Big 5 Rematch in Second Round of WNIT on Sunday

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PHILADELPHIA -Its a Big 5 postseason rematch in the second round of the WNIT as Penn (21-8, 11-3 Ivy) hosts Temple (17-16, 12-6 AAC) on Sunday at The Palestra. The Quakers earned the program’s first-ever Big 5 title with a last-second win over the Owls on Jan. 5, and now they’ll attempt to earn the Ivy League’s first-ever WNIT Sweet 16 appearance. The rematch can be seen for free on the Ivy League Digital Network or ESPN3.com. Tip off is set for 2 p.m.

Catching the Game
Tickets can be purchased here. Fans can also watch the WNIT First Round matchup for FREE on ESPN3.com or the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN.tv). Live stats can be found here, while live twitter updates will also be available (@PennWBB). A complete recap, box score and highlights can be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. Temple: 46th Meeting
For the first time since 1994-95, Penn has won back-to-back games over the Owls. Last season, the Quakers ended a nine-game losing streak to Temple with a 74-70 victory at McGonigle Hall, and on Jan. 5, the Quakers won at the buzzer, 52-50. However, Temple has won 32 of the 45 all-time meetings. Penn had not won a home game over the Owls since Nov. 20, 1999 and now will attempt to do so twice in the same season. The Quakers haven’t won back-to-back games over Temple at The Palestra since 1995. This will be the second time these Big 5 rivals face off twice in a season as both teams played in the 1985 Rainbow Converse Classic at Hawaii (Penn lost, 83-39).

End of a Storied Career
Senior Kara Bonenberger, who suffered a career-ending injury in the first round of the WNIT against Hofstra, also set the school record that day with her 117th career game played (Alyssa Baron played 116 from 2011-14). Bonenberger has played in every single game since stepping onto campus—until today. She has started 92 consecutive games dating back to Senior Day of her freshman year (Feb. 25, 2012)—which was 1,120 days ago. Bonenberger is the only player in school history with a Big 5 title, Ivy League title and 1,000 career points. She racked up 1,068 career points and will finish in 14th place on Penn’s all-time scoring list.

A Look at Penn’s Recent Postseason Experience
Prior to this school-record stretch of three straight postseason appearances, Penn had never been to the postseason in back-to-back years. In 2013, Penn posted the first two postseason wins in program history with home wins over Howard (65-60) and Fairfield (49-48) in the opening two rounds of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Penn then lost in the semifinals at Detroit, 71-68. Last season, the Red and Blue led fifth-seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by as many as 15 in the first half (32-17), and seven at halftime (38-31), but ultimately fell, 79-61.

Record vs. Postseason Teams
Overall, Penn played seven games and went 2-6 against postseason teams this season. In addition to an 0-3 mark against NCAA Tournament teams Princeton and Tennessee, the Quakers were 1-3 against WNIT opponents, which includes wins over Richmond and Temple, and losses to Villanova, Drexel and Hampton.

Non-Conference Success
With the victory over Hofstra in the first round, Penn now has 10 wins outside of league play and matched the school record for most non-conference win in a season (tied last season’s Ivy championship team). Prior to Coach McLaughlin, the Quakers had won nine non-league games only once in program history, but have done so in each of the last three years. Penn also set a school record with its fourth straight season at .500 or better against non-league competition.

Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Penn has won 33 straight regular season games when scoring more than 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 60-9 (.870) when they reach that number (33-1 over the last two seasons with only loss to Texas in NCAA Tournament, 79-61). In comparison, the Quakers are just 27-77 (.260) 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 17-53 (.242) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 70-33 (.680).

Improbable Feat
Penn clinched a share of its first Big 5 championship on Jan. 5. It was an improbable feat. In the 36-year history of the Big 5, not only had Penn never won the Philadelphia basketball conference, but they had never come close. Penn had never finished higher than third in the five-team city conference. The Quakers had won a total of just 18 Big 5 games over the first 35 seasons. That’s a combined record of 18-122 (.129). In 19 of those 35 years, Penn did not win a single game at 0-4, and only ONCE prior to 2013-14 had the Quakers won more than one Big 5 game in a season.

Enter Coach McLaughlin...
Under head coach Mike McLaughlin, the Quakers have won seven Big 5 games in the last six years, including a 5-3 (.625) mark over the last two seasons. Prior to that, Penn won a total of seven Big 5 games between 1994-2009 (15 seasons). In all, in the 30 years prior to the Coach McLaughlin era, Penn won just 14 Big 5 games. That gives Coach McLaughlin one-third of Penn’s all-time Big 5 wins. He already owns the school-record with seven career Big 5 victories—surpassing Julie Soriero, who won five in eight seasons.

