PHILADELPHIA - Senior Night highlights the final home weekend of the season for the Quakers. Penn (19-6, 9-2 Ivy) looks to remain atop the Ivy standings as Columbia (6-20, 3-9 Ivy) visits on Friday (7 p.m.) and Cornell (14-12, 6-6 Ivy) comes to The Palestra on Saturday (8 p.m.). The matchup with the Big Red marks the final home game for four Penn seniors and both games can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.
Support the Seniors
Come out to The Palestra to support one of the program's most successful senior classes (see below for a ridiculously list of accomplishments from Coach McLaughlin's first recruiting class)! Get in to each game for free with a Penn ID.
Friday - the first 50 students receive free pretzels. It is also Family Night at The Palestra and Rally Towel giveaway night (first 150 fans) sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Dairy Associaion & Chocolate Milk).
Saturday - a social media special: all those following @PennWBB get in for FREE! Also, anyone with a ticket to the EIWA Championships at The Palestra this weekend can see Saturday's Senior Night game for free.
Catching the Games
If you can't make it out to The Palestra this weekend, you can watch both games on the Penn Sports Network. Live stats can be found here and 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. Columbia/Cornell
In 56 all-time meetings with the Lions, the Quakers have won 38 of them. That includes five in a row and four of the last five at The Palestra. Columbia’s last win in the series was Feb. 25, 2011 at Levien Gymnasium. Meanwhile, the Quakers have won three in a row over Cornell after the Big Red won five of the first six meetings in the Coach McLaughlin era. Overall, the Quakers lead the all-time series with Cornell, 51-19, but the Big Red are 10-7 against Penn since 2006. The last six matchups at The Palestra have each been decided by double digits with both teams claiming three wins.
Penn enters the weekend tied in first place with Princeton. The Ivy League regular season champion earns a berth in the NCAA Tournament and the second place finisher automatically earns a bid to the WNIT. Both teams are one game ahead of Harvard in the standings. For the program’s first-ever WNIT bid, the Quakers own the tiebreaker (head-to-head) with Harvard after the first season sweep of the Crimson in 13 years. Penn’s magic number to clinch the program’s first-ever back-to-back postseason appearances is two (every Penn win and Harvard loss counts toward that number).
Two Penn Wins Would...
... clinch a postseason berth and keep the Quakers in first-place heading into the season finale.
... be the first 11-2 start in Ivy play since 2003-04 team went 11-2 en route to the Ivy title.
... make the Quakers 21-6 overall and 11-2 in Ivy play.
One Penn Win Would...
... mark the second 20-win season in school history.
... be just the fourth season in program history with 10 or more Ivy League wins.
... keep the Quakers in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament berth heading into the season finale.
... clinch a postseason berth (WNIT) with a Harvard loss.
... make the Quakers 20-7 overall and 10-3 in Ivy play.
Two Penn Losses Would...
... snap a five-game home winning streak.
... make the Quakers 19-8 overall and 9-4 in Ivy play.
... be less good than two wins.
Its Senior Night on Saturday for four accomplished Quakers—Kristen Kody, Alyssa Baron, Courtney Wilson and Meghan McCullough. The season prior to their arrival, Penn went 2-26. Since then, the Class of 2014 has set a plethora of milestones:
- First two postseason wins in program history and first postseason berth since 2003-04.
- Just Penn’s fifth Senior Class with more than 60 career wins (61).
- Second-most wins (19 in 2013-14) and third-most wins in school history (18 in 2012-13).
- Most non-conference wins in school history (10 in 2013-14) and second-most non-conference win in school history (9 in 2012-13).
- Second-longest winning streak in school history (9 in 2013-14) and third-longest winning streak in school history (8 in 2013-14).
- School record eight-game non-conference winning streak (2013-14).
- Posted the program’s largest single-season turnaround as freshmen.
- Snapped 24-game and six-year Big 5 losing streak as freshmen.
- Matched school record with two Big 5 wins in same season (2013-14).
