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PHILADELPHIA - Penn (6-4) has won six of seven and still controls its own destiny toward the program’s first-ever Big 5 title. However, city rival Saint Joseph’s (8-5), a team the Quakers have only beaten once in their history, stands in the way. The Hawks visit the Cathedral of College Basketball on Saturday. Tip off at The Palestra is at 2 p.m.
Catching the Game
Video and live stats will be available on the Penn Sports Network (PSN) at PennAthletics.com. A complete recap and box score can then be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each game.
In the Series vs. Saint Joseph's
Penn has won just once in 37 all-time meetings against Saint Joseph’s. That victory came in Hagan Arena in 2004 (64-57). Since then, the Hawks have won seven straight, including last season at Hagan where the Quakers led by seven midway through the second half. Penn Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is 2-11 overall against the Big 5 in three-plus seasons and 2-8 against the Atlantic-10. Each of those wins came at home.
About the Hawks
Saint Joseph’s only road loss of the season came on Monday at No. 17 UCLA, 73-65. The Hawks also boast a win over No. 5 Maryland, 50-49. They have one common opponent with the Quakers as they won at Drexel, 47-45, on Nov. 14, while Penn lost on the road to the Dragons, 77-50, on Dec. 21. The Hawks rank fifth in the 16-team Atlantic-10 in defense, allowing 56.0 points per game, but rank near the bottom of the league in rebounding. Saint Joseph’s is second in the A-10 in turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ration. Chatilla van Grinsven leads the Hawks with 13.4 points per game, while Erin Shields is also in double figures at 10.2. Grinsven also leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per game and 22 blocks. Natasha Cloud has a team-best 49 assists, while Ashley Prim has 46. Cloud, who averages 8.2 points per game, leads the Hawks with 19 steals as well. Kelsey Berger has a team-best 39.1 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
Atop the Ivies
Penn boasts the stingiest defense in the Ivy League - giving up just 54.8 points per game - and behind junior Courtney Wilson’s Ivy League-best 1.9 blocks per game (which also ranks in the top 50 in the nation), Penn leads the Ivies with 4.3 blocks per contest. The Quakers also boast the best turnover margin in the league at plus-4.30 and are second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.9). Individually, junior Alyssa Baron leads the Ivies in assists (3.6) and is third in scoring (14.1). Baron is also tops in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6) and is second in minutes played (34.9). Sophomore Renee Busch is second in three-point percentage at a 9-for-18 clip.
Topping the Big 5
Its a daunting task each year for the Quakers to take on the Big 5. The conference for city bragging rights includes the other four Division I schools in Philadelphia—Temple, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova. The first three are in the Atlantic-10 conference and the Wildcats are in Big East. Penn lost 24 straight Big 5 games after a win over Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 1, 2004 at Hagan Arena, 64-57, and were 1-30 since that time against the Big 5. But the Quakers have now won two of the last three against their city rivals at The Palestra and are currently unbeaten in Big 5 play this year.
Penn won six of seven games for the first time since a seven-game winning streak in 2004-05 ... Penn has won seven of their last nine non-conference home games ... In 10 games, Six different Quakers have led the team in scoring this year, including five different players in the last five games ... Penn is 6-1 with its current starting lineup of Baron, Ray, Roche, Allen and Bonenberger ... Including ties, six different Quakers have led the team in rebounding in the first 10games ... Three different Quakers have scored more than 20 points in a game this season (Baron, Roche, Ray) ... Alyssa Baron has started 66 consecutive games for the Quakers ... Junior Meghan McCullough played in 59 straight games dating back to the 2010-11 season opener prior to suffering a season-ending injury at Army (Nov. 18).
Climbing the Record Books
Junior Alyssa Baron became the 19th Penn women’s player to reach 1,000 career points on Nov. 30. She is the third-fastest Quaker to accomplish that milestone (60 games) and the first since Carrie Biemer topped the landmark in 2008. Only Penn’s all-time leading scorer (man or woman), Diana Caramanico (48 games) and Mandy West (52 games) were faster to 1,000 points. A two-time Ivy scoring champion, Baron became the first freshman in Ivy history to lead the league in scoring and now has 1,077 points in her career, which ranks 12th all-time at Penn. She is now just 24 points from reaching the top 10.
A Penn Win Would...
... mark seven wins in the last eight games.
... be the first all-time over Saint Joseph’s at The Palestra.
... mark two Big 5 wins in a season for just the second time in program history (2004-05).
... make the Quakers 7-4 on the year.
A Penn Loss Would...
... mark the eighth straight loss to Saint Joseph’s.
... be the 37th loss in 38 meetings with the Hawks.
... make the Quakers 6-5 on the year.
Charge for a Cure!
For the third straight year the women’s basketball team is dedicating its entire season to the fight against several diseases and the team needs your help. In its first two years, 109 donors have joined the “Charge for a Cure” program which helped the team raise nearly $7,000. Each month of the season will be devoted to help a specific disease with personal ties to the program—The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Go4theGoal, the American Cancer Society, The Dave Bryan Ride on Fund, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of America. At the end of each month, the coaches will total the number of offensive charges the Quakers have taken as a team and fans can pledge a donation per charge. This month the Quakers will be taking charges for the American Cancer Society, but the team is turning to its fans to lend a hand in its efforts. Here is how you can help!
FOR A CURE!
Last Time Out
A total team effort led to a dominant victory Penn finished 2-0 at the Cyclone Challenge with a 61-39 win over Air Force on Sunday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Penn had 11 different scorers, led by junior captain Alyssa Baron’s 16 points. But it was the dominant team defensive effort that was most impressive. The Quakers allowed just 16 baskets and forced 23 turnovers. Eight Quakers had at least one steal and Penn finished with seven blocks, led by junior Courtney Wilson, who matched a career high with four. Air Force got within 18-9 at the 8:39 mark of the opening half, but the Red and Blue went on an 11-2 run to end the first half. There were five different scorers in that span. Baron connected on two fastbreak layups to end the half with Penn up 33-13. Air Force briefly closed to within 45-28, but the Red and Blue scored 10 of the next 12 and led 55-30 with 4:36 to play. Penn went unbeaten in its first two games in the state of Iowa. The Cyclone Challenge was hosted by Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference. The Quakers also topped Alabama State in the opening round, 52-37, as the Penn bench had nearly half the team’s points (23) and sparked an early game-changing run to put the Quakers in the lead for good.
Penn hosts the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s team on Tuesday. The Quakers take on Morgan State at 5 p.m. at The Palestra and then the men host Lafayette at 7:30 p.m.