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From Spoiler to Champion?
The womens basketball team could earn its first
Ivy crown. By Noel Hynd
Keep your eyes on Penn womens basketball
this winter. A new head coach and a large group of veterans could combine
to take Penn to the top of the Ivy League ladder. (Gosh, it would be fun
to see both mens and womens hoops playing in the NCAAs). The
new coach, Kelly Greenberg, is no stranger to Philadelphia. She attended
Archbishop Wood High School and La Salle University, where she captained
the womens basketball team to a 28-3 overall record and led it to
a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1989. Before coming
to Penn, she had been an assistant coach at Holy Cross for seven years.
Greenberg looks to make an immediate impact on the Philadelphia basketball
scene. "I am very proud to return to the city where I grew up," she said
recently. "It is even more exciting to have so many players returning
from last season and a strong class of rookies coming into Penn this year."
The Quakers were picked No. 1 in the Ivy League preseason poll, selected
by the leagues media back in October, which gives Greenberg an extra
challenge. Penn has never won an Ivy crown in womens basketball.
There are reasons for optimism this year, however. Two of them are junior
Diana Caramanico and senior Mandy West.
Caramanico, a former Ivy League and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year,
led the Ivy League in scoring (22.7 ppg) and rebounding (12.8 rpg) last
season. She has also been named a USA Today Preseason Third Team All-American,
an ATHLON Preseason Third Team All-American and a USWBA Preseason Second
Team All-American. She starts her junior season as Penns fifth all-time
leading scorer with 1,114 points.
Mandy West was First Team All-Ivy League last season. She complemented
Caramanicos scoring during her first season at Penn by averaging
19.9 points per game and hitting 64 treys from the point-guard position.
Both players know how to score, but their leadership and ability to teach
others are elements that also figure into this years equation.
In all, seven members of last years team, which finished third in
the Ivies, are returning. Juniors Erin Ladley and Jessica Allen join Caramanico
and West in the starting rotation again this year and look to provide
a more balanced scoring attack. Sophomore Julie Epton also saw major time
last season as a rookie. Epton has a good short-range shot, finishing
her first season as a Quaker shooting 46 percent from the floor and 81
percent from the free-throw line. And behind these experienced players,
there is a talented freshman class.
Putting all these new pieces together will be one of the more challenging
aspects of Greenbergs first season. The Quakers finished strong
last year, winning five of their last six games, including a huge win
at Princeton that forced Princeton to settle for a tie with Dartmouth
for first in the Ivy League. Penn was the spoiler last season. Greenberg
and her squad are looking to take it to the next level this year.
Two issues ago, this column ruminated on the possibilities of league championships
for both football and womens soccerneither of which came to
Still, womens soccer finished 13-3-1 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy
League, finishing in second place. They didnt lose a gameor
even allow a goalall season at home. The team also received its
first-ever invitation to the NCAA Womens Soccer Tournament. They
lost in the first round to the Dukes of James Madison Universityappearing
in their fifth straight tournamentin a 1-0 game that could easily
have gone either way. Look for a return to the NCAAs for an even more
experienced Penn squad next year.
The football team went into the final day of league play with a 4-2 Ivy
record and a chance at a share of the title if (a) they could win their
own game against Cornell at Franklin Field, (b) Columbia would beat Brown
and (c) Harvard would beat Yale. It was a day of bad pigskin karma, however.
As they say in standardized testing, choices (a), (b) and (c) were all
answered incorrectly. Yale and Brown (!!!) both won to share the league
championship, while Penn lost to Cornell 20-12.
The loss overshadowed a record day by Penns quarterback, sophomore
Gavin Hoffman, who completed 24 of 35 passes for 244 yards. He finished
the year with Penn single-season records in completions (183), attempts
(336) and yards gained (2,328 yards). Penn, fourth in the Ivies (4-3,
5-5 overall), also had five players named to the 1999 All-Ivy team: Seniors
Carmelo Rubano, Kris Ryan, Mike Germino, Jim Hisgen and Anthony DeSalle.
Ryan, despite only two carries in the last two games of the season following
an ankle injury, became the sixth Quaker to rush for over 1,000 yards
in a single season (1,197).
Finally, some noteworthy performances in two often-overlooked sports:
In field hockey, Penn seniors Leah Bills and Maureen Flynn were named
to the 1999 All-Ivy League Team. Bills, who earned All-Ivy second-team
honors, led the Quakers in overall scoring with nine goals and 19 points.
Bills was also named a 1999 AstroTurf/National Field Hockey Coaches Association
Division I All-American and a Mid-Atlantic Region second-team selection.
Flynn was an honorable mention All-Ivy selection.
And in Collegiate Sprint Football, Penn senior running back Tim Ortman
was named the CSFL Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season.
Ortman, a team tri-captain, led the league and set a Penn single-season
record with 1,218 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns (14 rushing and two
receiving). Ortman finished his career as Penns all-time leading
rusher with 3,670 yards. He owns the top three single-season and six of
the top seven single-game rushing totals in school history. A three-time
CSFL Offensive Player of the Week selection during the 1999 season, Ortman
helped lead Penn to 5-1 overall and 3-1 CSFL records and a second-place
league finish behind Army.
Noel Hynd C70 writes on sports for
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