- Recorded program’s first-ever win over an ACC opponent (at Miami on Jan. 1, 2014).
- Snapped a string of seven straight losing seasons and posted first back-to-back winning seasons since 2002-05.
- Second Senior Class to improve win total each year (only other class was last year, 2012-13).
- Best 10-game start in school history (8-2 in 2013-14).
- Snapped a 17-game and nine-year losing streak to Harvard and has won three of the last four.
- Largest comeback in school history (19 points vs. Drexel on Dec. 21, 2013) and second-largest comeback in school history (18 points at St. Francis Brooklyn on Dec. 5, 2012).
There are plenty more—see page five of the game notes for several milestones set over Harvard set this year—as well as a plethora of individual accomplishments for each, but as a group, the Senior Class of 2014 will go down as one of the most successful in school history.
Sydney Stipanovich is sixth in the nation (and tops among freshman in the NCAA) with an Ivy League-leading 3.64 blocks per game. Her 91 blocks in 25 games are more than every Ivy League team other than Princeton (98). The next closest Ivy player is Harvard’s Temi Fagbenle with 38 blocks in 26 games. In addtion, Stipanovich has already set the school’s single-season blocks record—she surpassed the 20-year-old with eight games still remaining—and is now fourth on the Ivy League’s all-time single-season blocks list. Prior to this season, no Penn player had ever recorded eight blocks in a game, but Stipanovich has done so three times this year. One week after setting the school record at eight, she broke her own single-game mark with nine blocks against Harvard on Feb. 1—third-most all-time in an Ivy League game.
As they say, defense wins championships. And the Quakers boast one of the nation’s best:
- Only two teams in the nation are tougher to score on than the Quakers. Penn ranks third in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense. The Quakers allow opponents to shoot at just a 34.0 percent clip—which is bettered only by top-ranked and undefeated UCONN, who holds the opposition to 30.3 percent, and Hampton (33.2%).
- With that effort, the Red and Blue are 13th in the country in scoring defense as opponents only average 56.3 points per game.
- As a team, Penn ranks 10th in the NCAA in blocked shots. The Quakers, who broke the single-game team record with 12 blocks in their last matchup with Yale, average a league-best 5.6 blocks per game.
- Penn is also one of the most disciplined teams in the country as the Quakers have committed the 10th-fewest fouls among 343 Division I schools.
Penn finished a tough non-conference slate ranked last in the Ancient Eight in three-point percentage at 27.2 percent (64-of-235). But in Ivy League play (11 games), the Quakers lead the league at 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. That’s due in part of the hot shooting of junior Kathleen Roche (20-of-38; 52.6%), who leads the league from three-point range in conference play. In addition, Alyssa Baron averages a league-high 17.1 points per game in Ivy play.
Rising in the Records
Senior captain Alyssa Baron is the only player in school history with 1,700 career points and 300 career assists. She is 22 points from becoming the Ivy League’s ninth all-time leading scorer. See pages 20-21 of the game notes for a complete breakdown of where she ranks among these and many other categories in the Penn and Ivy League all-time record books.
Penn is 19-4 in its last 23 games ... Penn has won nine of the last 10 at The Palestra ... The Red and Blue are 12-1 when their free throw percentage is better than 70 percent and just 7-5 when it is below that mark ... At least two Quakers have scored in double figures in all but one game this year ... Sydney Stipanovich’s nine double-doubles this year are the most in a season at Penn since Jennifer Fleischer finished with 10 in 2004-05 ... Penn has won 25 of the last 26 games when outrebounding its opponent ... The Quakers are 14-0 this year (and 32-1 over the last three seasons) when shooting better than 40 percent ... Penn has reached 70 points in nine games this year (reached that number a combined nine times during Coach McLaughlin’s first four seasons) and is 17-1 under Coach McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points (only loss in double overtime, 88-84, at Harvard in 2011).
