PHILADELPHIA- The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team enters its final weekend of Ivy League play still tied for first place in the standings. At 10-1, the Quakers host Dartmouth on Friday and Harvard on Saturday in a pair of important games ahead of Tuesday’s season finale at Princeton. Saturday night also will be Senior Night, as head coach Mike McLaughlin and the women’s program honor Brooklyn Juday and Keiera Ray ahead of tipoff.
Catching the Games
Both games this weekend will be available live on theIvy League Digital Network(ILDN.tv). 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.
Saturday is Senior Night
The Quakers will celebrate their two seniors prior to Saturday night’s final home game. Brooklyn Juday and Keiera Ray will graduate with more wins than any other class in program history -- 82 and counting -- and enter the weekend tied with the Class of 2004 for the most Ivy League wins (42).
vs. Dartmouth, 77th meeting (Dartmouth leads series, 43-33)
Although Dartmouth leads the all-time series with Penn by a tally of 43-33, the Quakers have had the success of late. Penn is 9-1 in its last 10 games against Dartmouth, including a 56-41 triumph earlier this season in Hanover. Sophomore Lauren Whitlatch keyed the road win over the Big Green, pouring in 19 points. Sydney Stipanovich was also vital in the victory, recording 10 points and 11 rebounds.
vs. Harvard, 77th meeting (Harvard leads series, 49-27)
Penn defeated Harvard earlier this season to extend its winning streak against the Crimson to five in a row. The last time Harvard defeated Penn inside The Palestra was in 2012. The Quakers put together one of their best performances of the year in Cambridge earlier this season. After falling behind 2-0 to begin the game, Penn rattled off an 18-1 run and never looked back. Kasey Chambers scored a game-high 16 points to lead the way.
Last Time Out
The Quakers bounced back from their first Ivy League loss two nights earlier with a convincing, 60-42 win at Columbia on Sunday. Penn put four players in double figures in the scoring category, and showed nice balance on the offensive end.Kasey ChambersandSydney Stipanovichscored 13 points each -- for Stipanovich, 10 came in the first half -- whileMichelle Nwokedihad 12 andLauren Whitlatchadded 11. Penn forced 18 Columbia turnovers while committing just nine.
Prior to Coach McLaughlin’s arrival in University City, Penn had just one winning streak of more than seven games in its entire history -- the school-record 21 consecutive victories in 2000-01. In the last two seasons under McLaughlin, however, the Quakers have had five such winning streaks, including a nine-game stretch last year and streaks of five, seven and eight this year. Last Friday, Cornell ended an eight-game winning streak with a win over the Quakers in Ithaca.
Rising in the RPI
After peaking at No. 30 last week, the Quakers are No. 35 nationally in this week’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Penn has five victories over teams currently in the RPI top 100: Princeton (31), Colorado State (45), Temple (58), Drexel (78) and Saturday’s opponent, Harvard (100).
*The program record for overall wins in a season is 22, set originally in 2000-01 and matched two years ago. (Coincidentally, both of those teams won Ivy titles.) The Quakers can break that mark with a pair of wins this weekend, and tie it with one.
*Penn has displayed outstanding balance on offense this season, with two players averaging double figures in scoring (sophomore Michelle Nwokedi, 13.8 ppg; junior Sydney Stipanovich, 13.4) and four more averaging better than seven points per game (Anna Ross, 8.8; Kasey Chambers, 7.6; Lauren Whitlatch, 7.4; Beth Brzozowski, 7.1).
*With a made jumper in the first quarter of last Friday’s game at Cornell, Stipanovich became the 21st player in Penn history to record more than 1,000 points in a Quakers’ uniform.
*Stipanovich -- who is averaging a double-double per game this year (13.4 ppg, 10.3 rpg) -- also became just the sixth player in program history with more than 1,000 points and 700 rebounds. She is already Penn’s all-time leader in blocked shots (252).
*Speaking of last weekend, the Quakers notched their 10th Ivy win of the season on Sunday against Columbia. Penn has now reached double-digit Ivy wins in three-consecutive seasons.
*Amazingly, Penn’s win over Colorado State on November 24th remains the Rams’ only loss this season (26-1). CSU has rattled off 23 straight wins since the Quakers defeated them inside The Palestra, and are ranked 22nd in this week’s Associated Press national poll.
*The Red and Blue rank in the nation’s top five in three different statistical categories. Penn is slotted third in fouls per game (11.8), third in turnovers per game (10.9), and fifth in blocks per game (6.4).
Following this weekend’s action, Penn plays its regular-season finale at Princeton on Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. That game could have Ivy League title implications, depending on this weekend’s results; both the Quakers and the Tigers enter this weekend 10-1 in League play.