PHILADELPHIA - Following another 12-day layoff, Penn heads to New York City on New Year's Eve to take on St. Francis (N.Y.) at 2 p.m. The Quakers will look to ring in the New Year with their third win in four games and their third straight over the Terriers.
Catching the Game
A full recap and box score will be available on PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
In the Series
The New Year's Eve meeting will be just the third all-time between Penn and St. Francis. The Quakers have won each of the first two affairs by a combined 37 points with Penn taking the last meetingalso played in New York Cityon Dec. 29, 1999, by a score of 82-56.
Last Time Out
In front of a season-high crowd of 2,408, Penn couldn’t hold off a second half surge by Drexel as the Dragons went on to a 62-52 win at The Palestra. Penn led for much of the first half and by as many as eight points in the closing minutes of the first. It took the Quakers some time to shake off the rust of a 12-day break, but when sophomore Erin Power started the scoring for the Quakers three minutes in, Penn rattled off 10 of the game’s next 12 points. Capped by another Power layup, the Quakers led 10-6 at the 13:53 mark. Behind senior Carrie Biemer, Penn did not trail again for the rest of the half. Biemer had 13 of her game-high 22 points in the first half as the Red and Blue shot over 54 percent from the floor in the first half. Penn had a season-high 32 first half points - with 10 assists on 13 baskets - and took a 32-28 lead into the locker room. However, it was the defensive pressure that kept the Quakers in the game in the second half as the offense fell into an extended drought. Bucar’s three-pointer from the top of the key was the first basket of the half for the Quakers with 9:58 left in the game. During that time, Drexel was able to take over the lead and with the 21-1 run, they held a 45-33 advantage. Bucar’s three was squeezed between two Biemer free throws and a layup by freshman Tyler Cumbo. Cumbo’s basket came after Power and the full court press forced a steal and got the Quakers back to within five at 45-40 with 9:36 to go. Unfazed, Drexel scored six straight and led by 11 with just over five minutes remaining. Though the Quakers chipped the lead down to six and had a chance to make it a one-possession game with 1:30 left in the game, the Dragons held on. The nation’s leading scorer, Gabriela Marginean made seven of her eight free throw attempts to put the game out of reach.
It is a good sign for the Quakers that the St. Francis (N.Y.) Terriers enter the game with their overall record under the .500 mark. Penn has lost just one game to a team with a losing recordat Lafayette, and it was in overtime. Penn’s other losses have come to teams that are a combined 14 games over .500, while Penn has defeated the two other teams they played under that mark.
Penn has won two of the last three games and led at the half against Drexel before dropping its only game of the month of December in regulation. A win over St. Francis (N.Y.) would give Penn three wins in four games for the first time since winning the final four games of last season.
Quite the Defensive Effort
Colgate’s 18 first-half points on Dec. 7, was the fewest allowed by a Penn team since Jan. 28, 2005, when the Quakers held Yale to 15 first-half points en route to a 53-40 win. Current assistant coach Amanda Kammes was a senior starter on that Quaker squad.
Penn has made a habit of making it difficult on opposing offenses. In the last four games, Penn has held the opponent to just 17-of-63 (26.9%) from beyond the arc. In fact, Colgate was held without a three for the entire game. Penn has also forced an astounding 73 turnovers in that span, an average of nearly 20 per game.
Penn’s overtime session at Lafayette marked the first time the Quakers had played past regulation since the 2005-06 season. The Quakers dropped a 70-68 overtime decision at American on Dec. 10, 2005 and went 80 games before playing another overtime. After Lafayette, it took just two games for Penn to play its next overtime--a 49-46 win at Colgate. It was Penn’s first overtime win since the 2005-06 season opener.
The .500 Mark
Penn is 12 points away from being 5-4 at this point. In close losses to Villanova (two points), Saint Joseph’s (six points) and Lafayette (four points in overtime), the Quakers were either leading or within one in the closing minutes. With a little bit a good fortune going on the side of the Red and Blue, the Quakers could easily be over the .500 mark.
Penn has been tied or leading at the half in five of the last six games ... Penn has had the same starting lineup for the last four games ... Through the first nine games, Carrie Biemer has led Penn in scoring six times ... Four different players have led the team in rebounding at least once ... The Quakers have outrebounded the last two opponents.
Penn will not have to wait long to play its first game of 2009 as the Quakers host Temple on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.