PHILADELPHIA - This week the Quakers will wrap up their non-conference schedule. On Wednesday, Penn (8-5) concludes a three-game Philadelphia road trip with the Big 5 season finale at Temple (10-7). Tip off is set for 7 p.m. from McGonigle Hall. On Saturday, the Red and Blue host NJIT (5-17) in a doubleheader with the men at The Palestra. Tip off for the women's game is at 5 p.m., and will be followed by the men's matchup against the Highlanders.
Catching the Game
If you can't make it out to McGonigle Hall on Wednesday, fans can watch the game on Owls All-Access. Live stats can be found here. Fans can watch Saturday's matchup against NJIT on the Penn Sports Network. Live stats can be found here.
Live twitter updates (@PennWBB) are also available throughout each 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. Temple: 44th Meeting
Temple has won 32 of the previous 43 meetings, including nine straight. Penn's last win in the series was at McGonigle Hall in 2003, 70-64. That stands as the only win for the Quakers in this matchup since the turn of the millennium. Since that last victory, the Owls have dominated the Red and Blue at home with a four straight double-digit wins (average of 22.0 points per game).
In the Series vs. NJIT: Third Meeting
This will be just the third meeting between these two programs. The Highlanders took the previous two matchups during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. NJIT won the last meeting at The Palestra, 74-63 on Nov. 27, 2010 and then topped the Quakers the following season in Newark, 52-48, on Jan. 11, 2012.
Charge for a Cure: Teaming up with Men's Basketball
Penn men's and women's basketball needs your help! For the fourth straight year the women’s basketball team is dedicating its entire season to the fight against several diseases with its Charge for a Cure program. This year, the month of January is dedicated to the Dut Jok Youth Foundation - founded and run by Penn men's basketball senior Dau Jok. The women's basketball team raises money with each charge they take and fans pledge a donation per charge. To make a pledge (usually $1) contact Eric Dolan at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Dut Jok Youth Foundation, click here.
About the Owls
*In its first season in the American Athletic Conference, Temple is off to a 4-3 start in the AAC. The Owls have won two straight since a loss at No. 1 Connecticut. Against the Big 5, Temple has gone along the same path as the Quakers with a win at La Salle and losses to Saint Joseph's and Villanova. Both teams lost to the Wildcats by one point.
*Temple ranks among the middle of the pack in nearly every major statistical category in the 10-team AAC. The Owls are led by Feyonda Fitzgerald who averages 13.1 points per game. Natasha Thames (11.8) and Shi-Heria Shipp (10.3) are also averaging double figures for Temple. Thames pulls down a team-best 8.1 rebounds per game, has a team-high 33 steals and 19 blocks, and shoots at a team-best 52.3 percent. Fitzgerald leads the team with 64 assists, while Tyonna Williams, who leads the Owls in three-point shooting (33.7%), has 61 assists.
About the Highlanders
*NJIT is in transition between conferences and as an independent, the Highlanders have played the majority of their schedule to this point. They are just 1-9 on the road this season with the lone win a two-point triumph at LIU Brooklyn - a team Penn topped at The Palestra in December. Both teams also beat Bucknell and lost to St. Francis Brooklyn this year. NJIT is 1-2 against the Ivy League with a home win over Brown and home losses against Harvard and Dartmouth.
*Graduate student Shakia Robinson leads NJIT with 11.4 points per game with an impressive 60.3 shooting percentage. Uju Nwankwo averages a team-best 8.8 rebounds per game, while Robinson is second with 6.3 per contest. Nwankwo also has a team-high 33 blocks. Alyssa Albanese leads the Highlanders with 88 assists and 30 steals. Alana Dudley is the most potent weapon from beyond the arc at 38.6 percent.
Tough Start, Tough Stretch
Though the Quakers started 0-2 and have dropped the last two, they faced some tough competition. Entering the New Year, Penn’s first two opponents this season are a combined 27-2 (.931). St. Francis Brooklyn is 12-2 and its only two losses came on the road to BCS opponents in St. John’s and Miami (Fla.). No. 2 Notre Dame is undefeated through 16 games. In all, Penn’s five losses have come against teams with a combined record of 66-16 (.805).
Despite that challenging start to the season, the Quakers tied the 1974-75 team for the program’s best record through 11 games. The 1974-75 unit also started the year at 8-3 (finished 10-6).
En route to the best 11-game start in school history, Penn set a school record with an eight-game non-conference win streak that was stopped last Wednesday in a one-point loss at Villanova. The Quakers surpassed the old school standard of seven straight held by the 2000-01 team. The eight-game stretch is also the second-longest overall winning streak in program history. The 2000-01 Quakers won their last 21 regular season games and finished with a school record 22 wins.
Freshman Sydney Stipanovich leads the Ivy League with 37 blocks in 13 games—there are four Ivy League teams with fewer blocks and all those teams have played at least 15 games. The next closest Ivy player is Temi Fagbenle with 25 blocks in 15 games. In addtion, Stipanovich is already among Penn’s all-time single-season top 10. She is tied with Jennifer Fleischer - who had 37 blocks in 2003-04 - for ninth place. Katarina Poulsen owns the school record with 72 blocks in 1993-94.
Senior Alyssa Baron started her 100th career game for the Quakers on Friday ... Wednesday will mark Penn's first-ever game against an opponent from the newly-formed American Athletic Conference ... Penn was 21-3 over the last two seasons when leading at the half and 6-1 this season before last week when the Quakers dropped two Big 5 games after leading at the break ... The Quakers have had at least two players score in double figures in all but one game this year ... Penn is 11-1 under Coach McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points (only loss in double overtime, 88-84, at Harvard in 2011).
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 34-8 (.810) when they score 60 points, including 7-0 this season. In comparison, the Quakers are just 18-68 (.212) 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 10-46 (.182) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 42-30 (.583).
Two Penn Wins Would...
... give the Quakers 10 non-conference wins for the first time in school history.
... mark just the second season in school history with multiple Big 5 wins.
... make the Quakers 10-5 overall entering Ivy League weekends.
A Penn Win Would...
... match the school record with nine non-conference wins in a single season.
... be the first over Temple since 2003 or the first-ever over NJIT.
... make the Quakers 9-4 overall entering Ivy League weekends.
Two Penn Losses Would...
... mark the 10th straight to Temple and third straight to NJIT.
... mark a five-game losing streak.
... be less good than two wins.
Last Time Out
Last week, the Quakers dropped two Big 5 road games in the final minute. At Villanova, Penn trailed by one with the ball and under 10 seconds to play. The Quakers had two shots in the final seconds as Alyssa Baron missed a tough running jumper in the lane and Sydney Stipanovich’s contested putback also found iron in a 55-54 loss last Wednesday. On Friday at Saint Joseph's, the Quakers led by eight at the half, but the Hawks came back to go up, 50-45 with just more than five minutes to play. However, Meghan McCullough hit a three and Stephanie Cheney sunk two clutch free throws to tie the game. Nearly three minutes went by before the Hawks went up two, 52-50 at the 1:50 mark. That grew to 54-50 with 1:13 to play, but Keiera Ray sunk two free throws to make it a two-point game again with 57 seconds left. But Saint Joseph's capitalized on a foul and sunk both from the charity stripe to go back up two possessions. After a missed free throw from the Quakers, the Hawks sunk two more and put the game away.
Penn finally gets some rest. The Quakers have played at least every three days since returning from Miami at the start of January. The seven-day layoff leads right into Ivy League weekends where the Red and Blue will start at The Palestra against Dartmouth and Harvard.