Big 5 Foe St. Joe's Awaits Women's Basketball

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PHILADELPHIA - Prior to the start of Finals, the Quakers (3-3, 1-0 Big 5) have one final test on the court. Penn takes on Big 5 foe Saint Joseph’s at The Palestra on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Red and Blue have defeated the Hawks just once in their history, but have held a second-half lead in each of the last three meetings. The game is the first of a doubleheader with the Penn men, who match up with Marist at 8 p.m. Both games can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Catching the Game
Tickets for the doubleheader are $14. For those unable to make it out to The Palestra, fans can watch the Big 5 matchup on the Ivy League Digital Network ( Live stats can be found at Live twitter updates (@PennWBB) are also available. A complete recap and box score can be found at shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. Saint Joseph’s
Tuesday marks the 40th meeting between these Big 5 rivals and Penn has won just once in the previous 39 matchups against Saint Joseph’s. That victory came in Hagan Arena in 2004 (64-57). Since then, the Hawks have won nine straight, including last year’s meeting at Hagan where the game was tied with under two minutes to play. Penn Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is 5-16 overall against the Big 5 in five-plus seasons and 4-11 against the Atlantic-10, including a win over La Salle in the home opener.

A motto the team has adopted as defending champions that pride themselves on defense. It showed in Penn’s Big 5 opener against La Salle. Shortly after raising the Ivy League championship banner in the home opener against the Explorers, the Quakers held La Salle to 29 total points—the fewest Penn has allowed in a game since a 65-29 win over Temple on Jan. 17, 1995.

Zero Threes
Also in Penn’s last Big 5 matchup, the Quakers held La Salle without a three-pointer. That’s the third time the Quakers have shut out an opponent behind the arc under Coach McLaughlin and the first since a win over Cornell on Feb. 22, 2013. On the contrary, Penn has made a three in every game since a home loss to Harvard on Feb. 6, 2010—a span of 131 games.

Big 5 Milestones
Penn’s win over La Salle on Nov. 19 set several other milestones for the Quakers...
...third-largest margin of victory in a Big 5 game and largest since Jan. 17, 1995 vs. Temple.
...marked the first time Penn has won a Big 5 game in three consecutive seasons since 1999-02.
...Coach McLaughlin became just the second Penn coach with five career Big 5 wins.
...marked four Big 5 wins in a three-year span for the first time ever.
...first-ever three-game winning streak over La Salle.
...first three-game win streak over any Big 5 opponent since 1980-82 (Temple).
...third straight 1-0 start in Big 5 play (had never done so in two consecutive seasons).

Tough Non-Conference Slate
This season the Quakers will face one of the toughest non-league slates in recent memory. In addition to the season opener at No. 4 Tennessee, the Quakers will host all four Big 5 rivals (Villanova, Temple, Saint Joseph’s and La Salle) and walk up the road for this year’s Battle for 33rd Street at Drexel. The Red and Blue also scheduled New Hampshire, who finished 19-12 last season, and four-time defending MEAC champion Hampton (28-5), who lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Michigan State. Penn also took a trip to Annapolis to face Navy, who finished 24-8 last year and reached the WNIT. Four of Penn’s first six opponents won at least 19 games last year and, in all, Penn will play nine games against teams that played in the postseason last year.

Sydney Stipanovich picked up where she left off. The sophomore had six blocks in the season opener at No. 4 Tennessee which finished one shy of the opponent record at Thompson-Boling Arena, last set by Brittany Griner. In addition, Stipanovich became just the fourth Penn player to surpass 100 career blocks (reminder, she was playing her first game of her sophomore season). She just surpassed Penn Athletics and Big 5 Hall of Famer Diana Caramanico for third-place on the school’s all-time career blocks list (just five games into her sophomore season) and is six blocks from second place.

Home Sweet Home
Penn’s nine-game home winning streak came to an end on Friday against Hampton. It was the second-longest home winning streak in school history—only bettered by a 10-game stretch during the Ivy League championship 2000-01 season. Overall, the Quakers have won 12 of 14 at The Palestra since a 76-54 defeat at the hands of No. 5/6 Notre Dame on Nov. 23, 2013.

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 49-9 (.845) when they score 60 points, including 22-1 over the last two seasons (only loss was to Texas in NCAA Tournament, 79-61). In comparison, the Quakers are just 20-71 (.220) when they’ve scored less than 60 points under Coach McLaughlin. The trend continues defensively. Over the last six seasons, the Red and Blue are 13-48 (.213) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 56-32 (.636).

A Penn Wins Would...
... be just the second all-time against Saint Joseph’s and first since 2004.
... tie Coach McLaughlin for the most Big 5 coaching wins in school history.
... tie a school record for most Big 5 wins in a season.
... set the school record for most Big 5 wins in a two-year span.
... be the first back-to-back seasons with two Big 5 wins.
... make Penn 2-0 in the Big 5 for the second time in school history (2004-05).
... make the Quakers 4-3 to start the season.

A Penn Loss Would...
... be the 10th straight to Saint Joseph’s and 39th in 40 meetings.
... make the Quakers 3-4 this season.
... be less good than two wins.

Last Time Out: L, 58-43 vs. Hampton
An impressive nine-game home winning streak -- the second-longest in school history -- came to an end on Friday night when four-time defending MEAC champion Hampton used an early second-half run to surge past the Penn, 58-43, at The Palestra. It was a game of runs. A series of small ones in the first half, and then a game-changing stretch to start the second half. Penn maintained a 23-15 edge before the Pirates scored six of the next seven to get within a possession. However, freshman Anna Ross tacked on four straight points to halt Hampton’s momentum and send the Quakers into the break with a 31-26 lead. The largest run of the day came at the start of the second half and was ultimately the deciding factor. The Quakers missed their first 10 shots of the half and the Pirates capitalized with an 18-2 run over the first eight minutes for a 44-33 advantage. Hampton held its largest lead, 58-39, with just over four minutes to play.

Up Next
School work will take precedent for the next 10 days or so as Finals start at Penn. The Quakers won’t hit the court for another game until Dec. 20 when they take one of the shortest road trips in all of college basketball. Penn players and staff will walk to Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center on the north side of 33rd street for the annual Battle of 33rd Street with the Dragons. Tip off is set for 2 p.m.


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