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Villanova Women’s Basketball Preview: Penn Quakers

Watch the Villanova women head into their last Big Five game this season.

Pennsylvania v Villanova Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Villanova Wildcats (14-3) vs. University of Pennsylvania Quakers (8-5)

When: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Jake Nevin Field House, Villanova, PA
Coverage: Nova Nation All-Access
Penn’s Previous Season’s Record: 22-8, eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament
Key Players for Penn: #43 Michelle Nwokedi (6-3) Sr., F; #31 Eleah Parker (6-4) Fr., C; #21 Lauren Whitlatch (5-11) Sr., G

Scouting Report

The Villanova Wildcats are returning to their home court at Jake Nevin this Wednesday in a game against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. Last season, the Quakers suffered one of their eight season losses to the Wildcats at home, losing 60-48. The team then continued on to win the Ivy League Championship.

Penn’s senior forward, Michelle Nwokedi, has made huge contributions to the team’s success. She was named the 2017 Ivy League player of the year, Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and Academic All-Ivy. The veteran player has been a staple in Penn’s starting lineup, and averages 10.8 points a game, paired with 8.2 rebounds. She’s made it hard driving to the basket, with a team high 37 blocks this season.

Coming off a torn ACL injury last year, senior guard Lauren Whitlatch is another seasoned starter. She’s been shooting 36 percent from long range and is the Quakers’ only true threat from deep. In addition, she’s the teams third highest point scorer averaging 9.8 per game, and hasn’t missed a free throw this season.

After winning the ivy league rookie of the year her freshman year, senior guard Anna Ross has become the only player to appear in every Penn game over the past three years. She doesn’t light up the scoreboard, but she’s a key facilitator and one of the team’s top perimeter defenders.

Penn has younger players proving themselves on the court as well. Freshman Eleah Parker is making a name for herself, evident in her decisive role in the team’s latest win against Columbia. She scored a career high 22 points and secured 14 rebounds, another personal best. The game marked Parker’s ninth straight game scoring double digits and second consecutive double-double. While some freshman have a tough time of transitioning into the college game, she hasn’t missed a beat, knocking down 50.7 percent of her shots. Also watch out for freshman guard Katie Kinum, who has enjoyed a good share of playing time for her first season as well, averaging 6.1 points a game, and shooting 45.2% outside the arc.

Outlook

The Big 5 crown is up for grabs and a win on Wednesday night would mean a sweep of the other Philadelphia competition, as well as an outright Big 5 title. The Wildcats were dominant against the other Big 5 schools and will take a break from conference play to put the finishing touches on the city slate of games.

It’s been a tough stretch of recent games for the ‘Cats, with such a congested schedule. However, history is on their side.

Villanova is headed into the match up with 115 all-time Big Five victories, the most wins of any women’s program. The Wildcats also have a 62-9 all time record against Ivy League teams.

Expect the Wildcats to come out strong on Wednesday, as they look to sweep Big Five play this season.