PHILADELPHIA - The 2016-17 season has descended upon the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team and once again the Quakers open with a top tier opponent. This year, Penn and Duke square off in the Red and Blue’s season-opener for the second-straight campaign when the Quakers make their second trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium in program history and the first since 1984. Penn will look to avenge a 57-50 loss to the Blue Devils from 2015 and will look to do so as being the defending Ivy League champs. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. in Durham, N.C.
Catching the Game
Fans can watch the matchup on ACC Network Extra and listen live on the Blue Devil IMG Sports Network. Live stats can be found at GoDuke.com, 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. Duke: 3rd Meeting
For the second time in program history, the Quakers make the trip to Durham, N.C. to play at Cameron Indoor Stadium but the contest marks their first return in over 32 years dating back to 1984. This is the third meeting between the two teams with Duke holding a 2-0 series advantage over Penn: The Quakers traveled to North Carolina in 1984, and lost, 74-47, while the Blue Devils claimed a 57-50 victory over Penn last season.
Under Mike McLaughlin, Penn is 2-5 in season openers and has lost its last four. The Quakers lost to No. 14/12 Duke last year, 57-50, fell at No. 4/4 Tennessee the year before, 97-52, dropped a five-point decision to St. Francis Brooklyn, 56-51, at The Palestra to start off 2013-14 and lost the 2012-13 opener at Norfolk State, 60-51. Penn’s last season-opening victory came in overtime, 70-61, over St. Francis Brooklyn on Nov. 13, 2011.
Power Six History
Penn has traditionally played a challenging non-conference schedule since Mike McLaughlin took the helm in 2009-10. In fact, the Quakers have played four non-conference top-15 teams in the last five seasons (#3 Notre Dame in 2011-12, #5 Notre Dame in 2013-14, #4 Tennessee 2014-15, and #14 Duke in 2016-16). Among the non-league foes, Penn has scheduled its share of teams from the power six conferences. En route to the Ivy title in 2013-14, the Quakers earned their first-ever win over an ACC opponent with a dramatic 67-66 win at Miami (Fla). Other power conference opponents in McLaughlin’s tenure include Northwestern, Iowa State, Virginia, Duke as well as the annual Big 5 matchup with Villanova.
A Look at Penn’s Recent Postseason Experience
Prior to this school-record stretch of four 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. The following 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. In 2014, Penn earned its first-ever WNIT berth and victory with a home win over Hofstra before a close second-round loss at The Palestra to Big 5 rival Temple. 2015-16 the Quakers earned the No. 10 seed for the NCAA Tournament and fell to the University of Washington, 65-53, in College Park, Md. In the First Round.
Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Penn has won 52 straight regular season games when scoring more than 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 79-9 (.898) when they reach that number (52-1 over the last three seasons with only loss to Texas in NCAA Tournament, 79-61). In comparison, the Quakers are just 32-83 (.278) 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 21-56 (.273) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 91-36 (.717).
A Penn Win Would...
... be the first-ever over Duke.
... mark the 12th in the last 14 games dating back to last season.
... be the 519th career victory for Coach McLaughlin and his 112th at Penn.
... make the Quakers 1-0 for the first time since 2011-12.
A Penn Loss Would...
... be the second in the last three games dating back to last season.
... make the Quakers 0-1 for the fifth straight year.
Last Time Out: L, 65-53 vs. Washington (NCAA First Round, 2015-16 season)
- The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team knew that, in order to have success in their NCAA Tournament first-round game against the University of Washington, among other things it would have to contain the Huskies’ standout guard. The Quakers did their best, but ultimately came up short in a 65-53 loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Sydney Stipanovich finished the night with a double-double, recording 16 points and 13 rebounds. Anna Ross had 13 points, while Michelle Nwokedi finished with 10 points, seven boards, and all six of Penn’s blocked shots. Penn played just six players until the final minute, when Head Coach Mike McLaughlin cleared his bench. The Quakers had 14 assists on their 20 baskets, but turned it over 17 times.
- The Red and Blue will have 10 returning letterwinners and all five returning starters from a team that claimed the program’s fourth Ivy League championship last year, and reached the postseason for the fourth straight season (school record). The Quakers were 24-5 last year, including 13-1 in Ivy play, and earned the Ancient Eight’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament where they fell in the first round to Washington, 65-53.
The Quakers head home for their first game at the Palestra of the year. Binghamton will play in University City on Wednesday, before Penn head to Rhode Island for their second road non-conference game on Friday.