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PHILADELPHIA - Just a few days after suffering their first home loss of the season in the Ivy Opener, the Quakers begin the first of a four-game stretch to conclude non-conference play. Penn (7-4) welcomes NJIT (5-10) to The Palestra for the first time on Wednesday. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. And like every Wednesday this season, tickets are just $1 (use promocode: dollartix).
Catching the Game
Video and live stats will be available at PennAthletics.com for the game. A complete recap and box score can then be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
In the Series vs. NJIT
Last Meeting: L, 64-73 at NJIT (11/27/10)
Penn will host NJIT for the first time at The Palestra. Last season’s meeting in Newark, N.J., marked the first meeting between these two programs. The Quakers lost on the home floor of the Highlanders, 74-63, in the 500th career game as a head coach for Penn’s Mike McLaughlin. That stands as the only game the Quakers have played against a Great West Conference opponent in program history.
About the Highlanders
NJIT began the season with three win in its first four games and were 4-2 before dropping eight of the last nine. The Highlanders have lost five straight and are just 1-6 away from home. NJIT ranks second in the Great West Conference in scoring defense. The Highlanders allow just 55.3 points per game. They lead GWC in field goal percentage defense (37.3%) and blocked shots (5.7). On offense, they are tops in the conference in three-point shooting (29.4%) percentage and threes made per game (5.0). Rayven Johnson leads the team and is fourth in the GWC with 11.6 points per game. She is also fourth in the league with 8.0 rebounds per contest. Uju Nwankwo is a close second at 6.1 rpg and leads the conference with a .490 field goal percentage. Johnson and Kimberly Dweck each rank sixth among Great West players with 2.1 assists per game. Nicole Maticka has a league-best 2.8 blocks per game.
Penn has won five straight at home for the first time since the program won seven in a row between the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons ... Penn has yet to lose back-to-back games this year and the current stretch of 13 games without doing so is the longest since 2003-04 (19 games) ... The Quakers won seven of nine games for the first time in seven years (2004-05) ... The Quakers won seven games before the month of January for the first time in the program’s 42-year history ... Penn’s seven non-conference wins are tied for fourth-most all-time in school history.
No. 7 in the Nation
Penn ranks seventh in the country in three-point defense. Opponents are shooting just 23.1 percent (34-of-147) against the Quakers this year. And only Wofford and South Carolina have given up fewer than the 34 made threes Penn has allowed. At the Surf ‘N Slam Classic, Penn’s two opponents combined to go 1-for-17 (5.9%) from beyond the arc, and in the last seven games, opponents have made just 19 of 107 attempts (17.8%).
No. 1 in the Ivy League
Penn has been near the top of the Ivy League in most defensive categories since Mike McLaughlin took over as head coach two seasons ago. The trend continues this year. The Quakers rank second among the Ivies in scoring defense at 56.4 points per game, first in field goal percentage defense (35.8%) and three-point percentage defense (23.1%). The Red and Blue are also second in the league in blocks (3.8).
Turning It Around
Penn was 2-26 just two seasons ago. However, this season...The Quakers registered the best 10-game start in team history (7-3) ... Penn opened 5-0 at home for the first time since 2003-04 ... The Quakers won seven games before the month of January for the first time in the program’s 42-year history ... Penn’s seven non-conference wins rank tied for fourth-most all-time in school history ... Penn went through a stretch of 13 games without losing back-to-back games—the longest streak since 2003-04 (19 games) ... The Quakers won seven of nine games for the first time in seven years (2004-05).
Penn is 5-0 when scoring more than 50 points ... Either a freshman or sophomore has led the team in scoring in every game this season and in 18 straight games overall ... Penn has had a freshman in its starting lineup for in 39 straight games ... The Quakers are 6-1 this year when they have fewer turnovers than their opponent ... Penn has forced at least 17 turnovers in each win this year ... Senior Jess Knapp is 15 points away from reaching 500 for her career ... In all six Ivy wins under Coach McLaughlin, the Quakers have not allowed more than 49 points and have won each by at least 11 points (avg. margin of victory is 15.6 ppg).
Other than Princeton, Penn has won six straight games at home and nine of 11. Princeton is the only team to reach 70 points against the Quakers this season. In fact, in the last 35 games, Princeton is the only team to reach 70 points against Mike McLaughlin’s defense in a game that ended in regulation. Instead, Penn has held an opponent under 40 points six times during McLaughlin’s tenure and under 50 points 14 times.
Senior captain Jess Knapp has been a stabilizing force over the past three seasons for the Quakers. In that time, she had started all but four games and had played in 66 straight for Penn prior to missing the Ivy Opener against Princeton on Saturday. Her injury in the Surf ‘N Slam Classic could likely end her season and possibly her career. Without her in the starting lineup, Penn is just 1-4 with each loss by 18 or more points.
Watching the Record Books
Senior Jess Knapp has now moved into sole possession of fourth place in the school record book with a total of 90 career blocks. She passed Big 5 Hall of Famer Jewel Clark (2001-04), who had 82 during her time in the Red and Blue. Knapp had 40 blocks in 2009-10 - fifth-most in a single-season in school history. She then had 38 blocks last season (sixth in school history). She is just 10 shy of becoming the fourth player in the history of the program with 100 career blocks.
Charge for a Cure!
January: Michael J. Fox Foundation
The women's basketball team is again dedicating its entire season to the fight against several diseases and the team needs your help. Last season, the team started an initiative which they have coined the "Charge for a Cure" program. The team raised more than $4,000 through the initiative last year. Each month of the season will be devoted to help a specific disease with personal ties to the program - American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, Luekemia and Lymphoma Society, the ALS Foundation, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. This month, the Quakers will be taking charges for the Michael J. Fox Foundation in the fight against Parkinson's Disease, but the team is turning to its fans to lend a hand in its efforts. For more information and to donate to "Charge for a Cure," click here.
|CHARGE FOR A CURE!
Last Time Out
Against the two-time defending Ivy League champions, Penn dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season in an 83-48 defeat to Princeton at The Palestra Saturday night. In the Ivy League opener, the Quakers lost for the first time in six games at home this season, while the Tigers improved to 28-1 in their last 29 Ivy contests. The Quakers were shorthanded as senior captain Jess Knapp missed the game due to injury. Three freshmen and two sophomores started for the Red and Blue. It was a defensive battle to start. The Quakers struggled on offense for the majority of the night, but the Tigers, who boast the highest scoring offense in the Ivy League, eventually started to roll. Princeton scored six of the game’s first seven points. But sophomore Alyssa Baron, who had all three of Penn’s first half field goals, sunk a three to pull Penn within two at the 14:25 mark. The Tigers then scored 14 straight points and after a layup from Baron, they scored 10 more consecutively for a 30-6 lead with 4:26 left in the opening half. Penn was just 3-of-23 (13.0%) shooting in the first half and had nine turnovers, compared to Princeton’s 16-of-38 shooting performance (42.1%) and three turnovers. The Tigers led 41-14 at intermission. The Quakers shared baskets with Princeton throughout the second half.
Three more Big 5 games remain before Ivy weekends get underway. All three games are in the home gyms of Penn’s Philadelphia rivals. The Quakers are at St. Joseph’s Saturday in a matinee at Hagan Arena. Then they take on Villanova of the Big East at The Pavilion at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Temple at McGonigle Hall at 3 p.m. Jan. 21.