Jason Guarente (@JasonGuarente)
Penn’s women’s basketball players are anxious to return to the court after sitting out last season because of COVID-19. Their first chance will be November 14.
The school has announced its 13-game, non-conference schedule. It features six games at the Palestra and matchups against Big 5 rivals Villanova, Saint Joseph’s, La Salle, and Temple.
Mike McLaughlin (above) and the Quakers put out their full 2021-22 schedule this week. (Photo courtesy Penn Athletics)
"Our players have waited a long time for this opportunity, so you can expect the level of energy and enthusiasm to be at an all-time high across the board,” coach Mike McLaughlin said in the press release. “We have a great slate of non-conference competition this season and are always looking forward to another competitive year in the Big 5."
The opener is on the road against Hartford for the second meeting between the programs. The Quakers defeated the Hawks two years ago.
The squad’s home opener occurs two days later, against Division III King’s (Pa.), followed by a trip to St. Francis (Brooklyn) Nov. 18, and a matchup against Villanova at the Palestra, Nov. 22.
Penn ventures west for the Loyola Marymount Tournament Thanksgiving weekend, contests that feature matchups against UC San Diego and Memphis on Nov. 26-27.
The next four games include some local rivalries and a clash with a powerhouse, as the Big 5 slate continues against La Salle Nov. 30 and Saint Joseph’s December 7 at the Palestra. Those games are sandwiched around a visit to Bucknell, Dec. 3, and a home encounter with Duke, Dec. 5.
Penn’s non-conference schedule concludes with matchups at Stony Brook, Dec. 10, at Morgan State, Dec 30, and home against Temple, January 11. Penn and Temple have split their last 10 meetings.
By the time the Quakers run into the Owls, the Ivy League will have returned to action for the first time since March 2020.
The Quakers, who finished second behind undefeated Princeton two years ago and have posted at least 20 wins seven times in 11 seasons, play each of its seven league rivals home and away.
Additionally, five of Penn’s first six Ivy League games are on the road, starting with a visit to Brown January 2. The one home game during that stretch is a showdown with Princeton Jan. 17, while six of the final eight league games are at the Palestra with the season concluding at Princeton, March 5.
Kayla Padilla, a 5-foot-9 junior from Torrance Calif., returns after being named Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team all-league in 2020. Padilla averaged 17.4 points and shot nearly 40% from 3-point range as a freshman.
McLaughlin is counting on seniors Kennedy Suttle and Mia Lakstigala to take a step into bigger roles. Suttle, a 6-0 forward from Atlanta, started 16 games and played all 27 two years ago. She averaged 4.1 points and 4.7 rebounds. Lakstigala, a 5-11 guard from Naperville, Ill., scored 3.5 points in 6 minutes per game as a sophomore.
“There are pieces here,” McLaughlin told City of Basketball Love this summer. “It’s just now about them taking ownership and letting them go. And I’m really going to be excited about what that looks like.”
Lizzy Groetsch, who led North Allegheny to a state championship in March, highlights the incoming freshman class. She was also named Pennsylvania’s Class 6A Player of the Year.
“I would expect Lizzy to come in Day One and make a massive contribution, whatever that may be,” McLaughlin said. “If it’s being a starting player or coming off the bench, I would expect her name to be known pretty quickly. She just has it. She’s a winner and I think she’s the one I’m really excited about right out of the gate.”
Penn has built a tradition of success under McLaughlin, as the Quakers have qualified for either the NCAA or WNIT Tournaments every season since 2013-14.
Penn WBB 2021-22 Schedule
(Game times TBD, * = Ivy League)
Sun., Nov. 14 @ Hartford
Tues., Nov. 16 vs. King’s (Pa.)
Thurs. Nov. 18 @ St. Francis Brooklyn
Mon., Nov. 22 vs. Villanova
Loyola Marymount Tournament
Fri., Nov. 26, vs. UC San Diego
Sat., Nov. 27 vs. Memphis
Tues., Nov. 30 vs. La Salle
Fri., Dec. 3 @ Bucknell
Sun., Dec. 5 vs. Duke
Tues., Dec. 7 vs. Saint Joseph’s
Fri., Dec. 10 @ Stony Brook
Thurs., Dec. 30 @ Morgan State
Sun. Jan. 2, @ Brown*
Fri., Jan. 7 @ Cornell*
Sat., Jan, 8 @ Columbia*
Tues., Jan. 11 vs. Temple
Sat., Jan. 15 @ Dartmouth*
Mon., Jan., 17 vs. Princeton*
Sat., Jan. 22 @ Yale*
Sat., Jan. 29, vs. Harvard*
Fri., Feb. 4, vs. Columbia*
Sat, Feb. 5 vs. Cornell*
Sat., Feb. 12 @ Harvard*
Fri., Feb. 18 vs. Yale*
Sat., Feb. 19 vs. Brown*
Sat. Feb. 26 vs. Dartmouth*
Sat., March 5 @ Princeton*