PHILADELPHIA - There is no rest for the weary. After playing three games in five days, Penn has another quick turnaround when it faces the rolling Mountain Hawks of Lehigh on Tuesday at The Palestra. The Quakers had a two-day “break” to prepare for Lehigh (12-2), who has won seven straight. Tip off is at 7 p.m.
Catching the Game
Video and live stats will be available on the Penn Sports Network at PennAthletics.com. A full recap and box score can be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
In the Series
Prior to Lehigh’s two straight wins against Penn, the Quakers won seven in a row against the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh won last season’s matchup handily, but the three previous meetings were all decided by four points or less, including an overtime win for the Red and Blue in 2005. That victory was the last for the Quakers over Lehigh at The Palestra as the Mountain Hawks won, 53-49, at the arena two seasons ago—their only victory on Penn’s home floor since 1995.
About Mountain Hawks
Lehigh has lost just twice—both on the road—and has won seven straight. They fell to Vanderbilt of the SEC and at Princeton. Lehigh has defeated La Salle, Villanova and Duquesne—all teams that Penn fell to earlier this season. Lehigh is the highest scoring team in the Patriot league at nearly 70 points per game. They also lead the league in three-point defense, assists, steals and turnover margin. Erica Prosser just scored her 1,000th career point last week. She is second in the Patriot League in scoring with 16.5 points per game. She also leads the team and the league with 58 assists and 35 steals. Alex Ross (13.1) and Emily Gratch (10.8) also average double figures. Ross is the league-leader with 42 threes this season. Alexa Williams leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per game, followed by Tricia Smith’s 6.5 per contest.
Penn has won five straight when leading at the half. The problem this year has been keeping opponents close within the first 20 minutes. The Quakers haven’t been within five points at intermission in any of their losses this season. The closest they’ve been was a 17-11 deficit at Villanova and they have been down double-digits at the half five times. However, when playing from ahead in the second half, the Quakers have not relinquished the lead since Jan. 2, 2009 against Temple. They led 37-36 and lost 81-70.
Three Times the Trouble
Though the Penn defense ranks second in the Ivy League, the three-point arc has been unkind to the Quakers. Of the 332 Division I programs, only 29 teams have faced a tougher gauntlet of three-point shooting—Penn’s opponents have made 37.8 percent of their attempts. Iowa State, which hit an astounding 60 percent against the Quakers from three, is third in the country in three-point percentage. And things won’t get easier down the road. Cornell ranks sixth in the nation in three-point percentage and Harvard is 13th.
Yes, Penn is undefeated on Thursdays ... Penn has allowed just 61.1 points per game this season, second only to Princeton (54.8) in the Ivy League ... Penn has lost the last nine games in which they have allowed 60 or more points ... In the last three games, three different players have led the team in scoring and three different players have led the team in rebounding.
Last Time Out
Any momentum that Penn had coming off its first win didn’t last long. La Salle took a big lead early in the first half en route to a 67-51 win over the Quakers Saturday at Tom Gola Arena. La Salle jumped out in front early. Jess Knapp’s put back gave the Quakers an early 2-1 lead, but the Explorers scored the game’s next seven points over a four-minute span for an 8-2 advantage. When Jerin Smith got the Quakers back in the scoring column, La Salle scored eight more in a row to take go ahead 16-4 with 13 minutes to go in the half. The deficit grew. La Salle then scored eight of the next 11 points and led 24-7 just past the midway point of the opening session. La Salle led by as many as 18 at 33-15 with 4:56 to play, but Penn scored six straight. Amy Donovan hit a jumper from just inside the three-point arc, then hit two free throws on the next possession. Shortly after, Kim Adams went coast-to-coast, pulling the Quakers to within 33-21. La Salle went into the half up 41-25. But Penn scored four points in the first 40 seconds of the second half. Caitlin Slover knocked home a deep jumper and Knapp’s layup made it 41-29. The new-found momentum was short lived. La Salle went on an 8-0 run and the Quakers were back down by 19. Penn managed just two free throws over a nine-minute drought and La Salle pushed the lead to 58-33 with 11:45 remaining. Despite trailing 62-38 with 7:20 to go, Penn continued to fight. They held the Explorers without a single point for the next 4:55. In the meantime, they found some consistency on the offensive end. They closed the gap to 62-46 with 3:12 remaining, but the teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way.
Its the first Ivy League game of the season at The Palestra against Princeton on Jan. 9. Tip off is at 7 p.m.
Download: 1-5-10 Lehigh.pdf