Women's Basketball Hosts WNIT, Hofstra Thursday

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PHILADELPHIA - For a school record third-straight season, the Quakers will play in the postseason. In the program’s first-ever trip to the WNIT, Penn (20-8, 11-3 Ivy) will host Hofstra (20-12, 11-7 CAA) at The Palestra on Thursday. Tip off is at 7 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Catching the Game
Fans can watch the WNIT First Round matchup for FREE on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN.tv).Live statscan be found at PennAthletics.com, while live twitter updates will also be available (@PennWBB). A complete recap, box score and highlights can be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. Hofstra
There has been just one prior meeting between these programs. The Quakers, who were playing their first game since the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, won the 2001-02 season opener, 63-59. The game was played in West Point as part of the Army Tip-Off Classic. Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is 2-4 in his six seasons at Penn against CAA opponents—all six games have come against Drexel in the annual Battle for 33rd Street. However, the Quakers are 2-0 at home in those matchups.

Penn’s Recent Postseason Experience
Prior to this stretch, Penn had never been to the postseason in back-to-back years. In 2013, Penn posted the first two postseason wins in program history with home wins over Howard (65-60) and Fairfield (49-48) in the opening two rounds of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Penn then lost in the semifinals at Detroit, 71-68. Last season, the Red and Blue led fifth-seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by as many as 15 in the first half (32-17), and seven at halftime (38-31), but ultimately fell, 79-61.

A Look at Hofstra
Hofstra features no seniors on the roster and finished 20-12 this season, including a win over No. 23 James Madison in February. On Sunday, the Pride fell just six points short of the NCAA Tournament berth with a 62-56 loss to James Madison in the program’s first-ever trip to the CAA Championship game. The Pride finished third in a competitive CAA conference and played two common opponents with the Quakers. Both teams defeated NJIT, but Penn lost at Drexel, while Hofstra split two conference matchups with the Dragons. The Pride, who recorded just the fourth 20-win season in Hofstra history, have reached the WNIT four previous times with the last appearance in 2011-12 where they suffered a two-point home loss to Harvard (73-71).

Seniors
Its official. Penn’s 2015 seniors—the first class to win an Ivy League championship and Big 5 title—is the winningest class in school history. Seniors Katy Allen, Kara Bonenberger, Renee Busch and Kathleen Roche have won 73 games at Penn which bests the Class of 2003 for most career wins all-time. They have also won a school record six Big 5 games (also true for the current juniors), and no other class had won more than four.

Thursday
Best day of the week! The Quakers are undefeated on Thursdays under head coach Mike McLaughlin (5-0). However, the Quakers haven’t played on this day of the week since the 2013-14 season.

Record vs. Postseason Teams
Overall, Penn played seven games and went 2-6 against postseason teams this season. In addition to an 0-3 mark against NCAA Tournament teams Princeton and Tennessee, the Quakers were 1-3 against WNIT opponents, which includes wins over Richmond and Temple, and losses to Villanova, Drexel and Hampton.

Top 10 in the Nation
Head Coach Mike McLaughlin has always had strong defensive teams and this year is no different. As a team, Penn ranks No. 5 in the nation with 6.5 blocks per game, fifth in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.344), 10th in the country in scoring defense (53.1 ppg) and 17th in three-point defense (.272). Penn has allowed just 41.5 points per game over the last four contests and on seven occasions this year, they have held an opponent under 40 points. The Red and Blue are also one of the nation’s most diciplined teams as they rank No. 6 in the NCAA with just 13.7 fouls per game.

Princeton-Penn 1-2
Penn ranks second only to unbeaten No. 13 Princeton in the Ivy League in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, three-point percentage, three-point percentage defense, defensive rebounding, and of course, wins. Penn is No. 1 in the league in blocked shots.

Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Penn has won 32 straight regular season games when scoring more than 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 59-9 (.868) when they reach that number (32-1 over the last two seasons with only loss to Texas in NCAA Tournament, 79-61). In comparison, the Quakers are just 27-77 (.260) when they’ve scored less than 60 points under Coach McLaughlin. The trend continues defensively. Over the last six seasons, the Red and Blue are 17-53 (.242) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 69-33 (.676).

A Penn Win Would...
... improve the Quakers to 3-0 all-time in postseason games at The Palestra.
... mark the 10th in the last 11 games and 13th in the last 15 games.
... give Coach McLaughlin a 3-2 postseason record at Penn.
... be the sixth in the last seven games at The Palestra.
... advance the Quakers to the second round of the WNIT against Temple or Marist.
... improve the Quakers to 21-8 on the season.

A Penn Loss Would...
... be the third straight in the postseason and the first postseason loss at The Palestra.
... conclude the 2014-15 season with 20-9 record overall.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out: L, 55-42 vs. #13/13 Princeton
A valiant effort fell short for Penn against No. 13/13 Princeton at The Palestra. The Tigers held off the Quakers, 55-42, in the season finale on Tuesday night. Penn led 14-12 midway through the first half, but a 9-0 run gave the Tigers their largest lead of the half. The Quakers closed to within 26-21 at the break. Penn was back within one early in the second half and trailed just 31-29 with 14:10 to go. But an 11-2 run put Princeton up double digits at the 8:45 mark, and Penn was never closer than seven the rest of the way.

Up Next
Thursday’s winner will face either Temple or Marist in the second round of the WNIT (the Red Foxes host the Owls on Thursday in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.). The date, site and game time are to be determined.

#FightOnPenn

Download: 29 - WNIT.pdf