Prior to this season, Penn had just one winning streak of eight or more games in its entire history. The Quakers have two this season. The 2013-14 Quakers won a school-record eight straight non-conference games earlier this season and won nine straight games prior to a loss at Dartmouth on Feb. 22. Before this year, Penn’s only eight-game winning streak came in 2000-01 when the Quakers went 22-6 and won their last 21 regular season games.
Penn has clinched its second straight winning season. Last year, the Quakers snapped a string of seven straight losing campaigns and finished 18-13. The last time Penn posted back-to-back winning seasons was 2003-04 (17-11) and 2004-05 (15-12). In addition, Penn’s 35 wins in the last two seasons are the most in a two-year span since the program’s best two-year stretch of 40 wins between 1999-00 (18-10) and 2000-01 (22-6).
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 45-8 (.849) when they score 60 points, including 18-0 this season. In comparison, the Quakers are just 18-69 (.207) when they’ve scored less than 60 points under Coach McLaughlin, including 1-6 this season. The trend continues defensively. Over the last four seasons, the Red and Blue are 12-46 (.207) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 51-31 (.622).
Tough Start, Tough Stretch
Excluding Dartmouth, Penn’s five other losses have come against some of the nation’s best, including No. 2 Notre Dame. All five have at least 18 wins and three are ranked or have received Top 25 votes. In all, those five losses came against teams with a combined record of 108-32 (.771).
About the Lions
- In Penn’s nine Ivy League wins, Columbia is only team to come within single digits and the only team to score 60 points against the Quakers. The Lions won at Dartmouth and at Brown, and also topped Cornell at home. They led Harvard at the half on Saturday and their previous two games were each single-digit losses (at Yale, vs. Dartmouth).
- Columbia is seventh in the Ivy League in scoring and eighth in points allowed. The Lions are also last in field goal percentage (.368), but shot 44 percent in the first meeting. The Lions rank fifth in the league from beyond the arc at 32.2 percent and are fifth in rebounding.
- Reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week Tori Oliver leads the team with 10.8 points per game after a 33-point effort against Dartmouth last week. Miwa Tachibana averages 10.2 points. Amara Mbionwu pulls in 5.9 rebounds per game. Taylor Ward has a team-high 79 assists and 35 steals. Courtney Bradford leads the team with 16 blocks.
About the Big Red
- Cornell is fourth in the Ivy League and has won two of its last three with the only loss a four-point defeat to Harvard. The Big Red were 8-6 in the non-conference and have swept Dartmouth and Brown, and added home wins over Columbia and Yale in league play.
- The Big Red own the second-best defense in the Ivy League behind Penn. They allow just 62.8 points per game and lead the league with 9.0 steals per game. Offensively, Cornell is third in the Ivies in field goal percentage at 40.8 percent and second in assists at 15.5 per game. They are also second in the league in turnover margin at plus-2.65.
- Allyson DiMagno averages a team-high 13.9 points per game. Nia Marshall is also in double figures at 12.8 per game. DiMagno is second in the league with 8.7 rebounds per game and tied with Marshall for third in the Ivies in steals with 1.8 per game. Kerri Moran is second in assists behind Penn’s Meghan McCullough with 3.5 per game.
Penn moved back into a first-place tie atop the Ivy League. The Quakers endured some hot shooting at the start of their matchup with the Bears. But Penn used a 13-1 run late in the second half to lead by 12 at intermission. The Bears closed to within nine midway through the second half, but the Red and Blue allowed them no closer and won by 16. The following night, Penn once again grabbed a double-digit lead at the half behind some hot shooting of its own. Junior Kathleen Roche tied a career-high with six threes and was one shy of tying the school record. She hit four of those in the opening 20 minutes and a pair in the second half as the Quakers led by as many as 22 and cruised to another road win down the stretch.
As is Ivy League tradition, the Penn and Princeton matchups serve as the first and last games of the league schedule. This year’s season finale is at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym and tip off is set for 5:30 p.m. It is the first game of a doubleheader as the men’s teams are set to start at 8 p.m.