PHILADELPHIA - Wednesday marked the opening of women's basketball season at the University of Pennsylvania. The defending Ivy League champions held their first practice of the 2014-15 season inside the John R. Rockwell practice facility.
A very challenging non-conference schedule awaits the Quakers this season.Penn will play nine games against teams that played in the postseason last year, including the season opener at Tennessee, who will likely be ranked among the Top 5 in the nation.
In addition, the Red and Blue are set to play New Hampshire, who finished 19-12 last season, and Hampton (28-5), who lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Michigan State, while also taking a trip to Annapolis to take on Navy, who finished 24-8 last year and reached the WNIT. The full Big 5 slate also awaits the Quakers as does a trip to Drexel for the annual Battle for 33rd Street.
Penn also loses four key seniors, including two starters and the program's second all-time leading scorer. However, the Quakers return nine letterwinners, second-team All-Ivy recipientKara Bonenberger, and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the YearSydney Stipanovich.
Last year, the Quakersclinched their first Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth since 2003-04 on with an80-64 winat Princeton on the final day of the regular season. The Quakers (22-6, 12-2 Ivy) tied a school record for wins in a season and earned the outright championship with the second-best league mark in program history. The Quakers also tied a school record with two Big 5 wins, matched the best two-year stretch in school history with 40 wins (1999-01), earned back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time and garnered the program's best seed at the NCAA Tournament (No. 12). The Red and Blue led fifth-seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by as many as 15 and led by seven at the half before falling 79-61.