Photo and story courtesy of Penn Athletic Communications
PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania made a short trip to College Park, Md., for its NCAA Tournament appearances in 2014 and 2016.
The wait to learn their destination and first-round opponent on Monday night was similarly short. The trip to this year's game will be long.
The Quakers found out their NCAA path on Monday night, and the road will take them all the way across the country to Los Angeles. Penn is the 12th seed in the Bridgeport (Conn.) Regional and will play fifth-seeded Texas A&M out of the Southeastern Conference in the first round. The game will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. Eastern) and will air nationally on ESPN2.
The other game in that bracket will feature the host and fourth seed, UCLA, against 13th-seeded Boise State. The winners of Saturday's first-round games will meet on Monday night.
This will mark the program's second trip to southern California this season. The Quakers played at CSU-Northridge on December 31, winning 47-36, and followed that up with a 71-55 win at UC-Riverside on January 2.
Texas A&M received an at-large bid into the field; the Aggies enter the NCAAs with a 21-11 record and finished sixth in the powerful SEC (9-7). Three A&M players were second-team All-SEC: Khaalia Hillsman, Curtyce Knox and Danni Williams. Williams and Hillsman both averaged more than 16 points per game, while Knox led the SEC in assists per game (9.0).
Led by reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year Mike McLaughlin, Penn rides a seven-game win streak into its third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years, and won the inaugural Ivy League Tournament on Sunday with a win over Princeton. The Quakers are 22-7 overall and won the Ancient Eight regular-season title with a 13-1 mark. Junior Michelle Nwokedi was the Ivy League Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-Ivy pick, while senior Sydney Stipanovich and junior Anna Ross were both second-team All-Ivy picks.