PHILADELPHIA - Two narrow defeats on the road last week have the Quakers motivated heading into another road trip this weekend. Before heading home for their final two games at The Palestra, the Red and Blue are at Brown on Friday and at Yale on Saturday. Both games tip at 7 p.m.
Catching the Game
Video and live stats will be available at BrownBears.com for Friday’s game and at YaleBulldogs.com on Saturday. Complete recaps and a box score can be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each game. Yale will be hosting their annual Pink Zone game on the night the Quakers are in town, so for those of you attending the game in New Haven, be sure to wear pink to show your support toward the fight against breast cancer.
In the Series
With a win over the Quakers in January, Brown has regained control of the all-time series, now leading 33-32. The loss broke a three-game winning streak for the Quakers over the Bears, but Brown has been more successful on its home floor in the series, winning four of the last seven in Providence. Against Yale, Penn still leads the series 33-32 despite a loss on Jan. 29 to the Bulldogs. Yale has won three of four overall, but has beaten the Red and Blue just once on its home floor since 2006.
About the Bears
Just 2-8 on the road, Brown is better at the Pizzitola Center, going 4-6 and winning two of three Ivy games there. Overall, the Bears have dropped three of four since beating the Quakers on Jan. 30. Like Yale, Brown ranks near the bottom of the Ivies in scoring defense, allowing 66.6 points per game, but allow opponents to shoot just 39.6 percent from the field. Brown is seventh in field goal percentage and three-point percentage, but Penn is eighth in both categories. Brown is the league’s worst rebounding team. Hannah Passafuime leads the team with 10.5 points per game, followed by Christina Johnson’s 8.5 per game. Natalie Bonds is the Bears’ top rebounder at 6.5 per game and has a team-high 26 blocks. Courtney Lee leads Brown with 52 assists.
About the Bulldogs
Since dropping its Ivy opener to Brown, Yale has won five of seven league games and is third in the Ivy standings. Entering their game against Princeton on Friday, the Bulldogs have won all three of their Ivy League games played at home. Yale remains in the middle of the conference in most offensive categories and are third in the conference in rebounding. However, the Bulldogs achilles heel is on the defensive end as they are last in the league in allowing opponents to shoot 42.7 percent from the floor. They are also sixth in the league allowing an average of 65.6 ppg. Freshman Megan Vasquez continues to lead the Bulldogs, averaging 11.7 points per game. Yoyo Greenfield (10.4) also averages double figures, Mady Gobrecht leads the team with 60 assists and 27 blocked shots, and Michelle Cashen has a team-high 153 rebounds (7.3 per game).
From the start of the season, the Quakers knew that the schedule would be tough. Now that the Quakers have played everyone on their schedule at least once, lets take a look back at some of the competition Penn has played. Most notable is Iowa State, unranked when the teams played in November, the Cyclones (19-4) are now No. 12/13 in the country in the latest polls. Princeton is 19-2 and is receiving votes in both polls. Lehigh is also receiving votes in the coaches poll. In addition, Temple, Northwestern and Duquesne also received national votes in the polls at some point in the season.
During the last release of the RPI, only Dartmouth and Columbia have had tougher schedules this season in the Ivy League. Of Penn’s first five opponents, all of them ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI and none had a losing record. Only five of Penn’s 14 non-conference foes had a losing record and Penn went 1-4 in those games. The Quakers defeated the only team they played that was ranked lower than them in the RPI, topping St. Francis (N.Y.) on New Years Eve.
On Feb. 15, senior Caitlin Slover was named to the Ivy League and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week Honor Roll. Slover had a career-high 22 points at Columbia and led the team with six rebounds. For the week, she averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Other Penn recipients of these awards this year are: Sarah Bucar (Nov. 23, 30), Jess Knapp (Dec. 7, Jan. 18), Kim Adams (Dec. 14), Sara Ely (Feb. 1), Amy Donovan (Feb. 8) and Jerin Smith (Jan. 4, 25).
Last Time Out
Despite being within three points in the final minute at Cornell and closing within four points in the last few minutes at Columbia, Penn lost twice last weekend, 59-52 to the Big Red, and 71-58 to the Lions. On Friday, the lead changed hands 14 times. The game went back-and-forth throughout the first half and Penn took a 21-20 halftime lead. It remained close until Cornell went on a quick 10-0 run, which gave the Big Red a 54-44 edge with three minutes left. But two free throws and a baseline jumper got Penn within six. After a steal by Sarah Bucar and her ensuing jumper, it was a four-point game with 1:49 to go. Then, Amy Donovan had a wide-open layup to make it a one-possession game. However, after the Big Red hit one of two free throws, Donovan missed a jumper, Cornell grabbed the rebound and iced the game from the free throw line. On Saturday, with the game tied at 10-10, the teams shared baskets and exchanged the lead four times. The Quakers had a 17-16 advantage at the 5:55 mark, but the Lions scored 14 of the last 16 points in the half for a 30-19 lead at the break. Five minutes into the second half, Columbia led 39-29 and went on an 11-2 run to go up 19 at the 11:35 mark. Penn then went on an 11-0 run in just two minutes. When Slover capped the run with a three, Penn was down just 50-42. A few minutes later, down nine, 59-50, freshman Brianna Bradford went coast-to-coast, hit the layup, was fouled and made the free throw. After a defensive stop, Slover hit two free throws and it was just a four-point game with 5:06 to go. But Penn made just one basket the rest of the way and Columbia pulled away for the win.
Its the final two home games of the year for the Quakers. They host the annual Pink Zone game against Columbia on Friday and then its Senior Day against Cornell on Saturday. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. at The Palestra.
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