PHILADELPHIA - Following the first win in 40 years at Big 5 rival La Salle, Penn (1-2) looks to carry its momentum through the next three days. On Thursday, the Quakers host LIU Brooklyn (0-6) for the first time at The Palestra (7 p.m.), and two days later, the Quakers will leave Philadelphia for the first time this year when they take on Bucknell (4-4) in Lewisburg, Pa. (4 p.m.).
Catching the Game
If you can't make it out to The Palestra on Thursday, fans can watch the game on the Penn Sports Network as part of the Ivy League Digital Network. Live stats can be found at PennAthletics.com. On Saturday, fans can watch the game for free on the Patriot League Network live stats are 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 the game.
In the Series vs. LIU Brooklyn and Bucknell
Penn has had just one prior meeting with LIU Brooklyn as the Quakers took down the Blackbirds, 54-40, in New York City last season. The Quakers are 6-2 against the Northeast Conference under head coach Mike McLaughlin. This will also mark the second straight year Penn has faced the Bison. After a 12-year break between meetings, the Quakers took a 4-3 series advantage with an overtime win at The Palestra last year. Penn has won four in a row over Bucknell and is 1-1 in Lewisburg with a 71-65 loss in 1989 and a three-point win in 1999.
About the Blackbirds
LIU Brooklyn is still searching for its first win of the season. The Blackbirds have dropped the first six—five of which were at home. This will be their longest road trip thus far with their only other away contest coming at Rider on Nov. 14. In the 10-team Northeast Conference, the Blackbirds are last in scoring with 52.7 points per contest so far. They have a league-low field goal percentage of 32.3 and three-point percentage of 18.2. However, LIU is near the top of the league in defensive rebounding, offensive rebounding, steals and turnover margin. Cleandra Roberts leads the team and ranks seventh in the NEC in scoring with an impressive 16.0 points per game. Letava Whippy is second with 7.3 points per contest. Roberts nearly averages a double-double as she is third in the conference with 9.7 rebounds per game. Whippy is second on the team with an average of 6.8 boards. Kelly Robinson has a team-high 17 assists, while Whippy’s 12 steals and Fanny Cavallo’s five blocks lead the Blackbirds. Courtney Sullivan is shooting 26.1 percent from beyond the arc with a team-best six made threes.
About the Bison
Entering Saturday, three of Bucknell’s four losses have come against BCS opponents (Pitt, Penn State, Virginia Tech)—all on the road. The Bison are unbeaten at home. All four of their wins to this point have been decisive—the closest margin was 13 points at Cornell. Due to its strong strength of schedule, Bucknell ranks among the middle of the pack in most of the Patriot League’s statistical categories. The Bison rank last in three-point percentage and turnover margin. However, they are second in the league in blocks and defensive rebounding. Audrey Dotson is second in the league in scoring with a team-best 17.7 average. Shelby Romine is also in double figures in scoring with 11.4 per game. Dotson is a rebound shy of averaging a double-double and has a team-high 12 blocks this year. Romine leads the Bison with 31 assists, eight threes and 12 steals. Claire Maree O’Bryan owns the teams top three-point percentage at 38.9.
Though the Quakers started 0-2, they have faced some tough competition. Entering Thursday, Penn’s first two opponents this season are a combined 13-2. St. Francis Brooklyn is 6-2 and its only two losses are to BCS opponents in St. John’s and Miami (Fla.). No. 4/5 Notre Dame remains undefeated through seven games.
This is a busy stretch for the Quakers. After playing just two games during the first three weeks of the season, Penn will have three games in the next six days and four in the next 10 days. Following Monday’s Big 5 opening victory at La Salle on Monday, the Quakers host LIU Brooklyn on Thursday at The Palestra. Two days later, the Red and Blue leave Philadelphia for the first time this season as they head to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on Bucknell. And then after another quick three-day break its a matchup with Army at The Palestra on Wednesday, Dec. 11. That leads right into Finals at Penn where the Quakers will have 10 days between games before they host the Battle of 33rd Street against Drexel on Dec. 21.
Big, Big 5 Win
Penn’s first win of the season was notable on several fronts:
- It was the program’s first-ever win at Tom Gola Arena and first road win over La Salle since 1973-74.
- The first back-to-back wins over the Explorers in nearly 40 years (1973-75).
- Penn has now won Big 5 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2003-04 and 2004-05.
- First Big 5 road win since Dec. 1, 2004 at Saint Joseph’s (64-57).
- The program’s largest margin of victory in a Big 5 road game.
- The largest margin of victory over a Big 5 team since 1999 vs. Temple (79-50).
- Largest margin of victory over La Salle in 38 years.
Big 5 Records
During an eight-season stretch between 2002-10, the Quakers won three Big 5 games. However, in just the last three-plus seasons and with three more Big 5 games remaining on the schedule this year, the Quakers have equaled that number. Its a daunting task each year for the Quakers. The conference for city bragging rights includes the other four Division I schools in Philadelphia—Temple, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova—all members of upper-tier conferences. To further put the challenge in perspective, head coach Mike McLaughlin is just the fourth Penn coach to win at least three Big 5 games.
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 29-8 (.784) when they score 60 points, including 1-0 this season. In comparison, the Quakers are just 16-65 (.198) 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 9-44 (.170) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 36-29 (.554).
Fourth to 1,400
Senior Alyssa Baron added a season-high 23 points in Penn’s win at La Salle to become the fourth player in program history to surpass 1,400 career points (1,415). This 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, 2012. She is the third-fastest Quaker to accomplish that milestone (60 games) and the first since Carrie 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 career points.
Last Time Out
For the first time in program history, Penn left Tom Gola Arena with a win. It was decisive as the Quakers led their Big 5 opener for nearly the entire game and topped La Salle, 64-54, on Monday night. La Salle scored first and led 4-3, but after Baron scored underneath to put Penn up 5-4 with 16:42 left in the first half, the Explorers never led again. That bucket sparked a 10-0 run over the next four minutes. It was capped by a corner three from Renee Busch. Another quick 7-0 run gave Penn a 24-13 lead with 4:35 left in the half and Penn maintained a 29-22 edge at the break. The last gasp for the Explorers came with eight minutes left. Penn led by just six, but put together an 8-0 run over the next three minutes and La Salle was never again within single digits.
Following this stretch of three games in six days, the Quakers will have a bit of a breather before they host Army at The Palestra on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.