PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team looks for its sixth-straight victory on Tuesday night when they visit Saint Joseph’s for a 5 p.m. tip. This will be the first Big 5 matchup for the Quakers, who won their first-ever city title last season. Penn defeated Saint Joseph’s last year at The Palestra, earning just their second win over the Hawks in program history. The Red and Blue went 3-1 against the Big 5 last season.
vs. Saint Joseph’s: 41st Meeting
Sydney Stipanovich scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Quakers to a 65-51 win over Saint Joseph's last season at The Palestra. It was Penn’s second-ever win over the Hawks, in a series that dates back to 1973. The Red and Blue’s other victory over Saint Joseph’s came during the 2004-05 season, a contest that was decided 64-57 at Michael J. Hagan Arena.
Quick Snapshot - Saint Joseph’s
The Hawks enter Tuesday’s contest with some momentum, having won two of their last three games. Prior to a 13-point loss to Hofstra on Saturday, Saint Joseph’s tallied consecutive wins over Temple (70-67) and Lehigh (63-62). Ciara Andrews has been the main offensive threat for the Hawks, averaging 14.0 points over six games this season.
Catching the Game
Fans can watch Tuesday’s game on the Atlantic 10 Network. Live Twitter updates will also be available via @PennWBB. A complete recap and box score can be found on www.PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
A Penn Win Would...
... be the 500th in Coach McLaughlin’s career.
... be the second straight over Saint Joseph’s.
... mark a six-game winning streak.
... continue the Quakers’ best start to a season in program history
... make the Quakers 6-1 on the year.
Last Time Out
The Quakers defeated Navy, 57-43, on Saturday at The Palestra. It was the fifth-straight win for Penn, and the 499th in the career of Head Coach Mike McLaughlin.
It was a balanced attack for the Quakers, as five different players tallied at least nine points. Stipanovich led the way, racking up her 18th career double-double with 16 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Michelle Nwokedi followed in double digits, scoring 11 points, to go along with nine rebounds. Defensively, the Quakers held Navy to under 30 percent shooting (18-of-61) and didn’t allow the Mids to shoot a single free throw.
Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is just one win shy of notching 500 triumphs in his career. Following a storied career at nearby Holy Family in which he racked up 407 wins, McLaughlin is 92-88 in six-plus seasons at Penn. In addition to the quantity of victories, McLaughlin has also kept the losses to a minimum, as he currently holds the fourth-highest winning percentage (.770) of all active Division I head coaches. With one more win, McLaughlin will become just the 30th active head coach in all of Division I with 500 career victories.
Junior (yes, junior!) Sydney Stipanovich became Penn’s all-time leader in blocks on November 24 against Colorado State. Stipanovich swatted away four shots against the Rams, and now has 198 blocks in her career. Katarina Poulsen, who played for the Quakers from 1991-94, held on to the record for the last 21 years. Stipanovich also owns Penn’s all-time single-season record for blocks with 97 during her freshman season. She currently stands 107 blocks shy of the Ivy League record for blocks, set by Columbia’s Kathy Gilbert.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Defense, which has been a staple of Mike McLaughlin teams over the years, is once again a strength for the Quakers this season. The Red and Blue currently lead the Ivy League in scoring defense, holding opponents to under 50 points (48.5) per game this season. They also pace the Ancient Eight in blocks per game (5.0) and turnover margin (+3.5). Last season, Penn ranked No. 3 in the nation with 6.6 blocks per game, seventh in the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense (.348), ninth in the country in scoring defense (53.5 ppg) and 31st in three-point defense (.281).
Sydney Stipanovich also sits in the Penn record books in the double-doubles’ category. With her 16-point, 15-rebound effort against Navy, she moved into a tie for 9th all-time with 18 career double-doubles. She had 10 as a freshman, six as a sophomore, and a pair in the early going this season.
The Quakers have moved all the way up to No. 9 in the most recent RPI rankings, the highest position of any team in the Ivy League. RPI, also known as Ratings Power Index, measures the performance of a team based upon its strength of schedule. The Quakers’ lone loss this season came to Duke, who is currently slotted No. 3 in the RPI.
Penn’s starting five has accounted for over 83 percent of the Quakers’ offensive production this season.In fact, Penn’s bench has reached double digits in points on only one occasion this season -- 28 points against UMBC on November 15.
The Quakers will host another city rival on December 19th, as Drexel visits The Palestra for a noon tip.
Download: St. Joe's.pdf