PHILADELPHIA - Freshman Sydney Stipanovich posted her second career double-double and helped lead the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to its largest comeback in program history in a 46-44 win over Drexel on Saturday. Her 14 points and 19 rebounds earned her Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Week honors as announced by the league office on Monday.
Stipanovich's 19 rebounds were the most by any freshman in the nation this year against a Division I opponent and the most for a Penn player since Jennifer Fleischer grabbed 21 against Columbia on Feb. 17, 2006. Stipanovich is the first Ivy rookie to record 19 rebounds in a single game since Penn's Diana Caramanico tallied 19 against Princeton on Jan. 3, 1998.
Stipanovich had a double-double in the second half alone (10 points and 12 rebounds) as the Quakers mounted a comeback from 19 points down. The St. Louis, Mo., native was 6-of-14 from the field and led the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks (two) in 34 minutes off the bench. Stipanovich tied the game with 1:31 left, then pulled down the defensive rebound on Drexel's final two possessions to lead to Alyssa Baron's game-winning jumper with 2.6 seconds left.
The 19-point comeback topped the program record set last year at St. Francis Brooklyn when Penn topped the Terriers, 61-60, after trailing by 18 with 7:29 to play on Dec. 5, 2012.
This is the second and third career Ivy honors for Stipanovich. She was also named Ivy League Rookie of the Week last Monday. This mark's Penn's second Ivy League Player of the Week accolade as Baron earned the distinction on Dec. 9).
At 5-2, Penn has now matched the best seven-game start in program history and has won five straight non-conference games for the first time in 13 years (the 2000-01 squad won seven in a row). Prior to the tenure of head coach Mike McLaughlin, Penn had never won five of its first seven games, but the Quakers have now done so in two of the last three years.
Following a week off for the holiday season, the Quakers will fly to Miami where they will bring in the New Year with a matchup against the Hurricanes. It will be Penn’s first-ever visit to Coral Gables and the first all-time meeting with Miami (Fla.). Tip off is set for 2 p.m. on Jan. 1.