Women's Basketball Hosts School Days, Drexel in Palestra Matinee Thursday

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PHILADELPHIA - Off to the best seven-game start in school history, the Quakers (5-2) look to remain unbeaten at home this season when they take on 33rd Street rival Drexel (5-3) on Thursday. It’s free admission to the matinee at The Palestra. Tip off for this City Six matchup is at noon.

Catching the Game
Video and live stats will be available at PennAthletics.com for each game. A complete recap and box score can then be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. Drexel
Drexel has won the last four in this City Six matchup to gain an all-time edge in the series, 12-9. The Red and Blue’s last victory over their University City rivals was a 60-57 triumph on Dec. 21, 2006. The two schools, which are a mere two city blocks apart, first met in 1981 and have now played every year since 1999. Penn is 8-4 all-time against the Dragons at The Palestra.

About the Dragons
Its the shortest road trip in the NCAA, but Drexel will play away from home for the seventh time in nine games. They are 4-2 away from the DAC. The teams have just one common opponent. Penn lost at La Salle by 11. The Dragons topped the Explorers by 13. The Dragons rank 22nd in the nation in three-point percentage (36.7) and turnovers (13.9). They are second in the CAA in field goal percentage (43.0) and assists (14.9). They’ve been just as good on defense. Allowing just 58.0 points per game, they are second in the CAA. Kamile Nacickaite is fifth in the CAA with 18.5 points per game while Mershon Hollie is ninth at 15.9 ppg. Mershon is seventh in the league with 3.5 assists per game and fourth in 3-point percentage (40.5). Marisa Crane leads the CAA in assist/turnover ration (26/9) and Nicole Jones leads the team with nine blocks thie season.

Best Start Ever
Just 20 months removed from a 2-26 season, the Quakers (5-2) are off to the best seven-game start in school history and sit in first place in the Ivy League with a winning percentage of 71.4%.

No. 2 in the Nation
Only one school in the entire nation has allowed fewer three-point baskets than the Quakers. Penn is seventh in nation (out of 343) in three-point percentage defense. Opponents have made just 19-of-86 (22.1%) shots from beyond the arc against Penn this season. Only Wofford has allowed fewer made threes (15). The Quakers have been especially impressive recently. In the last four games, opponents have combined to go 5-for-47 (10.6%) from three-point range.

Keys to the Penn-Drexel matchup
Penn is No. 7 in the NCAA in threee-point defense (22.1%), but Drexel ranks 22nd in the nation in three-point percentage (36.7%). In addition, the Quakers have forced at least 17 turnovers in every win this season and 20 or more in five games. But Drexel leads the CAA in assist/turnover ratio and rank 22nd in the nation with an average of just 13.9 turnovers per game.

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 (55.0), field goal percentage defense (34.9%) and three-point percentage defense (22.1%). The Red and Blue are also second in the league in blocks (4.4). That has translated into some early-season wins as the Quakers are also tops in the Ivies in winning percentage (71.4%).

Penn Trends
Senior Jess Knapp is 30 points away from reaching 500 for her career ... Penn has had a freshman in its starting lineup for in 35 straight games ... The Quakers have used the same starting lineup in all seven games ... Penn has forced at least 17 turnovers in each win this year ... 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).

Watching the Record Books
Senior Jess Knapp is second in the Ivy League in blocks with 10 and has now moved into sole possession of fourth place in the school record book with a total of 88 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 needed 22 entering this year to become just the fourth player in the history of the program with 100 career blocks.

Charge for a Cure!
December: Autism Speaks
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 Autism Speaks, 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.

Join Today!
Last Game: 1
December Total: 3
Season Total: 16

Last Time Out
Three Quakers scored in double figures as Penn rallied from 10 down in the first half and held on down the stretch to top Army, 70-60, at The Palestra Saturday night. Penn is off to the best seven-game start in program history. Knapp hit a three, Baron had a steal and layup, and senior Jourdan Banks converted a fastbreak layup for a 7-6 lead at the 16:23 mark. The Black Knights were in control for about the next 12 minutes and methodically build a 10-point lead. But Penn fought back. Bonenberger had the last four points and it was just a two-point game at intermission, 31-29. The momentum continued into the second stanza. Penn scored the first five points and nine of the first 11 in the second half. It was a two-point lead, 42-40, at the 14-minute mark, but Penn held Army without a field goal for nearly eight minutes and went on a 13-2 run. But the Black Knights didn’t go away. The lead was 62-50 with just 3:32 remaining, but Army’s full court press helped whittle that to 64-58 with 1:42 left. Then just 24 seconds later, it was a four-point game. Kates and Bonenberger, each calmly sank a pair of free throws and the lead was back to eight with 1:01 left. After a defensive stop, the Quakers had sealed the win.

Up Next
For the first time since 2005, the Quakers will travel to the Pacific time zone. Penn will participate in San Diego State’s annual Surf ‘N Slam Classic. The Red and Blue take on UNC-Greensboro on Dec. 29 and then play the host Aztecs on Dec. 30. Tip off for both games is 2 p.m. (PST).

Download: 8-Drexel.pdf