March 31, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Will Venable was at the Palestra for one of the more memorable nights in the arena's storied history. Penn rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit in February 2005 to defeat rival Princeton. The Palestra rocked and fans stormed the court. Quakers guard Tim Begley called it the favorite win of his career. Penn clinched the Ivy League title two weeks later. Venable, who joined the Phillies on Tuesday, was on the losing end. He was a senior for Princeton, as the Tigers unraveled under the pressure of Penn's full-court defense and raucous crowd.
March 28, 2016 |
Not much is known of the meeting that gave birth to postseason college basketball, but cigar smoke surely choked the air. Several crusty New York sportswriters, encouraged by a colleague's financial windfall, were eager to make a few extra bucks as promoters. From the ashes of their smoky session arose the concept that is now an American sporting phenomenon. They decided that when the 1937-38 regular season ended, six worthy teams from around the country would be invited to play in a mini-tournament at Madison Square Garden.
March 25, 2016 |
ROY WILLIAMS, now 65, was in his third season as an assistant coach in 1981 when arguably the most controversial NCAA championship game was played at the Spectrum. Williams' hair was black, his suits no-doubt leisurely and he was a young assistant under Dean Smith. North Carolina was loaded that year with a crew that included Al Wood, Sam Perkins, James Worthy and Jimmy Black. Philadelphia hasn't played host to the most NCAA Tournament games, but it's sure been the site of some of the most memorable.
March 23, 2016 |
WHEN I stepped on the court for warmups Saturday, for what would turn out to be the last time this season, it felt different. All of a sudden, everything that we had accomplished finally felt real. Winning the Ivy League championship was one of the best moments of my life, and there was no better reward than being a part of the NCAA Tournament. It's every basketball player's dream to make it to the Dance and I understand why - we were among the best women's basketball players in the country and we deserved to be there.
March 18, 2016 |
NEW YORK - Fran Dunphy has been coaching at the college level for 27 seasons. Fran McCaffery, another Philly guy, has been doing it for 19. They've gone against each other only twice. Even though Dunphy, when asked about that on Thursday, said, "It's amazing our paths haven't crossed before. " Well, at least not for a while. McCaffery, whose Iowa team will get Dunph's 10th-seeded Owls in Friday's first round of the NCAA South Regional at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, remembers things differently.
March 12, 2016 |
Say goodbye to Ivy League basketball as it's been known since the conference was founded in 1954. Beginning next March, the Ancient Eight hoops season will conclude with conference tournaments for the first time. The announcement was made official by the league office Thursday morning. No longer will the 14-game full round-robin determine the league's champion and NCAA tournament participant. Instead, the top four teams in the standings will travel to the Palestra for a knockout competition.
March 11, 2016 |
THE IVY LEAGUE was the last basketball postseason tournament holdout, calling its regular-season a "14-game tournament. " Now, after approving a four-team tournament for men and women starting next March at the Palestra with the automatic NCAA Tournament berth on the line, the league has joined the rest of college hoops. "I was calling former players both at Cornell and at Penn," said Penn men's coach Steve Donahue. "Something that stuck with me was what David Klatsky said, 'That the most exciting game of my life was the Yale playoff game' . . . At Cornell, we won championships and one time we won it at Brown.
March 10, 2016 |
PRINCETON, N.J. - The Princeton women's basketball team has lost seven Ivy League games in the last seven seasons. Penn won its second Ivy title in three seasons Wednesday night at Jadwin Gym, beating the Tigers, 62-60, in a game the Quakers led from late in the first quarter until the final two minutes. Penn gave up the lead for exactly 15 seconds, got it back on a three-point play from Anna Ross, the most skilled player on the court, and held it to the wire. "As I just told my players, you don't get these opportunities too many times in sports to celebrate something like this," Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said.
February 26, 2016 |
FOR A GUY like Mike McLaughlin, who grew up at Frankford and Pennypack in Northeast Philly, and would worship at the Palestra if the place had an altar, the greatest fringe benefit to being a Penn basketball coach is 3-inch piece of metal. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't come (to work) through the back door so that I can use MY KEY to the Palestra," he said with a huge smile. "Seven years later and every day I go in the same way. I take out MY KEY - my No. 2 key - come in and take my walk through the Palestra and go up to my office . . . I hope that never gets old. " Star sophomore Michelle Nwokedi, who is the leading scorer for the 20-3 Quakers, shared an interesting anecdote.
February 25, 2016 |
Imagine if this happened today. The Penn Quakers win the Ivy League men's basketball title, find out their NCAA draw, begin practicing for March Madness - then announce they are declining the invitation, protesting how the NCAA is imposing academic standards on the league. It happened - 50 years ago. Stan Pawlak still can't believe it. Pawlak was the top scorer on that team. He doesn't expect people to remember. Certainly not the current players. A couple of weeks ago, Pawlak looked over at the century-old Penn basketball team photos on the wall of the Palestra press room.