Women's Basketball Eyes Big 5 Title vs Temple

Follow @pennwbb

PHILADELPHIA - Penn will start 2015 with possibly the biggest Big 5 matchup in school history. The Quakers can clinch a share of their first-ever Big 5 title with a win over Temple at The Palestra on Monday night. The Red and Blue haven’t beaten the Owls at home in more than 15 years, but snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series last season at McGonigle Hall. Tip off is set for 7 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

In the Series vs. Temple: 45th Meeting
Last season, the Quakers ended a nine-game losing streak to the Owls with a 74-70 victory at McGonigle Hall. However, Temple has won 32 of the 44 all-time meetings which includes each of the last six played at The Palestra. Penn’s last home win over the Owls was just prior to the turn of the millennium—Nov. 20, 1999. The Quakers have also not won back-to-back games over the Owls since 1994-95.

Catching the Game
Fans can watch the Big 5 matchup on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN.tv). Live stats can be found on at PennAthletics.com. Live twitter updates (@PennWBB) are also available. A complete recap and box score can be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

About the Owls
- Temple has won three straight and four of the last five. The Owls only loss since Dec. 14 came at Villanova by five. A tough schedule includes losses at Kansas, vs. Alabama, and at home against No. 16 Rutgers and Florida State.
-Five Owls average double figures. Feyonda Fitzgerald leads the Owls with 12.7 points per game, while Tanaya Atkinson (11.2 ppg), Erica Covile (11.1), Alliya Butts (10.1) and Tyonna Williams (10.1) also reach double digits. Covile is fourth in the American in rebounding at 9.2 per game, while Williams averages a team-high 3.4 assists. Butts is third in the conference with 2.1 steals per game.

#Defend
A motto the team has adopted as defending champions that pride themselves on defense. It showed in Penn’s Big 5 opener against La Salle. Shortly after raising the Ivy League championship banner in the home opener against the Explorers, the Quakers held La Salle to 29 total points—the fewest Penn has allowed in a game since a 65-29 win over Temple on Jan. 17, 1995. The Quakers also held La Salle without a three-pointer—the third time the Quakers have shut out an opponent behind the arc under Coach McLaughlin and the first since a win over Cornell on Feb. 22, 2013. On the contrary, Penn has made a three in every game since a home loss to Harvard on Feb. 6, 2010—a span of 134 games.

Big 5 Milestones
Penn’s Big 5 wins over La Salle (57-29) and Saint Joseph’s (65-51) set several other milestones...
...third-largest margin of victory in a Big 5 game and largest since Jan. 17, 1995 vs. Temple.
...fewest points allowed in Big 5—or any game—since Jan. 17, 1995 vs. Temple (65-29).
...marked the first time Penn has won a Big 5 game in three consecutive seasons since 1999-02.
...first-ever three-game Big 5 winning streak.
...Coach McLaughlin tied a school record with six career Big 5 wins in just his sixth season.
...marked four Big 5 wins in a three-year span for the first time ever (currently at five).
...have won three straight over La Salle for the first time in program history.
...first three-game win streak over any Big 5 opponent since 1980-82 (Temple).
...third straight 1-0 start in Big 5 play (had never done so in two consecutive seasons).
...second 2-0 start in Big 5 play in program history (2004-05).
...second win in 40 all-time meetings with Saint Joseph’s (other was in 2004).
...first-ever win over Saint Joseph’s at The Palestra (1-23).
...tied school record for most Big 5 wins in a single season.
...Two Big 5 wins in back-to-back years for the first time in school history.

Big 5 Double-Doubles
Sophomore Sydney Stipanovich has a double-double in both of Penn’s Big 5 games this year. In those two wins over the Big 5, Stipanovich averaged an impressive 14.0 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per game. She has also posted double-doubles in each of the last two games and has 14 for her career. Her 10 double-doubles last season were the most in a season at Penn since Jennifer Fleischer in 2004-05, and she became just the 10th player in program history with 14 for her career.. Her next one will tie her for ninth all-time at Penn with Auretha Fleming (1980-84).

Uncharted Big 5 Territory
In the 36-year history of the Big 5, Penn has never won a Big 5 championship. But Penn’s two Big 5 wins put the Quakers alone in first place in the Big 5. The Red and Blue are the only unbeaten team remaining in the city conference. The Quakers will clinch at least a share of their first Big 5 title with a win in one of their two final Big 5 matchups. No easy task though. On Monday, Penn hosts Temple—a team the Quakers have yet to defeat at The Palestra this century (last home win was in 1999). Then on Jan. 21, Penn hosts Villanova—a team that has won every annual meeting since 2001, hasn’t lost to the Quakers in regulation since 1975 and is 38-2 all-time against Penn.

Top 10 in the Nation
Penn ranks eighth in the nation as a team with 6.6 blocks per game. The Quakers have nearly double the amount of blocks as every other team in the Ivy League as Yale is second in the Ivies with 3.9 blocks per game. Sydney Stipanovich is 20th in the nation and leads the Ivy League with 2.7 blocks per game. Freshman Michelle Nwokedi is second in the league with 1.6 per game and Kara Bonenberger is eighth with just under 1.0 per contest.

Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 52-9 (.852) when they score 60 points, including 25-1 over the last two seasons (only loss was to Texas in NCAA Tournament, 79-61). In comparison, the Quakers are just 20-73 (.215) 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 14-50 (.219) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 58-32 (.644).

Penn Trends
Penn is 28-9 (.757) in its last 37 games ... Penn has won 11 of the last 12 at The Palestra ... The Quakers have won 18 of the last 19 and are 36-2 (.947) over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent ... The Red and Blue have won 16 of the last 17 games when their free throw percentage is better than 70 percent ... Penn has won 33 of the last 35 games when outrebounding its opponent ... Penn is 20-1 under Coach McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points and undefeated in regulation as the only loss came in double overtime, 88-84, at Harvard in 2011.

A Penn Win Would...
... clinch the program’s first-ever Big 5 title.
... set school record with three Big 5 wins in a season.
... extend school record with fourth straight Big 5 win.
... set school record with four straight seasons at .500 or better in non-conference play.
... mark a school record for head coach Mike McLaughlin with his seventh career Big 5 win.
... be the first 3-0 start in Big 5 play in school history.
... be the first back-to-back wins over Temple since 1994-95.
... snap a six-game home losing streak to the Owls (since 1999).
... mark 12 wins in the last 13 games at The Palestra.
... be the third straight overall and make the Quakers 7-4 this season.

A Penn Loss Would...
... make the Quakers 6-5 this season.
... drop the Quakers into a tie for first-place in the Big 5 at 2-1.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out
Penn capped 2014 with a pair of wins over UMBC and King’s College at The Palestra. From the first day to the last, Penn had much to celebrate in 2014. The Quakers won at the buzzer at Miami (Fla.) on New Years Day for its first-ever victory over an ACC opponent. That set the tone for one of the best yerss in program history. Two months later, the Red and Blue clinched the program’s third Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth. This season, Penn is off to a 2-0 start in Big 5 play for just the second time in school history. With the win on Wednesday, the Quakers finished 13-2 at The Palestra during the 2014 calendar year.

Up Next
A matchup with undefeated Princeton. The Tigers are off to the best start in Ivy League women’s history at 15-0. Their last regular season loss? To the Quakers in the de facto Ivy League championship game on March 11 at Jadwin Gym. The rematch will take place at the same location in a doubleheader with the men’s teams. The women tip off at 2 p.m., followed by the men at 5 p.m. As is tradition, Penn and Princeton mark the first Ivy League games of the season.

#FightOnPenn

Download: 10 - Temple.pdf