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PHILADELPHIA - A postseason berth is on the line for the Quakers this weekend. Penn (15-10, 8-3 Ivy) remains two games out of first-place and is in a dead heat with Harvard for second-place—and both spots earn an automatic bid to the postseason. Penn welcomes Brown (9-17, 3-9 Ivy) on Friday and Yale (12-14, 7-5 Ivy) on Saturday to The Palestra for a pair of 7 p.m. starts. Both games can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.
Catching the Games
Video and live stats will be available on the Penn Sports Network at PennAthletics.com for both games. Twitter (@PennWBB) updates 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. Brown/Yale
This marks Penn’s 72nd meeting with both Yale and Brown. Penn has won each of the last two meetings with Brown and now holds a slight 36-35 advantage in the all-time series. However, the Bears have won two of the last three at The Palestra, including an overtime victory last year. Yale leads the all-time series, 37-34, including a bizarre 65-56 win this year in a game that was delayed several times and then moved to Yale’s campus recreational gym. Yale has won three straight at The Palestra and seven of the last eight meetings with the Quakers. In his fourth season at Penn, Coach McLaughlin is 1-6 against Yale and 4-3 against Brown.
About the Bears
After a 6-8 non-conference campaign, Brown won its Ivy opener at Yale, but then lost eight straight before winning two of the last three games. Brown topped Dartmouth by 20 on the road and knocked off Cornell at home before falling to Columbia by three on Saturday. The Bears are near the bottom of the Ivy League in scoring and are second-to-last in field goal percentage. However, they rank near the top of the Ivies in most defensive categories. They rank third in scoring defense and second in three-point defense. Brown is last in blocks among the Ivies and rank among the middle of the pack in rebounding. Lauren Clarke is sixth in the Ivies in scoring at 13.5 points per game. Sheila Dixon also averages double figures at 12.3 points per game. Clark also leads the league in made threes and ranks sixth in the league with 2.8 assists per game. She has a team-high 39 steals. Dixon and Sophie Bikofsky lead the team in rebounding.
About the Bulldogs
Yale has won five of its last six games with its only loss a three-point defeat at Harvard. Other than two nine-point wins over Cornell, all of the wins in that span have been by double digits. The Bulldogs allow 67.1 points per game—the most of any Ivy League team. However, they are one of just three Ivy teams to average over 60 points per game (64.8). They have the second-best three-point percentage of any Ivy team at 33.3 percent and boast the best three-point defense at 24.8 percent—which ranks sixth in the nation. Sarah Halejian leads Yale and is fifth in the Ivy League with 14.0 points per game and is fourth in assists with 3.0 per game. Megan Vasquez is fourth in the league with 3.0 apg. Janna Graf also scores in double figures at 11.9 per game, ranks sixth in the Ivies with 1.7 steals per contest and averages a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game. Allie Mesmer has an Ivy-best 40.8 three-point percentage. Zenab Keita leads Yale with 15 blocks.
Road to a Postseason Berth
In the Ivy League, the top two teams automatically qualify for the postseason. The first-place team receives the bid to the NCAA Tournament and the second-place finisher automatically qualifies for the WNIT. Penn is currently tied for second, but sits in third place after the tiebreakers. To qualify for the postseason, the Quakers will need Princeton to lose at least once this weekend and Harvard to lose at least one of its final three games. Penn has only been to the postseason twice in the 42 previous seasons as a varsity program. The Quakers made the NCAA Tournament as Ivy League champions in 2000-01 and 2003-04.
The Penn women’s basketball team has not started a senior this season; coincidentally, neither has the Penn men’s basketball team. In an informal survey of the other NCAA Division I SID’s, it was discovered that only three other schools share this distinction - Dartmouth (Ivy League), Navy (Patriot League) and Wright State (Horizon League).
Bradford's Big Weekend
In her final Ivy road trip, senior captain Brianna Bradford scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the second time in her career. That included a career-best 17 to lead all scorers in a win at Dartmouth and another 11 points in 18 minutes at Harvard. For the weekend, Bradford made six threes (three each night)— the rest of the team combined to make just four. She was a combined 6-of-10 (60.0%) on her three-point attempts over the two nights, while the rest of the team was 4-for-40 (10.0%).
Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 26-6 (.813) when they score 60 points, including 8-1 this year (only loss was 68-65 to Virginia of the ACC). In comparison, the Quakers are just 15-62 (.195) 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 8-40 (.167) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 33-28 (.541).
At least one freshman has been in the starting lineup for the Quakers in 78 of the last 81 games ... Penn is 13-6 in its last 19 Ivy games ... Penn is 12-2 when leading at the half and 3-8 when trailing ... The Quakers have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in a remarkable 21 of 24 games this season (14-7 in those games) ... The Quakers have outrebounded their opponent just eight times this year, but are 8-0 in those games ... Penn has used the same starting lineup in 22 straight games (15-7) ... Alyssa Baron has started 81 consecutive games for the Quakers ... Three different Quakers have scored more than 20 points in a game this season (Baron, Roche, Ray) and senior captain Brianna Bradford had 17 on Friday.
In 2009-10, Penn won just two games—its worst season in program history. Now, just three seasons later, the Quakers are one win away from the fourth-best season in program history. Penn posted seven or more out-of-conference wins in back-to-back seasons for just the second time in program history (1999-00, 2000-01)—and those seven non-league wins are tied for fourth-most all-time at Penn. The winning ways continued into league play where the Quakers can reach double-digit league wins for just the fourth time in school history.
Climbing the Record Books
Junior Alyssa Baron moved into the top five of Penn’s all-time scoring list over the weekend. She scored 27 points and now has 1,286 for her career. Baron is seven points from matching Dionne Anthon (1989-92) for fourth place. 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...
... mark just the fourth 17-win season and 10-win Ivy season in Penn history.
... make the Quakers 6-0 at home against the Ivy League this year.
... make the Quakers 17-10 overall and 10-3 in Ivy play.
A Penn Win Would...
... be the first nine-win Ivy season since 2003-04 and first 16-win season since the same season.
... mark just the sixth nine-win Ivy League season in program history.
.. make the Quakers 16-11 on the year and 9-4 in Ivy play.
Two Penn Losses Would...
... mark the first back-to-back league losses in over a year (span of 19 Ivy games).
... make the Quakers 15-12 on the year and 8-5 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 the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of America, 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
Senior captain Brianna Bradford poured in a career-high 17 points to lead Penn to its sixth straight win on Friday, but a valiant comeback attempt fell short on Saturday. With the 55-45 victory over Dartmouth at Leede Arena, Penn led 20-16 at the half. Bradford led a 14-5 run for the Quakers, who pulled out to a 39-28 lead with 12:32 remaining. Dartmouth scored the next four, but Bradford squashed any momentum for the home team with a drive and lay-in. The Big Green eventually pulled within seven again, 46-39, with 2:56 left, but the Quakers made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch to keep Dartmouth at bay. In a 67-54 loss at Harvard, Penn trailed 33-13 with 1:23 left in the first half. But an 8-0 run in the last 1:06 before intermission and an 11-3 run early in the second half made it a six-point game with 12:32 to go. Penn ran out of steam though, and never got any closer.
Its the regular season finale against Princeton on Tuesday, which also serves as Senior Day for captains Brianna Bradford and Katie Davis. The game will be the first in a doubleheader with the men. Tip off for the women is at 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. for the men.