Double Trouble
Sophomore Sydney Stipanovich has six double-doubles this season and 16 for her career—ninth-most all-time at Penn. Her 10 double-doubles last season were the most in a season at Penn since Jennifer Fleischer in 2004-05. This season, the St. Louis, Mo., native had a double-double in two of Penn’s Big 5 games (and a near triple-double in a third Big 5 contest). In the three wins over the Big 5 en route to the program’s first city conference title, Stipanovich averaged an impressive 13.7 points per game, 11.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks.

Ivy League Postseason Record
Sydney Stipanovich, who won Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season, set an Ivy League single-game postseason record with eight blocks in the first round win over Hofstra. That also eclipsed the Ivy League postseason record for a team.

Penn Trends
Penn has won seven of the last eight games at The Palestra ... Penn’s current starting lineup is 9-1 ... The Quakers have won 26 of the last 27 and are 44-2 (.957) over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent ... The Red and Blue have won 22 of the last 24 games when their free throw percentage is better than 70 percent ... Penn has won 39 of the last 41 games when outrebounding its opponent ... Penn is undefeated in regulation under head coach Mike McLaughlin (23-0) when scoring more than 70 points, and 24-1 overall (only loss came in double overtime, 88-84, at Harvard in 2011) ... Penn is 18-2 this season when leading at the half, but 3-6 when trailing ... Penn has made a three in 154 straight games.

A Penn Win Would...
... improve the Quakers to 4-0 all-time in postseason games at The Palestra.
... mark the 11th in the last 12 games and 14th in the last 16 games.
... give Coach McLaughlin a 4-2 postseason record at Penn.
... be the seventh in the last eight games at The Palestra.
... mark the first back-to-back home wins over Temple since 1995.
... mark the first three-game winning streak over Temple since 1980-82.
... earn the Ivy League’s first-ever Sweet 16 appearance in the WNIT or NCAA.
... set a school record with the 11th non-conference win of the season.
... match the school record for wins in a season and improve the Quakers to 22-8 on the season.

A Penn Loss Would...
... be the first postseason loss at The Palestra.
... conclude the 2014-15 season with 21-9 record overall.
... be less good than a win.

About the Owls
- Temple finished the regular season at 16-15 and 12-6 against the American Athletic Conference. After a loss to fifth-seeded East Carolina in the first round of the AAC Tournament, the Owls earned an at-large berth to the WNIT. Temple advanced to the second round with a road win over Marist on Thursday, 67-54.
- The Owls ranked among the middle of the pack in most categories in the AAC, but were tops in free throw percentage (.728), and second only to top-ranked UConn in made threes (6.4/game). They were also second with 15.4 offensive rebounds per game.
- Temple is led by freshman Alliya Butts, who averages a team-best 12.4 points per game. Erica Coville scores at an 11.7 clip and leads the Owls with 8.3 rebounds per contest. Tyonna Williams has made 58 threes this season and leads Temple with 105 assists. Safiya Martin has a team-high 41 blocks, while Butts is third in the AAC with 67 steals.

Last Time Out: W, 65-58 vs. Hofstra
In front of a postseason home crowd at the Cathedral of College Basketball, Penn held on down the stretch to win its first-ever WNIT game, 65-58, over Hofstra on Thursday night. Sydney Stipanovich was one of three Quakers in double figures and set an Ivy League postseason record with eight blocks (second-most in a game in school history). She also single-handedly topped the Ivy League team record for blocks in a postseason game. Senior Kara Bonenberger went out with an injury in the opening minutes and Hofstra jumped out to a 15-10 lead. Penn rallied to take the lead and then use an 11-2 run to open up a 38-29 advantage at the break. The Quakers went up 45-31 with 15:38 to play and maintained that edge for most of the half. Stipanovich hit a deep jumper for a 58-45 advantage with just 3:26 left, but Hofstra went on a 10-0 run in two minutes to pull within three, but Stipanovich hit a jumper to go back up five with under a minute to go and the Pride were never within a single possession again.

Up Next
Sunday’s winner will be the first team to advance to the Sweet 16 in the WNIT. Once there, the Owls or Quakers will take on the survivor of East Carolina and N.C. State. The Wolfpack travel to East Carolina for a 4 p.m. tip on Sunday. The Sweet 16 matchup will be at a date and time to be determined.

#FightOnPenn

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