Women's Basketball Opens Big 5 Play Tuesday at La Salle

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PHILADELPHIA - Since the women's basketball program officially became a varsity sport at Penn in 1970, the Quakers have never started a season 3-0. On Tuesday, the Red and Blue (2-0) will be aiming for the best start in school history when they open their Big 5 schedule at La Salle (1-3) at 7 p.m.

Catching the Game
Video and live stats will be available at GoExplorers.com for Saturday's game. Free audio is available here. A full recap and box score will appear at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. La Salle
Penn won the first two meetings between the schools, but lost 32 of the next 35 against their Big 5 rival before snapping a five-game losing streak with a 45-40 home win last season. Penn has not beaten La Salle on the road since that first meeting in 1974 and has never won in Tom Gola Arena (0-6). Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is 1-1 against the Explorers.

About the Explorers
La Salle won its opener over Lehigh at home, but has lost its last three to Albany, St. John's and Rutgers. The Explorers are one of the best defensive teams in the A-10, holding opponents to 35.2 percent shooting overall and just 27.0 percent from three-point range. However, they've struggled from the floor, ranking 12th in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.345). Turnovers have been one of the biggest issues for the Explorers in their three losses as they are averaging more than 20 per game this season. Jada Payne (12.3 ppg) and Brittany Wilson (10.8) are both averaging double figures in scoring, while Payne leads the team with 5.5 rebounds per game and Wilson has a team-best eight assists and 11 steals. Wilson is also shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc this season (7-of-17). Ruvanna Campbell is second in the A-10 with 12 blocks.

One for the Record Books
In the last meeting with La Salle, the Quakers broke a 24-game losing streak and six-year drought to Big 5 opponents. In addition, it marked the program's 400th all-time win when the Red and Blue topped the Explorers at The Palestra, 45-40, on Jan. 19. The last Big 5 team the Quakers had defeated was Saint Joseph's on Dec. 1, 2004 (64-57).

Watching the Record Books
Senior Jess Knapp has seven blocks in the first two games this season and has now moved into sole possession of fourth place in the school record book with a total of 85 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 needed 22 entering this year to become just the fourth player in the history of the program with 100 career blocks.

Penn Trends
Penn has had a freshman in its starting lineup for in 30 straight games ... The Quakers have used the same starting lineup in both games ... Penn has forced at least 20 turnovers in each game this year ... 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).

Baron Once Again Named Ivy Player of the Week
It took just 30 games for sophomore Alyssa Baron to reach 500 career points. She needed just nine to reach that mark last Saturday and is now at 521 in her young career. Her 30-point effort on Saturday earned her Ivy League Player of the Week honors for the second straight week. Baron shot nearly 60 percent from the floor (11-of-19), including 3-of-6 (50%) from beyond the arc. She also went 5-for-6 from the free throw line late in the second half to seal the win. On the defensive side, she had five rebounds and matched a career high with two blocks.

Leading the Way
Its a little early to get too caught up in the statistics, but the Quakers are off to a great start. Baron leads the Ivy League in scoring (28.5 ppg), Knapp leads the league in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and blocks (3.5 bpg), Kara Bonenberger has the league's top field goal percentage (.600), Jackie Kates is tied for the league lead in free throw percentage (1.000).

Halftime Deficit
With the youngest team in the Ivy League, the Quakers did not wilt when trailing by seven at halftime and nine in the second half in the season opener against St. Francis (N.Y.). In fact, the victory marked the largest halftime deficit Penn has overcome under head coach Mike McLaughlin. Entering the game, Penn was 1-37 when trailing at the half in the last two seasons (11-5 when leading). In addition, the nine-point deficit early in the second half was the largest overcome in a win for Penn since 2008-09.

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.

Join Today!
Last Game: 3
November Total: 3
Season Total: 3

Last Time Out
A tale of two halves ended in favor of Penn as the Quakers held off Rider, 66-57, on Saturday afternoon inside The Palestra. Sophomore Alyssa Baron led Penn with a game-high 30 points. The Quakers established control early, starting the game on a 10-0 run. Penn later went on a 14-0 streak over five minutes, Baron started it with back-to-back triples and freshman Kara Bonenberger added a lay-up and a jumper as the Red and Blue took a 20-point lead at 34-14. Almost everything Penn put up in the first half seemed to find net as the Quakers established a 45-22 cushion at the half. The Broncs made a quick push early on in the second half but behind Baron's continued hot hand, Penn seemed to regain control and had its largest lead at 57-33 with less than 12 minutes to play. Then Rider awoke. A 10-0 run from the Broncs pulled them within 14 at 57-43, but Baron broke the drought with a fadeaway jumper off the glass. The next time down, the reigning Ivy Rookie of the Year made one of two at the line and Penn led 60-43. Rider had one last burst in them, this one an 8-0 spurt that had the Penn lead in single-digits for the first time since early on at 60-51. But for nearly four full minutes, neither team could crack the scoring column, and when Knapp hit a pair of free throws to extend Penn's lead to 62-51, less than one minute remained in the contest. Four free throws from Baron in the closing seconds salted the game away.

Up Next
Penn has its first real road trip of the year with a long bus trip to Niagara Falls, N.Y. The Quakers tip at 2 p.m., against Niagara on Sunday, Nov. 27.

Download: 3-La Salle.pdf