Women's Basketball Opens 2011-12 Season Sunday

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PHILADELPHIA - The 2011-12 women's basketball season gets underway Sunday afternoon. The Quakers return three starters from a team that posted the largest single-season turnaround in program history and will start the season at home for the second consecutive year. Tip-off against St. Francis (N.Y.) is 2 p.m. inside The Palestra.

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 each game.

In the Series vs. St. Francis (N.Y.)
Penn is a perfect 5-0 all-time against the Terriers. These two squads will be meeting for the fourth consecutive season after resuming the series that begin in 1997. Two of Penn’s five wins against St. Francis (N.Y.) have come at The Palestra, including Head Coach Mike McLaughlin’s first win at Penn. Last season, the Quakers downed the Terriers, 66-38, behind 23 points from Alyssa Baron. The 28-point victory was the largest margin of victory in this short series.

About the Terriers
St. Francis (N.Y.) is coming off a tough 2010-11 campaign in which the Terriers won just two games. They went winless in conference games and on the road last season. The Terriers return five players from last season’s squad. Sophomore Jasmin Robinson is the top returning scorer on the young squad. She averaged 6.7 points per game in her freshman season. All five of the returning players for St. Francis (N.Y.) played in at least 20 games last season and four of them started at least 10 games. With a large graduating class, ninth-year head coach Brenda Milano brought in eight incoming freshmen, the largest recruiting class of her tenure. St. Francis (N.Y.) has no seniors on a squad that features two juniors and three sophomores to round out the roster.

Taking Two Steps Forward
With 11 wins last season, the Quakers set the school record for the largest one-year turnaround in program history. This nine-game turnaround tops the 2006-07 and 1997-98 teams. In the Ivy League, only Harvard and Brown have ever posted turnarounds of 10 or more games. Harvard has posted an Ivy League-best turnaround of 12 games twice in its program’s history.

Charge for a Cure!
November: American Cancer Society
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 American Cancer Society, 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!
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2011 Team Captains
Seniors Jess Knapp and Jourdan Banks were named 2011-12 captains on Oct. 14. Knapp returns to her role as captain after serving in this position as a junior. She is a two-time letterwinner after missing her freshman season with an injury. She provides a strong defensive presence (6.6 rebounds per game and 38 blocks last season) and was the second leading scorer (8.1 points per game) last year. Banks is also a two-time letterwinner and has played in 51 games during her Penn career. She led all bench players in field goal percentage (38.9%) and free throw percentage (75.0%) in 2010-11.

Women's Basketball Class of 2015
Third-year head coach Mike McLaughlin added six incoming freshmen to his second full recruiting class at Penn. Katy Allen, Renee Busch, Kara Bonenberger, Jackie Kates, Jessica Monsman, and Kathleen Roche make up the incoming class. These six freshmen include three forwards and three guards and hail from five different states and two countries.

Penn Picked to Finish Fourth in Ivy League
Prognosticators are feeling optimistic about the Quakers this season. After finishing last season in sixth place with a 5-9 Ivy League record, Penn was picked to finish fourth in the Ivy Preseason Media Poll. This is the first time Penn has been picked to finish in the top half of the Ivy League since 2004-05. Last season, Penn was picked to finish eighth in the Ivy League, but ended up two spots ahead of its preseason prediction.

Looking back at 2010-11
Alyssa Baron earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season, while also earning honorable mention All-Ivy in her first season at Penn. She became the first freshman to lead the league in scoring since the Ivy League officially began sponsoring women’s basketball in a sport since 1979-80. She averaged 16.1 points per game. Jess Knapp finished fourth in the Ivies in blocked shots and sixth in total rebounding. As a junior, Knapp blocked 38 shots and grabbed 6.6 rebounds per game.

Last Time Out
Despite coming off the largest single season turnaround in the history of the program during the 2010-11 campaign, women’s basketball finished last season with a sour taste in its mouth following a 78-27 loss in the season finale against Ivy League champion and NCAA Tournament-bound Princeton. The Quakers went down early when Princeton went on a 25-1 run following a Penn basket to open the scoring. The Tigers would keep that momentum into the half, leading 40-13 at the break. After being outscored by 27 in the first half, Princeton put 38 more points up in the second half, while Penn only managed 13 second half points in the loss. Alyssa Baron had a team-high 12 points in that game. Only five other players would score for Penn. Each of those players were limited to five or fewer points. The Penn defense did force 16 turnovers, but the Tigers shot 50 percent from the field, while holding the Quakers to just 12.9 percent from the floor.

Up Next
After almost a week off following the season tip-off, Penn will back in action next Saturday, Nov. 19 against Rider back inside The Palestra at 3:30 p.m. Penn defeated the Broncs, 60-45, in New Jersey last season. The Quakers travel for their first road games surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday with a short trip to La Salle on Tuesday, Nov. 22 and a trip to Niagara on Sunday, Nov. 27.

Download: 1-St. Francis (NY).pdf