PHILADELPHIA - For the first time since 2003-04, the Quakers (16-12, 9-5 Ivy) will play in the postseason. Penn hosts Howard (20-11, 12-4 MEAC) at The Palestra in the First Round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational on Thursday at 7 p.m. Among the 16 tournament teams, Penn is the No. 2 seed in the East Region and Howard is slated as the No. 7 seed.
Catching the Games
Video and live stats will be available on the Penn Sports Network at PennAthletics.com. 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 the game.
About the WBI
In its fourth season, the WBI is a 16-team tournament split into two regions. Minnesota, who qualified for the WNIT this season, is the defending champion. A link to the complete 2013 WBI bracket is at the top of this release.
In the Series vs. Howard
Penn and Howard have met on the hardwood just once before. The Bison topped the Quakers at the EAIAW Regional Tournament, 77-59, on March 4, 1978. The Quakers went 1-1 against other MEAC opponents this season with a season-opening loss at Norfolk State ( 60-51) and a home win over Morgan State (79-73) on Jan. 8. Penn is 1-3 all-time against the MEAC.
About the Bison
Howard won 20 games and qualified for the postseason for the second straight year. Last season, the Bison were 24-9 and lost by three in overtime at Virginia in the first round of the WNIT. This season, Howard is 20-11 and finished third in the MEAC with a 12-4 conference mark. The Bison lost in the MEAC Championship game on Saturday to Hampton, 59-38. They have three common opponents with Penn. The Quakers lost to Temple and Norfolk State, while Howard beat both those teams. Each team also defeated Morgan State this year (Howard did so twice). The Bison, who are near the top of the MEAC in nearly every statistical category, are No. 6 in the nation in defense as they allow just 49.8 points per game. They also rank in the Top 25 in the country with just 13.7 turnovers per game and a +5.2 turnover margin. Saadia Doyle is 15th in the nation and second in the MEAC in scoring (20.3 ppg), and also leads the team with 8.6 rebounds per game. Cheyenne Curley-Payne leads the conference and ranks 16th in the country in assists (6.3 apg). She is second in the MEAC with 81 steals. Kara Smith leads the Bison with 46 threes, while Nicole Deterville has a team-high 25 blocked shots.
Landmarks of a Postseason Berth
Penn has only been to the postseason twice since becoming a member of the NCAA in 1981. The Quakers made the NCAA Tournament as Ivy League champions in 2000-01 and 2003-04. Penn’s 2012-13 postseason appearance will mark its 29th game this season to tie the program record set by the 2007-08 squad. Thursday’s game will also match the latest into March the Quakers have ever played. On this date in 2004, Penn lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to second-seeded and fifth-ranked Connecticut, 91-55, in Bridgeport, Conn.
Against the MEAC
In its history, Penn is 1-3 all-time against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Though the Quakers are 1-0 all-time at The Palestra against MEAC opponents. That win came on Jan. 8 of this year—a 79-73 win over Morgan State. Also this season, the Red and Blue fell to Norfolk State in the season opener, 60-51. Penn’s other MEAC losses came to Howard and Delaware State on neutral courts. The Quakers lost in the EAIAW tournament to Howard, 77-59, on March 4, 1978. Then 25 years later, the Quakers fell in to Delaware State, 74-68, at the UMBC Retriever Classic in Baltimore, Md., on Nov. 23, 2003.
Penn has never lost on a Thursday under Coach McLaughlin (3-0).
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 27-7 (.794) when they score 60 points, including 9-2 this year (only losses were 68-65 to Virginia of the ACC and 70-65 to Yale). In comparison, the Quakers are just 15-63 (.192) 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 8-42 (.160) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 34-28 (.548), including eight straight wins.
At least one freshman has been in the starting lineup for the Quakers in 81 of the last 84 games ... Penn is 14-8 in its last 22 Ivy games ... Penn is 13-2 when leading at the half and 3-10 when trailing ... The Quakers have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in a remarkable 23 of 28 games this season (15-8 in those games) ... The Quakers have outrebounded their opponent just nine times this year, but are 9-0 in those games ... Prior to the season finale, Penn used the same starting lineup in 24 straight games (16-8) ... Alyssa Baron has started 84 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 in a recent win at Dartmouth.
In 2009-10, Penn won just two games—the fewest wins in program history. Now, just three seasons later, the Quakers are currently in the midst of 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 won nine games for the sixth time in school history.
Climbing the Record Books
Junior Alyssa Baron added another 16 points in the season finale against Princeton. She has 398 points this season and is now the fourth-best scorer in program history with 1,334 for her career. Next season, Baron will chase Kirsten Brendel (1,656 points) for third place and Jewel Clark (1,743) for second. Clark is also 10th all-time in scoring in Ivy history. Former Quaker, Diana Caramanico holds the Ivy League scoring record at 2,415 points. 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), Caramanico (48 games) and Mandy West (52 games) were faster to 1,000 points.
As is tradition, Coach McLaughlin started all of his seniors on Senior Day. It marked the first career starts for Katie Davis and Brianna Bradford. Prior to that, Penn was one of just four schools where both basketball program’s had yet to start a senior this season. The only other three schools in the country with that distinction of youth: Wright State, Navy and Dartmouth.
A Penn Win Would...
... mark the first postseason win in program history.
... mark just the fourth 17-win season and 10-win Ivy season in Penn history.
... make the Quakers 17-12 overall and advance to the WBI Quarterfinals.
A Penn Loss Would...
... be the third straight and mark the end of the 2012-13 season with a 16-13 overall record.
... be less good than a win.
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
In the season finale, an incredible effort erased an 18-point deficit against the Ivy League’s top team, but the Penn fell short against Princeton on Senior Day at The Palestra, 60-44. Princeton jumped out to a 22-4 lead over the first 13 minutes. Penn was just 1-of-15 (6.7%) from the floor at that point. But the Quakers battled back. Over the next 20 minutes, the Red and Blue outscored the NCAA Tournament-bound Tigers 32-13 to take the lead with under nine minutes to play. However, Penn went scoreless over the next four minutes and the Ivy champions capitalized. Princeton scored 12 straight to go up 11. Over the next several minutes, the Tigers pushed that lead to 56-40 with just 3:08 left. That 16-point deficit would be the final margin.
The winner of the Quakers/Bison matchup will take on third-seeded Fairfield or sixth-seeded St. Francis (Pa.) on March 23 or March 24 at a site to be determined.