Women's Basketball Opens New Year at Miami

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women’s basketball team already has a date for New Year’s and it’s with the Miami Hurricanes. The Quakers (5-2) are set to start 2014 in Coral Gables, Fla., and will bring their five-game winning streak to the Bank United Center on Jan. 1 for the program’s first all-time meeting with Miami. Game time is set for 2 p.m.

Catching the Game
Fans can watch the game on Canes All Access. Live stats can be found here and live twitter updates (@PennWBB) are also available throughout the contest. A complete recap and box score can then be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. Miami
This will mark the first-ever meeting between these two programs. Coach McLaughlin is 0-4 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, while Penn is 0-13 all-time against the ACC. Miami will be Penn’s second ACC opponent of the 2013-14 season. Eariler this season, the Quakers fell at home to then-No. 5/6 Notre Dame, 76-64.

Tough Start
Though the Quakers started 0-2, they have faced some tough competition. Entering the New Year, Penn’s first two opponents this season are a combined 18-2 (.900). St. Francis Brooklyn is 8-2 and its only two losses came on the road to BCS opponents in St. John’s and Miami (Fla.). No. 2 Notre Dame is undefeated through 10 games.

Best Start
Despite that challenging start to the season, the Quakers have now matched the best seven-game start in program history. Currently at 5-2, the Quakers matched the 2011-12 teams for that distinction. Prior to Coach McLaughlin’s tenure at Penn, the Red and Blue had never won five of their first seven games, but they have now done so twice in the last three years.

Non-Conference Streak
With its fifth straight win on Dec. 21, Penn is currently riding its longest non-conference winning streak in 13 years. The last time Penn won five straight non-league games was in 2000-01—the program’s all-time winningest team (22 wins). That group won its last seven non-conference games and after a loss to a Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament, the 2001-02 team won its first two games for a nine-game non-conference regular season winning streak.

Decembers to Remember
The Quakers won’t be happy to see the calendar change. The holiday season has been kind to the Quakers under head coach Mike McLaughlin. Penn has won seven straight games in December and 10 of the last 12 (and 13 of the last 15). In contrast, the Red and Blue were 1-5 in November over the last two years. Penn’s last loss in December was at Drexel on Dec. 21, 2012 (77-50).

Against the ACC
The Quakers will be looking for their first-ever win over an ACC opponent. Overall, the Red and Blue are 0-13 against the powerhouse conference. Penn’s most recent ACC opponent, Notre Dame, came into The Palestra on Nov. 23. The Fighting Irish led by just six last in the first half, but led by 12 at the break and won by 22. Prior to that, Virginia came to The Palestra last season and barely survived, 68-65. The Cavaliers overcame a 15-point second-half deficit and Penn missed a game-tying shot at the buzzer.

Sunshine State Stats
- This will mark Penn’s first trip to the state of Florida since playing in the 1993 Lady Gator Classic where the Quakers lost to host Florida (80-49) on Dec. 28 and Ohio State (82-63) on Dec. 29.
- Penn is 1-3 all-time in Florida with its only win at Central Florida, 71-63, on Jan. 8, 1982.
- The road trip will also be a Homecoming for senior standout Alyssa Baron, who is a Miami native and attended Gulliver Prep.

Penn Trends
Penn is 4-0 this year when Alyssa Baron leads the team in scoring ... The Quakers have had at least two players score in double figures in every game this year ... Penn has had three different leading rebounders in the last four games ... The Quakers have won 14 straight games when they have outrebound their opponent ... Alyssa Baron has started 94 consecutive games for the Quakers ... Penn is 9-1 under Coach McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points (only loss in double overtime, 88-84, at Harvard in 2011).

Fourth to 1,400
Senior and Miami, Fla., native Alyssa Baron added seven more points, including the game-winner in Penn’s win over Drexel on Dec. 21. Baron also recorded her 500th career rebound in that game. Earlier this year, she became the fourth player in program history to surpass 1,400 career points and now has 1,477.

Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 31-8 (.795) when they score 60 points, including 3-0 this season. In comparison, the Quakers are just 18-65 (.217) when they’ve scored less than 60 points under Coach McLaughlin. The trend continues defensively. Over the last four seasons, the Red and Blue are 9-44 (.170) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 40-29 (.579).

Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Week
Freshman Sydney Stipanovich posted her second career double-double and helped lead Penn to its largest comeback in program history in a 46-44 win over Drexel. Her 14 points and 19 rebounds earned her Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Week honors as announced by the league office on Dec. 23. Stipanovich’s 19 rebounds were the most by any freshman in the nation this year against a Division I opponent and the most for a Penn player since Jennifer Fleischer grabbed 21 against Columbia on Feb. 17, 2006. Stipanovich is the first Ivy rookie to record 19 rebounds in a single game since Penn’s Diana Caramanico tallied 19 against Princeton on Jan. 3, 1998.

Charge for a Cure!
For the fourth straight year the women’s basketball team is dedicating its entire season to the fight against several diseases and the team needs your help. In its first three years, 146 donors have joined the “Charge for a Cure” program which helped the team raise nearly $9,000. Each month of the season will be devoted to help a specific disease with personal ties to the program. Fans can pledge a donation per charge and the amount of charges are totaled each month. The money raised will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (Nov/Dec), Dut Jok Youth Foundation (Jan.), Autism/Play 4Kay (Feb.) and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s (March). To join the team in Charge for a Cure, contact Eric Dolan at erdolan@upenn.edu with your pledge or any questions. For more information, click here.

A Penn Win Would...
... be the first in the state of Florida since 1982.
... match the program’s best-ever eight-game start at 6-2.
... be the program’s first-ever against the ACC.

A Penn Loss Would...
... snap a five-game winning streak and the program’s longest non-conference win streak since 2000-01.
... be the first since Nov. 23, 2013—a span of 39 days.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out
Senior captain Alyssa Baron capped the largest comeback in program history and gave Penn its fifth straight win with the game-winning jumper with 2.6 seconds left. The Quakers, who trailed 26-7 late in the first half, also claimed bragging rights over Drexel with the 46-44 win in the Battle for 33rd Street at The Palestra. Freshman Sydney Stipanovich, who tied the game with 1:31 to play, finished with her second career double-double and finished with a team-high 14 points and 19 rebounds. Following Stipanovich’s game-tying putback, the Penn defense—as it did throughout the matinee matchup—forced a tough shot and Stipanovich pulled down the rebound. When Penn missed a chance to go-ahead on the ensuing possession, that defensive process repeated itself. That gave Penn possession with 14.0 seconds left and Coach McLaughlin put the ball into the hands of the program’s No. 4 all-time leading scorer. Baron drove to her right, found space near the baseline and let go a running jumper that found the bottom of the net.

Up Next
When the Quakers return Philadelphia, they will have just two days to prepare for a home game against Norfolk State on Sunday at 2 p.m. Three days later, Penn travels to Morgan State for a 5 p.m. tip off on Jan. 8, and three days after that, the Quakers open Ivy play against Princeton at The Palestra (Jan. 11, 5:30 p.m.).

Download: 8-Miami (Fla.).pdf