PHILADELPHIA - As is tradition, the first Ivy League game of the season will be played between Penn and Princeton. This year, the opener will be played at The Palestra at 7 p.m. Saturday. Penn has had a tough non-conference season, while Princeton had its best in team history.
In the Series
Saturday’s contest will be the 67th between the two rivals. Princeton has won 43 after it swept the season series last year and has now won seven of the last eight meetings. Penn’s last win came at The Palestra on March 11, 2008, but that has been the Quakers’ lone victory since winning five straight from 2003-05. Princeton coach Courtney Banghart is 3-1 against Penn in two seasons, while this will be the first Ivy League contest of any kind for head coach Mike McLaughlin.
No other team in the Ivy League finished with a better non-conference record than that of Princeton. The Tigers have won seven in a row and have lost to only national powerhouses Rutgers and UCLA. Princeton touts the best defense in the Ivy League, holding opponents under 55 points and have won by an average of 17.4 points per game. Eleven of the Tigers’ 12 wins have been by double-digits. They have the best shooting percentage among the Ivies and turn the ball over a league-low 15 times per game. Freshman Niveen Rasheed leads the team with 16.8 points per game, followed by Addie Micir (13.1), Lauren Edwards (12.7) and Devona Allgood (10.2)—all in double-digits. Rasheed (7.8) and Allgood (7.6) are the top rebounders, while Rasheed also leads the Tigers with 40 assists and 30 steals.
For the fifth straight season and the eighth time in the last nine years, the Ivy League opener will be played between these two long-time rivals. Princeton has won six of the first seven, including the last four. The last time Penn opened Ivy play against someone other than the Tigers was at Yale in 2005—the last time the Quakers won their first league game. Last decade, Penn was 3-7 in its opening league game and 4-6 in Ivy League home openers, dropping the last five.
Penn has won five straight when leading at the half ... Penn is undefeated on Thursdays ... Penn has allowed just 61.5 points per game this season, second only to Princeton (54.4) in the Ivy League ... Penn has lost the last 10 games in which they have allowed 60 or more points ... In the last four games, three different players have led the team in scoring and three different players have led the team in rebounding.
A Penn Win Would...
... be the second in four games overall.
... be the fourth in the last five Ivy games.
... break a two-game losing streak to the Tigers.
A Penn Loss Would...
... make the Quakers 1-12 overall and 0-1 in the Ivy League.
... be the second straight Ivy loss—both to Princeton (lost in 2009 season finale).
... be the fourth in the last five games against Princeton at The Palestra.
... be less good than a win.
Last Time Out
Against the defending Patriot League champions, Penn challenged Lehigh throughout much of the game, but the Mountain Hawks pulled away late for a 66-51 victory at The Palestra on Tuesday night. Penn scored on its first two possessions, securing a quick 4-0 edge. It was a lead they would cling to over the next five minutes. It took more than three minutes before the high-scoring Mountain Hawks even got on the scoreboard. It was another two minutes before they scored another bucket, but it did give Lehigh a 5-4 lead. On the ensuing possession, the Quakers broke their own scoreless streak to regain the lead. And though the Mountain Hawks scored the next four, Penn responded with back-to-back buckets to regain the lead at 11-9 with 11:22 to go in the half. The lead exchanged hands seven times in the first half and when Adams snuck in a layup, Penn was down just two, 17-15, with 6:27 left before intermission. It was 19-17 when the Mountain Hawks started to open up a lead. They scored five straight and led by as many as nine, 30-21, before an Adams layup ended the half at 30-23. The Quakers scored the first four of the second half, finding themselves down 30-27. However, seven straight gave Lehigh a double-digit edge with 15:59 to play. Knapp drained a three and a layup on the next possession. Her efforts pulled Penn within 37-32 with 15:01 remaining. Lehigh then scored five straight and eventually had a 48-37 advantage. Penn then scored five in a row to pull within 48-42. Lehigh finally started to pull away, putting together a run of 12-3 over the next four minutes and were up 60-45 with 5:04 to left in the game.
There are just two non-conference games remaining and both are against Big 5 opponents. The penultimate matchup is with St. Joseph’s at noon on Tuesday and the finale is at Temple at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Download: distance classic 2010 brochure.pdf