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PHILADELPHIA - A milestone sweep has left the Quakers (12-9, 5-2 Ivy) in sole possession of second place at the midway point of the Ivy League season. Following the first home sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth since 2001, the Quakers will look to complete a season sweep of Cornell (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Columbia (Saturday, 7 p.m.) at The Palestra this weekend. Both games can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.
The Quakers will also welcome their alumni back to The Palestra on Saturday. Prior to the matchup with Columbia, Penn will hold its annual Red vs. Blue Alumni Game. Last season, nearly 20 former players participated in the game as Carrie Biemer, C'09, helped lead Blue over Red, 42-34.
Catching the Games
Video and live stats will be available on the Penn Sports Network at PennAthletics.com. Twitter updates (@PennWBB) are also available throughout the contest. A complete recap and box score can then be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each game.
In the Series vs. Cornell and Columbia
Penn began its current 5-1 stretch with its first sweep at Columbia and Cornell since 2005. The Quakers snapped a three-game losing skid in Ithaca and upped their all-time series edge over the Big Red to 49-19. Cornell and Penn have split the last four meetings at The Palestra—all of which were decided by double digits. With this season’s win over Columbia, Penn has now won three straight in the series and four of the last five to improve their all-time series advantage to 36-18. Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is 2-5 all-time against the Big Red and 4-3 against the Lions.
About the Big Red
Cornell snapped a four-game skid with a last-second win over Brown in Ithaca, 60-58, on Saturday. The Big Red fell to Yale by nine last weekend—the same margin by which the Quakers fell to the Bulldogs—and also lost a close game in overtime to Harvard on Feb. 10. Cornell ranks near the top of the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.393) and steals (8.3 per game). They are second in the league in assists at 14.7 per game and rank in the middle of the pack in rebounding. Allyson DiMagno and Clare Fitzpatrick both score in double figures for Cornell at 14.3 and 13.0 points per game, respectively to rank in the top 10 of the league. DiMagno averages a double-double and is the top rebounder in the Ivies with 11.9 per game. Spencer Lane leads the league with 85 assists. DiMagno also has a league-high 36.0 minutes played per game. Clare Fitzpatrick leads the team with 17 blocks and Shelby Lyman has a team-high 33 made threes.
About the Lions
Columbia snapped a nine-game losing streak last weekend with a decisive home win over Brown, 62-51. It is their only Ivy win of the season thus far. The Lions have played five of their first seven league opponents at home and have yet to win a road game this year in 10 tries. Columbia is last in the Ivy League in scoring at just 49.2 points per game and in field goal percentage at 32.1. Columbia boasts one of the better defenses in the league as they are second in the league with 9.6 steals per game and are in the team half of the league in scoring defense and turnover margin. Tyler Simpson leads the Lions in scoring at 9.9 points per game. Brittany Simmons averages 2.2 steals per game to rank second among Ivy players, while Courtney Bradford ranks fifth in the Ivy League in overall rebounding with 6.3 per game and fourth in offensive rebounding with 2.2 per game. Taylor Ball is tops on the team with 35 assists. Three different Lions have made 20 or more threes this year.
A sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend marked a lot of firsts for the Quakers...the first sweep of those two programs since 2004 and first at home since 2001 ... the first win over Harvard in nine years to snap a 17-game winning streak ... the first home win over the Crimson since 2001 ... the first 20-point win over Dartmouth in program history.
Here’s why second-place is such a big deal. In the Ivy League, the top two teams automatically qualify for the postseason. The first-place team recieves the bid to the NCAA Tournament and the second-place finisher automatically qualifies for the WNIT. Penn, which has only been to the postseason twice in the 42 previous seasons as a varsity program, currently holds one of those two coveted spots. The Quakers made the NCAA Tournament as Ivy League champions in 2000-01 and 2003-04.
Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss is 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 24-6 (.800) when they score 60 points, including 6-1 this year (only loss was 68-65 to Virginia of the ACC). In comparison, the Quakers are just 14-61 (.187) when they’ve scored less than 60 points under Coach McLaughlin. The trend continues defensively. Over the last four seasons, the Red and Blue are 8-39 (.170) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 30-28 (.517).
At least one freshman has been in the starting lineup for the Quakers in 74 of the last 77 games ... Penn is 10-5 in its last 15 Ivy games ... Penn is 9-2 when leading at the half and 3-7 when trailing ... The Quakers have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in a remarkable 17 of 21 games this season (11-6 in those games) ... The Quakers have outrebounded their opponent just six times this year, but are 6-0 in those games ... Penn has used the same starting lineup in 18 straight games ... Alyssa Baron has started 77 consecutive games for the Quakers ... Three different Quakers have scored more than 20 points in a game this season (Baron, Roche, Ray).
Penn had quite the trip during its last Ivy road weekend. Here is how the Quakers survived and bonded through a blizzard, hotel flood, leaking gym and a weekend full of twists.
Climbing the Record Books
Junior Alyssa Baron passed three former Quakers over the weekend and is now in sixth-place on Penn’s all-time scoring list with 1,227 career points. Baron is 29 points from surpassing Natasha Rezek (1992-94, 96) for a place in the Top 5. 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 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.
Two Penn Wins Would...
... be the first season sweep of both Columbia and Cornell since 2005.
... be the first season with three Ivy sweeps since 2004-05.
... mark the five-game win streak since 2004-05 and first five-game Ivy win streak since 2003-04.
... be the first seven-win Ivy season since 2006-07 and first 14-win season since 2004-05.
... mark the best nine-game Ivy start since 2003-04 Ivy title season (8-1).
... make the Quakers 14-9 overall and 7-2 in Ivy play.
A Penn Win Would...
... match last season’s overall and Ivy win totals.
... make the Quakers 13-10 on the year and 6-3 in Ivy play.
Two Penn Losses Would...
... mark the first back-to-back league losses in over a year (span of 15 Ivy games).
... make the Quakers 12-11 on the year and 5-4 in Ivy play.
... be less good than two wins.
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 ALS and the Dave Bryan Ride On Fund, but the team is turning to its fans to lend a hand in its efforts. Here is how you can help!
|CHARGE FOR A CURE!
Last Time Out
Where to start? It was a milestone weekend for the Quakers as they swept Harvard and Dartmouth for the first time since 2004 and the first time at The Palestra since 2001. Penn’s 77-72 win on Friday night snapped a 17-game and nine-year losing streak to the Crimson, while Saturday’s 63-40 victory marked the program’s most lopsided win over Dartmouth. Freshman Keiera Ray scored 50 points on the weekend, including the first 30-point performance by an Ivy player this year, and became the first Ivy player—male or female—to earn USBWA National Player of the Week honors in addition to Ivy League Co-Player of the Week and Ivy League Rookie of the Week accolades. Penn has now won five of its last six Ivy games and moved into sole possession of second-place in the Ivy League.
Its the final road trip of the year for the Quakers. It is also the league’s longest trip. Penn buses to Hanover, N.H., to take on Dartmouth on Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m. The following night, the Quakers will be in Cambridge, Mass., for a 6 p.m. matchup with Harvard.