Quakers Set to Renew Neighborhood Rivalry at Drexel

Game 9

Penn (1-7)atDrexel(4-4)
Philadelphia, Pa.- Daskalakis Athletic Center

Dec. 22, 2005
1p.m.

THE GAME - Penn (1-7) comes off a 12-day break for final exams to take on neighborhood rival Drexel (4-4) at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia. The Quakers have lost seven straight games despite a courageous effort against American in its last game on Dec. 10. After erasing an 11-point halftime deficit, Penn forced overtime but lost by two despite playing most of the game without two key starters. The Dragons are coming off two straight wins (La Salle, UMBC).

THE SERIES - This will be the 20th meeting between the two University City foes, in a series that began in 1925. The Quakers have won four of the last five games against the Dragons, including last year’s 54-50 win at The Palestra.

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 with a knee injury of her own for the American game and is questionable for today.

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 scored 26 points and a career-high 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. 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.

AGAINST THE CAA - Penn holds a 20-27 all-time record against Colonial Athletic Conference teams, including a lopsided 78-34 loss at Delaware earlier this season.

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.

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.

25 YEARS OF WOMEN’S HOOPS IN THE BIG 5! - 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.

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 be off for the Christmas holiday but return to action on Saturday, Dec. 31, as they take on non-conference foe Marist at The Palestra. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. The game is part of a double-header as Temple and Villanova will square off in Big 5 men’s hoops action at 4 p.m.

Download: WBB Notes at Drexel.pdf