Penn Squares Off With Saint Joseph's Tonight

Game 6

Saint Joseph's (6-0)

at Penn (1-5)
Philadelphia, Pa. - The Palestra

Dec. 7, 2005
Tip-off - 7p.m.

THE GAME - Penn (1-5) has the daunting task of trying to rebound from a pair of lopsided losses to Delaware and Villanova when it faces undefeated Saint Joseph’s (6-0), in a Big 5 match-up at The Palestra. The Quakers have lost five-straight games since opening the season with an overtime victory over Lehigh, its worst losing skid since the 2001-02 season. The Hawks defeated host Kansas State in the Wildcat Classic championship game on Dec. 3 in Manhattan, Kan., to remain unblemished for the season.

THE SERIES - This will be the 31st meeting between the crosstown rivals, with Saint Joseph’s dominating the series, 29-1. The Quakers first-ever win over the Hawks came last season in a 64-57 triumph on the road.

LAST TIME THEY MET (12/1/04) - Penn defeated Saint Joseph's, 64-57, at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse for the first Red and Blue win over the Hawks in program history, snapping a 29-game losing streak. Junior center Jennifer Fleischer poured in a career-high 21 points and corralled a season-high 16 caroms for her second double-double of the season and 10th her career.

Penn used a six-minute, 19-2 run in the second half to ensure the Quakers' victory. Karen Habrukowich gave Penn the lead for good, 42-41, on her only three-point field goal of the night. The senior finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Joey Rhoads scored nine of her season-high 16 points during the decisive 19-2 run, hitting 5-of-10 shots from the floor and all four free throws she attempted.

AGAINST THE A-10 & BIG 5 - Penn hasn’t had much success historically against the Atlantic-10 Conference or in Big 5 play. They hold a 19-95 record all-time against Atlantic-10 teams and a 21-118 mark vs. the rest of the Big 5. In the last five years, the Quakers have won eight of 20 Big 5 games.

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.

THE RHOAD TO VICTORY - Junior guard Joey Rhoads showed everyone why she has the potential to be one of the top shooters in the Ivy League in Penn’s season-opening, 76-73 overtime triumph over Lehigh. Rhoads set career highs with 26 points and six three-pointers, scoring 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.

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 9-7 all-time record in overtime games, including a 2-1 mark under Coach Patrick Knapp.

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.

COACHING THE QUAKERS - Patrick Knapp is in his second season at the helm of the Penn women’s basketball program after going 15-12 in his debut season with the Quakers. Previously Georgetown’s coach for 18 seasons, Knapp led the Hoyas to two Big East championships and was named the Big East Conference Coach of the Year for the 1992-93 season. Knapp reached 300-career victories when Penn defeated Lehigh, 68-53, on Jan. 18, 2004.

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 196-184 all-time record (.515) at The Palestra.

PENN’S NEW LOOK - With the loss of three starters from last season, the Penn starting five has certainly has a different look, although all five are familiar faces. Senior Jennifer Fleischer returns to the center spot after averaging a double-double (10.8 ppg/10.6 rpb) last year, and junior Monica Naltner will continue her role starting at forward after averaging 8.3 ppg. Juniors Joey Rhoads, Lauren Pears and Kimberly Franklin have moved into the vacant starting guard roles. Rhoads averaged 9 ppg in 26 minutes a night off the bench last season, while Pears and Franklin have plenty of scoring potential from anywhere on the court. Overall, the roster has a young look to it. After sporting five seniors and just two freshmen last year, the 2005-06 edition of the Quakers has three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and six freshmen.

WELCOME FRESHMAN - The Quakers welcome an intriguing six-member freshman class for 2005-06, one that includes members from all corners of the globe. Maggie Burgess (Anchorage, Alaska) and Anca Popovici (Arad, Romania) may have lived 5,154 miles apart before, but both are now Quakers along with Katarina Lackner (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Carrie Biemer (Haddonfield, N.J.), Maureen Mannion (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Kelly Scott (New York, N.Y.). All have gained significant playing time so far this season.

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 - The Quakers will hit the road to face non-conference opponent American on Saturday, Dec. 10, in Washington, D.C. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. The team will then be off for 12 days for finals and return to action on Thursday, Dec. 22, for a friendly neighborhood match-up with Drexel at the DAC. Tip-off for that game is at 1 p.m.

Download: WBB Notes vs Saint Joseph's.pdf