Quakers clean up at Big 5 awards

The city series honors Penn hoopsters for their sensational seasons.

Penn Basketball Big 5
The women’s basketball team with former Quaker Natasha Rezek, right, a Big 5 Hall of Fame inductee.

Players from both the women’s and men’s basketball teams were feted at the Philadelphia Big 5 awards and Hall of Fame ceremony on Monday, April 16, at the Palestra.

For the first time in the history of the program, three women’s basketball players earned All-Big 5 acknowledgment. Senior and future Hall of Famer Michelle Nwokedi is a First-Team All-Big 5 selection for the third year in a row, and senior Anna Ross and freshman Eleah Parker are Second-Team All-Big 5 honorees. Parker is also the Big 5 Rookie of the Year.

Michelle Nwokedi
Future Hall of Famer and three-time First-Team All-Big 5 selection Michelle Nwokedi.

In her final season at Penn, Nwokedi, a First-Team All-Ivy selection, averaged 12.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, and became the first player in Ivy League history to stockpile 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 300 blocks in a career. She finished her Penn career ranked fifth all-time in points (1,517), second in rebounds (1,048), third in double-doubles (39), and second in blocks (308).

Ross, whose 8.0 points and 4.9 assists per game gained a Second-Team All-Ivy tribute, had a record-breaking season and career as well. Her 151 assists this year set a new single-season school record, and her 120 starts and 491 assists are Penn career marks.

Unanimously chosen as Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Parker averaged 11.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in her maiden season wearing the Red & Blue. A Second-Team All-Ivy recipient, she started all 31 games and was the team’s second-leading scorer.

The women’s basketball team finished the season with a 22-9 record—the fifth consecutive year with 20-plus wins—and were champions of the Big 5. For the sixth-straight season, they earned a spot in the postseason, advancing to the second round of the WNIT.  

Sophomores A.J. Brodeur and Ryan Betley, who helped put the men’s basketball team back on top of the Ivy League, are both Second-Team All-Big 5 selections. Brodeur is a repeat performer; he was Second-Team All-Big 5 last year, too.

Betley, Second-Team All-Ivy, was the team’s leading scorer with 14.3 points per game. Brodeur followed closely behind, averaging 13.1. 

Ryan Betley Penn basketball
Sophomore Ryan Betley, a Second-Team All-Big 5 honoree and the leading scorer on the men’s basketball team. 

A unanimous First-Team All-Ivy pick, Brodeur averaged 7.2 rebounds per game, tops on the team. He finished the season with 22 double-doubles, and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League Tournament.

The men’s team finished the season with a record of 24-9—their most wins since 2001-02—and defeated Harvard in the Ivy League Championship to advance to their first NCAA Tournament since 2007.  

Natasha Rezek, who starred as a center on the women’s basketball team from 1991-93 and 1994-96, was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame during Monday’s festivities.

A two-time First-Team All-Big 5 selection and a one-time Second-Team All-Big 5 honoree, she is the eighth-leading scorer in Penn women’s basketball history with 1,265 points, and the fourth-leading rebounder with 972.