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PHILADELPHIA - As is tradition, the first Ivy League contest of the season features arch rivals Princeton (10-4) and Penn (7-3). The Tigers are two-time defending league champions, while the Quakers are off to the best 10-game start in program history. Tip off from The Palestra is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.
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.
The Quakers will welcome the alumni back to The Palestra on Saturday. Prior to the Ivy opener, Penn will hold its annual Alumni Game. Last season, nearly 20 former players participated in the game as the Red defeated the Blue, 41-38. Former player and coach Amanda Kammes, C'05, hit a free throw with just six seconds remaining and Sarah Bucar, C'10, missed the game-tying three at the buzzer. Also a part of the 2011 Alumni Day festivities, the Quakers honored former Penn standout Cynthia Johnson-Crowley, CW'52, for more than 50 years of dedication to the program. Crowley is a member of the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame and amassed 12 letters as a standout for the women's basketball, golf and softball teams.
In the Series vs. Princeton
Princeton has won six straight in the series dating back to a Penn win at The Palestra on March 11, 2008. The two rivals first met in 1974 with the Tigers claiming a nine-point victory at Jadwin Gym. Overall, the Tigers have won 47 of the first 70 meetings. Penn is 13-21 all-time at The Palestra against Princeton.
About the Tigers
Princeton has won three straight following a three-game losing streak. Three of Princeton’s four losses came to ranked opponents. The Tigers, who are currently 12th in the nation in RPI, are 27-1 against the Ivies in the last two seasons. Despite the league’s toughest schedule, the Tigers lead the Ivies in scoring (67.4 ppg) and steals (10.7), and are second in field goal percentage (.401) and rebounding margin (+5.9). They rank no lower than fifth in any statistical category. Niveen Rasheed is second in the Ivy League with 17.6 points per game. Lauren Edwards is also in double figures with 10.6 ppg. Rasheed is also the league’s top rebounder at 8.8 per game and is fifth in assists with 3.1. Lauren Polansky is atop the Ivies with 2.6 steals per game, slightly ahead of Rasheed’s 2.4. And Kate Miller leads the league with a free throw percentage of 91.2.
Best Start Ever
Just 21 months removed from a 2-26 season, the Quakers (7-3) are off to the best 10-game start in school history.
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. 5 in the Nation
Penn ranks fifth in the country in three-point defense. Opponents are shooting just 22.0 percent (28-of-127) against the Quakers this year. And only Wofford and South Carolina have given up fewer than the 28 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 13 of 87 attempts (15.0%).
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 atop the Ivies in scoring defense at 53.7 points per game (also ranks 35th-best in the nation), field goal percentage defense (34.7%) and three-point percentage defense (22.0%). The Red and Blue are also second in the league in blocks (3.8).
En route to their seventh win in nine games, Penn led UNC-Greensboro at halftime, 22-12. It marked the fewest points Penn has allowed in a half under head coach Mike McLaughlin. The Red and Blue held UNC-Greensboro to 6-of-29 (20.7%) shooting before intermission. It was the second time this season the Quakers held an opponent under 40 points and the sixth time under Coach McLaughlin. Its the fewest allowed since a 51-33 win over Cornell on Feb. 11, 2011.
Turning It Around
Penn has won three games this year after trailing at the half. The Quakers were 1-37 on such occasions in the previous two seasons. That can somewhat be attributed to a more potent offense. Penn was 0-18 in the last two seasons when allowing 60 or more points, but is 3-1 in that scenario this year.
Either a freshman or sophomore has led the team in scoring in every game this season and in 17 straight games overall ... Penn has had a freshman in its starting lineup for in 38 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).
West Coast Win
The last time the Quakers traveled to the West Coast was in the 2005-06 season for the Washington State Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. The Red and Blue faced off with Rice (59-54) and San Diego (70-59) on consecutive days, dropping both games. The last time the Quakers won in the Pacific time zone prior to defeating UNC-Greensboro in the Surf ‘N Slam Classic was in 1997 against San Diego. The Quakers won by 21, 64-43, on Jan. 4.
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.
Penn did not leave the city of Philadelphia through its first three games (two at home, one at La Salle). But since then, and including the Surf ‘N Slam Classic, the Quakers have logged a lot of miles. The team’s exact travels in the last month have gone as follows: Philadelphia-->Niagara Falls, N.Y.-- ->Philadelphia -->Detroit, Mich.-->South Bend, Ind.-->Chicago, Ill.-->Philadelphia-->San Diego, Calif.-- ->Charlotte, N.C.-->Philadelphia. That’s approximately 8,100 miles traveled and 34 hours spent on either bus or plane or the Quakers. Which doesn’t include the time spent in airports and the deplaning in South Bend. Once again, you can follow every step of the team’s trips on twitter: @PennWomensBball.
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
Penn split two games at the Surf ‘N Slam Classic. To reach the title game, Alyssa Baron posted her first career double-double as Penn held off UNC-Greensboro, 47-36, Thursday afternoon from Viejas Arena. Penn led wire-to-wire and by as many as 23 in the second half. But the Spartans made it interesting. Penn led 15-12 at the 7:38 mark of the opening half. But UNCG would not score again for the rest of the half and Penn led at the break, 22-12. The Quakers scored on their first four possessions of the second half to take a 32-14 lead. Moments later, Renee Busch’s third three of the game capped a 22-2 Penn run and gave the Quakers their largest lead, 37-14 with 16:10 to play. But over the next 10 minutes, UNCG outscored Penn, 19-4. It was a seven-point game with 4:38 left. But Katy Allen knocked down a three for a 44-34 edge with 4:20 to play. On the next offensive possession, Baron converted a three-point play to stretch the advantage back to 13. It never lowered more than the 11-point final score. In the 2011 Surf ‘N Slam championship game, Penn fell to tournament host San Diego State, 51-37, Friday afternoon. It was a tough start for the Quakers. A few missed shots, but more importantly, Baron and Knapp each left with injuries in the first six minutes. Baron soon returned, but Penn’s senior captain did not. For the first 16 minutes, San Diego State had just 16 points. But nothing was falling on offense for the Quakers and they trailed, 16-8. San Diego State went into the break with a 25-15 lead. It was a six-point deficit with 12 minutes remaining, but San Diego State went on a 12-2 run to stretch its lead to a game-high 16 with 7:45 left. The Quakers tried to chip away. But the Aztecs kept Penn at bay for the remainder.
Four more non-conference matchups remain for the Quakers and just one is at home. Penn hosts NJIT on Wednesday at 7 p.m. That’s followed by three road Big 5 matchups before the start of Ivy season.