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PHILADELPHIA - In the midst of the longest losing streak of the season, the schedule only gets tougher for the Quakers (7-5). Penn plays on the road against three Big 5 teams—two from the Atlantic 10 and one from the Big East—before the start of Ivy League play again. First up, is Saint Joseph’s (10-5) at Hagan Arena Saturday. Tip off is at 2 p.m.
Catching the Game
Live video and live stats will be available at SJUHawks.com for the 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. Saint Joseph's
Last Meeting: L, 45-60 at The Palestra (12/7/10)
Penn has won just once in 36 all-time meetings against Saint Joseph’s. That victory came in Hagan Arena in 2004 (64-57). Since then, the Hawks have won six straight. Penn Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is 1-8 overall against the Big 5 in two-plus seasons. The Quakers are 0-5 in Big 5 road games in that time.
About the Hawks
Saint Joseph’s won its first six at home before falling to Dayton on Tuesday. They have won eight of ten overall with three opponents in common with Penn. Both teams lost to Princeton, but beat Drexel and Lafayette. In addition to owning the seventh-best three-point shooting percentage in the nation, the Hawks rank in the top half of the 14-team Atlantic-10 in nearly every offensive category: scoring offense (4th), free throw percentage (3rd), field goal percentage (4th), three-point percentage (2nd), assists (5th), turnover margin (4th) and assist/turnover ration (2nd). Michelle Baker leads the team with 10.8 points per game. Ashly Prim (9.7) and Katie Kuester (9.4) are also near double digits in scoring. Kelly Cavallo is fifth in the A-10 with 8.5 rebounds per game and 1.6 blocks per game. She also shoots a league-best 55.7% from the floor. Prim leads the Hawks with 47 assists and 20 steals. Erin Shields has gone 22-for-46 (47.8%) from three-point range this year.
Turning It Around
Penn was 2-26 just two seasons ago. However, this season...The Quakers registered the best 10-game start in team history (7-3) ... Penn opened 5-0 at home for the first time since 2003-04 ... 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 rank tied for fourth-most all-time in school history ... Penn went through a stretch of 13 games without losing back-to-back games—the longest streak since 2003-04 (19 games) ... The Quakers won seven of nine games for the first time in seven years (2004-05).
No. 7 in the Nation
Entering the week, Penn ranked seventh in the country in three-point defense. Opponents were shooting just 23.1 percent (34-of-147) against the Quakers this year. And only Wofford and South Carolina had given up fewer than the 34 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 eight games, opponents have made just 23 of 123 attempts (18.7%).
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. Entering the week, the Quakers ranked second among the Ivies in scoring defense at 56.4 points per game, first in field goal percentage defense (35.8%) and three-point percentage defense (23.1%). The Red and Blue are also second in the league in blocks (3.8).
Penn is 5-0 when scoring more than 50 points ... Either a freshman or sophomore has led the team in scoring in every game this season and in 18 straight games overall ... Penn has had a freshman in its starting lineup for in 39 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).
Daunting Big 5
Its a daunting task each year for the Quakers to take on the Big 5. The conference for city bragging rights includes the other four Division I schools in Philadelphia—Temple, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova. The first three are in the Atlantic-10 conference and the Wildcats are in Big East. Since the Quakers defeated Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 1, 2004 at Hagan Arena, 64-57, they have won just once in the last 27 meetings with Big 5 opponents. That win came over La Salle, 45-40, at The Palestra on Jan. 19, 2011. It snapped a 24-game Big 5 losing streak.
Senior captain Jess Knapp has been a stabilizing force over the past three seasons for the Quakers. In that time, she had started all but four games and had played in 66 straight for Penn prior to missing the Ivy Opener against Princeton on Saturday. Her injury in the Surf ‘N Slam Classic could likely end her season and career. Without her in the starting lineup, Penn is just 1-5 with four of those losses by 18 or more points. This season, the Quakers are 7-2 with Knapp in the lineup full-time and 0-3 without.
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.
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 couldn’t find the rhythm that had led it to the best start in school history, and the Quakers fell to NJIT, 52-48, Wednesday night at The Palestra. No team led by more than six at any point. Penn trailed 51-48 with seven seconds remaining and had a chance to tie the game. But junior Katie Davis’ three-point attempt was heavily contested and it fell short. NJIT iced the game with a free throw with two seconds left. NJIT jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first four minutes. But the Quakers went on a 12-2 run behind two freshmen and a sophomore. The second-best scoring defense in the Ivy League kept the Red and Blue in the lead at intermission, 21-19. NJIT scored 10 of the first 12 in the second half for a 29-23 advantage. A few minutes later, a lay-in from sophomore Meghan McCullough and a mid-range jumper from freshman Kara Bonenberger had Penn within one, 35-34 at the 8:41 mark. It looked as though the youthful Quakers, who have won two overtime games already this season, may just pull out another close one down the stretch. However, NJIT never relinquished the lead. Penn tied it twice in the next few minutes, but with the score notched at 41-41, NJIT scored six of seven to take control with 2:47 left. Penn trailed 50-45, but got the game-tying opportunity after Baron and Bonenberger combined for three made free throws and NJIT missed one of two with 10 seconds left to leave the Quakers with just a three-point deficit.
Penn’s final two Big 5 games remain before Ivy weekends get underway. Both are on the road as the Quakers head to the Main Line to take on Villanova of the Big East Conference at The Pavilion on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Then the Red and Blue cap off the 2011-12 non-league slate with a trip to Temple’s McGonigle Hall Saturday at 3 p.m.