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PHILADELPHIA - Women's basketball season is officially underway at the University of Pennsylvania. The 2011-12 Quakers began their first set of preseason practices on Monday.
Under third-year head coach Mike McLaughlin, the Quakers return eight letterwinners from a season ago and bring in six new members in the Class of 2015. The group of 15 practiced twice on Monday. They also have another two-a-day on Tuesday before settling in with single practices for the remainder of the preseason.
"This is always the best time of the year," McLaughlin said. "The players worked hard over the summer and were really energized coming in here today. They are in great shape and they did a great job today. I'm really proud of them."
The Quakers lost three seniors to graduation last year, but return leading scorer Alyssa Baron and leading rebounder Jess Knapp. Baron was both the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Big 5 Rookie of the Year last season, as well as All-Big 5 First Team and Honorable Mention All-Ivy selections. Knapp, a team captain last season, had 184 rebounds in 2010-11 and tallied the sixth-best season in Penn history with 38 blocked shots.
The Quakers will begin their 2011-12 campaign on Sunday, Nov. 13 against Saint Francis (N.Y.) at The Palestra. Tip off is at 2 p.m. The schedule is also highlighted by road trips to Notre Dame - the NCAA runner-up last year - and San Diego, for a two-game tournament at San Diego State in late December.