in RPI last year and ranked among the Top 100 in strength of schedule. This season is shaping up to be another challenging campaign for the defending Big 5 champions.
DUKE (Friday, Nov. 13): Duke's first-ever trip to The Palestra and just the second meeting between the two programs ... Blue Devils finished ranked among the top 10 last season and have made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1994-95.
AT UMBC (Sunday, Nov. 15): A rematch of Penn's 69-63 win over the Retrievers at The Palestra last season.
LAFAYETTE (Tuesday, Nov. 17): The two teams match up for the 39th time ... Lafayette leads the all-time series 20-18 and won last year’s meeting in Easton, 60-57, after the Quakers missed a potentially game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (Saturday, Nov. 21): This will be the second all-time meeting between the two teams, after Penn beat the Wildcats at The Palestra last year, 74-39.
COLORADO STATE (Tuesday, Nov. 24): For the first time since 1994 and the third time overall, the Quakers will take on the Rams ... Colorado State, which is making its first-ever visit to The Palestra, won each of the previous meetings, including a 69-50 victory last time out.
NAVY (Saturday, Dec. 5): Penn takes on Navy for the ninth time in program history ... Navy leads the series, 5-3, but the Quakers came away with a 60-51 victory on the road last season.
DREXEL (Saturday, Dec. 19): This is the 26th edition of the Battle for 33rd Street ... The home team has won each of the last six contests.
WAGNER (Monday, Dec. 21): This is the first meeting between the two programs ... The Seahawks are the third opponent visiting The Palestra for the first time.
VS. BYU- Hawaii (Thursday, Dec. 31): The Seasiders and Quakers will match up for the first time.
AT HAWAII (Saturday, Jan. 2): For the second time in program history, the Quakers will take on the Warriors when they travel to Hawaii over winter break ... The only meeting between the two teams was a 77-63 win for Hawaii almost 30 years to the date before the coming matchup.
AT VILLANOVA (Wednesday, Jan. 13): Penn begins its Big 5 title defense against Villanova which has topped the Quakers in each of the last 13 meetings.
AT LA SALLE (Monday, Jan. 18): This is the 43rd meeting between these Big 5 rivals, with La Salle leading the all-time series, 33-9 ... The Red and Blue have won four of the last five, however, including a 57-29 win at The Palestra last season.
AT TEMPLE (Thursday, Jan. 21): For the 47th time, the Quakers will square off against the Owls ... Penn beat Temple in the regular season last year, 52-50, while Temple knocked off the Red and Blue, 61-56, in the second round of the WNIT.
SAINT JOSEPH’S (TBA): Penn earned its second win in 40 all-time meetings with the Hawks last season ... The Hawks have yet to agree to a date to play the Quakers.
The Ivy League Weekends...
January 29/30 – Yale, Brown at The Palestra
*Penn swept this home weekend each of the last two years, splitting it the year before that.
February 5/6 – at Harvard, at Dartmouth
*Penn swept this road trip last year for the first time since 2003-04 and split it each of the prior three seasons.
February 12/13 – Columbia, Cornell at The Palestra
*Penn split this home weekend last year – beating Columbia – but swept it each of the two years before that.
February 19/20 – at Brown, at Yale
*Penn has swept this trip each of the last two years and three of the last four.
February 26/27 – at Cornell, at Columbia
*Penn has swept this trip each of the last three years.
March 4/5 – Dartmouth, Harvard at The Palestra
*Penn has swept this home weekend each of the last three years.
The Princeton Rivalry...
Saturday, Jan. 9 at Penn; Tuesday, March 8 at Princeton
*As is tradition, the Tigers and Quakers will mark the first and last games of the Ivy League season. They will be the 77th and 78th meetings between the last two Ivy League champions.