PHILADELPHIA - With five Ivy games remaining, the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team hits the road for matchups against Cornell and Columbia. The Quakers will be seeking a season sweep of each squad, as they enter the weekend a perfect 9-0 in the Ivy League for the first time since 2001. Penn’s matchup with the Lions will be broadcast live by the American Sports Network (ASN) on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Catching the Games
Both games this weekend will be available live on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN.tv). Sunday’s contest at Columbia will also broadcast on the American Sports Network. Live Twitter updates will be available via @PennWBB. A complete recap and box score can be found on www.PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
vs. Cornell, 75th meeting (Penn leads series, 54-20)
The Quakers exacted a bit of revenge against the Big Red earlier this season, avenging a 2015 loss to Cornell in the The Palestra. Just two weeks ago, the Red and Blue took this year’s home contest by a score of 65-50. Sydney Stipanovich was the star, going for 21 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Coach McLaughlin’s squad has now won six of the last seven games in the series against Cornell, with their last road defeat coming in 2012.
vs. Columbia, 61st meeting (Penn leads series, 42-18)
Penn has won nine games in a row in the series against the Lions, including a 71-51 triumph earlier this season. The Quakers were led by sophomores Michelle Nwokedi (24 points) and Lauren Whitlatch (20 points), who accounted for over 61 percent of the Quakers’ offense. Nwokedi also added nine rebounds and four blocks, while Whitlatch collected four boards and a pair of steals. It is the only time this season that the Quakers have had two 20-point scorers. Penn’s last loss at Levien Gymnasium came in 2011 (61-54).
Last Time Out
The Quakers kept on rolling last weekend, improving to 9-0 in the Ivy League with wins over Brown (69-59) and Yale (77-59). Sophomore Beth Brzozowski scored a career-high 16 points against the Bears, while Sydney Stipanovich registered her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 19 rebounds (tied career high). Kasey Chambers led the way versus Yale, pouring in a career-best 25 points. The Quakers scored a season-high 54 points in the first half against the Bulldogs, and shot a season-best 54.7 percent (29-of-53) from the floor.
The Quakers will return home for their final two home games of the season against Dartmouth and Harvard. Saturday’s 7 p.m. tip with the Crimson will serve as Penn’s “Senior Day”, as the Red and Blue will celebrate Brooklyn Juday and Keiera Ray prior to the contest.
Red Hot Saturday
The Quakers put together their best offensive performance of the season at Yale on Saturday night. It was the first time this season that Penn shot over 50 percent from the field, including an 11-of-20 clip from three-point land. In fact, the Red and Blue’s 54.7 shooting percentage (29-of-53) was the highest of the Mike McLaughlin era. The Quakers also had four players in double figures for just the fourth time this season.
The Quakers are currently on a season-long eight-game winning streak, defeating all eight Ivy foes by double figures. Penn has win streaks of five, seven and eight contests this season. Prior to Coach McLaughlin, the Red and Blue had just one winning streak of more than seven games in its entire history—the school-record 21 consecutive victories in 2000-01. However, in the last two seasons, the Quakers have had five such winning streaks, including a nine-game stretch last year.
Rising in the RPI
The Quakers have risen all the way up to No. 30 in the most recent RPI rankings, the highest position of any Ivy team. RPI, also known as Ratings Power Index, measures the performance of a team based upon its strength of schedule/strength of wins. Penn has four victories over teams currently in the top 100 of the RPI -- Princeton (37), Colorado State (44), Temple (61), and Drexel (81) -- as well as a win over Harvard (103). Penn’s win over Colorado State is the Rams’ only loss this season (24-1), as they have rattled off 21 straight wins since the Quakers defeated them on November 24.
The Quakers have shown to be extremely balanced in nine Ivy games this season, with five players averaging at least eight points per outing. Sydney Stipanovich (12.2) and Michelle Nwokedi (12.0) are each averaging double figures, while Lauren Whitlatch (9.7), Anna Ross (9.4), and Kasey Chambers (8.3) are not far behind.
Sydney Stipanovich and Michelle Nwokedi currently rank 1-2 in the Ivy League in both blocks and rebounds per game. Stipanovich leads the league in rebounding (10.5 per game), while Nwokedi paces the Ancient Eight in blocks (2.9). As a team, the Quakers rank second in the nation in blocks per contest (6.7).
Michelle Nwokedi has scored in double figures in nine of her last 10 games, averaging 13.4 points during that span. She has also hauled in at least seven rebounds in all but two games this season.
Sophomore Beth Brzozowski averaged 15.5 points per game last weekend, including a career-high 16 against Brown. She was especially sharp from the charity stripe, going 9-of-10 from the free-throw line versus the Bears.
The Quakers are ranked third in the country in fewest turnovers per game this season at 11.0. Penn has especially been careful with the basketball in conference play, averaging 9.7 turnovers per contest in nine Ivy games.
Playin’ by the Rules
The Quakers have made a name for themselves by playing stout defense this season, and not fouling in the process. In fact, Penn is tied for second in the country in fewest personal fouls per game at 11.6.
Download: 5th Ivy Weekend.pdf