Philadelphia, Pa.- The Palestra
Dec. 31, 2005
THE GAME - Penn (1-8) returns from its holiday break to face non-conference foe Marist (5-4), Saturday afternoonat The Palestra. The Quakers are still looking for a win to snap their eight-game losing skid, the longest for the team since the 1996-97 season. In its last game, Penn’s inexperience on the court due to multiple injuries was exposed by neighborhood rival Drexel, as the Quakers fell to the Dragons 78-44. The Red Foxes have won five straight games after starting the season 0-4 thanks to a brutal opening stretch that included national power Connecticut and 25th-ranked New Mexico. Marist will try and make it two straight against the Ivy League, as it defeated Harvard, 44-39, in its last game out on Dec. 17.
THE SERIES - This will be the sixth meeting between Marist and Penn, in a series that began in 1995. The Red Foxes hold a 3-2 advantage over the Quakers, including a 59-58 win in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., last season.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET - The Quakers overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as Penn was edged by Marist, 59-58, on Dec. 11, 2004, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.With Marist ahead 35-21 in the second half, Penn started to chip away at the lead behind the sharp shooting of Monica Naltner, who netted 11 of her 17 points in the second stanza. After Jennifer Fleischer’s jumper with 41 seconds left brought Penn within two, the Red Foxes’ Fifi Camara sank two free throws to put her team up by four with 12 seconds left. Naltner nailed a three-pointer with 1.5 ticks left but the Quakers could not regain possession.
BITTEN BY THE INJURY BUG - The Quakers will have to play the remainder of the season without starting guard Lauren Pears, who injured her knee after she fell awkwardly to the floor against American. The junior was leading the team in assists and steals and was third in rebounds per game. In addition, junior captain Monica Naltner was sidelined for the last two games with a knee injury of her own, but will be in uniform today and could see time. Sophomore Brilynne Parrish has also missed the last four games due to an ankle injury and is doubtful for today.
THE RHOAD TO VICTORY - Junior guard Joey Rhoads has recently showed why she has the potential to be one of the top shooters in the Ivy League this season. The Huntingdon Valley, Pa., native has been a huge bright spot for Penn, averaging 21.7 points over the last three games while shooting 46.8 percent from the field (including a stellar 52.6 percent from three-point range). Rhoads notched her second 20-point game against Saint Joseph’s, scoring 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting against the Hawks. Her third 20-point effort came on Dec. 10 at American, as she dropped a career-high 27 points and nine assists on the Eagles, including a dramatic game-tying three-pointer with 9.3 seconds left to force the game into overtime. In Penn’s season-opening, 76-73 overtime triumph over Lehigh, she scored 26 points (including acareer-high six three-pointers), tallying five of those points in the extra frame to pace her team. For her efforts, she was named Ivy League Player of the Week for the first time in her career.
AGAINST THE MAAC - Penn holds an 8-10 all-time record against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schools. Penn also play MAAC opponent Rider on Jan. 10 at The Palestra.
FRONT AND CENTER - In the Quakers’ second game against 21st-ranked Temple, senior center Jennifer Fleischer had the daunting task of guarding the Owls’ All-America candidate, Candice Dupree. Despite Penn’s loss, Fleischer showed why she could be a force to be reckoned with this season. She notched her 19th-career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, including three offensive boards. Fleischer also held Dupree to zero points for the first 15 minutes of the game. The New Hartford, N.Y., native also added two blocks and a steal defensively. Fleischer followed up that performance with a 23-point, 18 rebound showing in two games at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. She was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts. Fleischer has three double-doubles this season and 21 total for her career. As illustrated below, Fleischer is also among the school career leaders in rebounds and blocked shots.
Penn Career Rebounds
1,207 Diana Caramanico (1998-2001)
972 Natasha Rezek (1991-93, 1994-96)
933 Jewel Clark (2001-04)
847 Kirsten Brendel (1988-91)
749 Auretha Fleming (1981-84)
691 Diane DiBonaventuro (1978-82)
671 Jennifer Fleischer (2003-present)
Penn Career Blocked Shots
194 Katarina Poulsen (1991-94)
114 Diana Caramanico (1998-2001)
92 Jennifer Fleischer (2003-present)
82 Jewel Clark (2001-04)
HUSKY CLASSIC - The Quakers dropped both games at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. (Nov. 26-27), despite strong second-half comebacks in both games. Against San Diego, Penn fought back from a 19-point halftime deficit to close the gap to within four points until the Toreros pulled away at the end. Senior center Jennifer Fleischer had a strong weekend for the Quakers, tallying 23 points and 18 rebounds en route to an All-Tournament Team selection. Junior forward Monica Naltner paced Penn with 27 points in two games.
FREE BASKETBALL - The Quakers’ 76-73 win over Lehigh was just the second time in the program’s history that a season opener has gone into overtime (the other was in 1995, an 81-76 loss at Richmond). Penn holds a 9-8 all-time record in overtime games, including a 2-2 mark under Coach Patrick Knapp.
25 YEARS OF BIG 5 WOMEN’S HOOPS! - This season marks the 25th year of women’s basketball in the Big 5. In one of the most storied and unique traditions in all of college basketball, the five Philadelphia institutions (Penn, La Salle, Villanova, Saint Joseph’s and Temple) have faced each other each year in round-robin format. The Quakers were actually involved in the first-ever Big 5 women’s basketball game on Dec. 2, 1979, against Villanova (The Quakers lost 72-56 to a Wildcats team that would finish with a 20-5 overall record). To commemorate that event, the Big 5 celebrated 25 years at halftime of the Nova-Penn game this year on December 4. With help from longtime Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Mel Greenberg, the Big 5 honored its top-25 players of all-time. Penn had two players named to the list, including all-time leading scorer Diana Caramanico (1998-2001) and Kirsten Brendel (1988-91), who is third on the all-time scoring list.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PALESTRA - Penn men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball and wrestling matches are played at the historic Palestra, the most storied gymnasium in the history of collegiate athletics. The Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams and more NCAA Tournaments than any other facility. Located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, The Palestra was given its name by Greek professor Dr. William N. Bates, who felt the name logical because in ancient Greece, young men would compete in a variety of events in a rectangular enclosure attached to the gymnasium to the view of all who would come a Palestra. The name was widely accepted by the organizing committee for it fit the specifications: authenticity, dignity, descriptive, and novelty. So, in 1927, “The Palestra” was opened. The women’s team currently has a 196-186 all-time record (.513) at The Palestra.
THE CAPTAINS - Senior Henley Hanson and juniors Joey Rhoads and Monica Naltner will be the team’s leading voices this season as tri-captains on the court.
NEXT TIME OUT - Penn and Princeton will kick off the Ivy League season on Saturday, Jan. 7, at The Palestra. The two rivals will tip-off at 7 p.m., with the game to be televised regionally on the YES Network.