Women's Basketball Readies for Big 5 Opener

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PHILADELPHIA - For the first time this year, the Quakers will hit the road and play outside the friendly confines of The Palestra. But they won't have to travel far as the Red and Blue take on Philadelphia rival La Salle in their Big 5 opener on Monday night at Tom Gola Arena. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

Catching the Game
Fans can watch the game on GoExplorersTV. Live stats can be found at 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. La Salle: 41st Meeting
Though La Salle has won 33 of the first 40 meetings, Penn has taken two of the last three games.The Quakers won the first two meetings of this annual series - which began 40 years ago during the 1973-74 season - but the Explorers took 33 of the next 38 before this recent stretch of success for the Quakers. The home team has won four straight games as the Red and Blue look for their first-ever win at Tom Gola Arena. Overall, Penn is 1-15 on the road against La Salle and 0-7 since first playing at Tom Gola Arena in 1999.

About La Salle
Entering the weekend, the Explorers had won one of their first four games. The lone victory was a 10-point win at Manhattan. In the season opener, La Salle lost to Big 5 rival Temple by 13 at Tom Gola Arena. In the 13-team Atlantic-10 Conference, the Explorers have the stingiest defense as they allow a league-low 61.2 points per game. That can be attributed to some strong rebounding numbers as they rank second in the conference in that category. Offensively, La Salle is second-to-last in scoring at 58.8 and 11th in field goal percentage. Also in this young season, the Explorers are also last in the A-10 in free throw percentage. La Salle has three players averaging double figures though. Alicia Cropper will play nearly the whole game as she averages more than 38 minutes and scores more than 13 points per game. Khristin Lee, who leads the A-10 in steals, also averages over 13 points per game. Michava Owens adds another 11.5 points per game. Siobhan Beslow averages a team-high 8.5 rebounds.

Tough Start
The Quakers may be 0-2 to start the season, but they have faced some tough competition. Penn's first two opponents this season are a combined 11-2 at the moment. St. Francis Brooklyn is 5-2 and its only two losses are to BCS opponents in St. John's and Miami (Fla.). No. 5/6 Notre Dame remains undefeated through six games.

Busy Stretch
This is the start of a busy stretch for the Quakers. After playing just two games during the first three weeks of the season, Penn will have four games in the next 10 days. Following Monday's Big 5 opener, the Quakers have a three-day break before they host LIU Brooklyn on Thursday at The Palestra. Two days later, the Red and Blue leave Philadelphia for the first time this season as they head to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on Bucknell. And then after another quick three-day break its a matchup with Army at The Palestra on Wednesday, Dec. 11. That leads right into Finals at Penn where the Quakers will have 10 days between games before they host the Battle of 33rd Street against Drexel on Dec. 21.

Big 5 Records
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. Penn lost 24 straight Big 5 games after a win over Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 1, 2004 at Hagan Arena, 64-57, and were 1-30 since that time against the Big 5. But the Quakers have now won two of the last five against their city rivals at The Palestra, including a 65-56 win over La Salle on Nov. 30.

Penn Trends
At least one freshman has been in the starting lineup for the Quakers in 83 of the last 89 games ... Penn was 15-2 when leading at the half last season and 3-11 when trailing, but lost the opener this year after holding a 26-25 lead ... The Quakers had fewer turnovers than their opponents in a remarkable 26 of 31 games last season (17-9 in those games) and did so again in the season opener ... The Quakers have won 10 straight games when they outrebound their opponent ... Alyssa Baron has started 89 consecutive games for the Quakers ... Three different Quakers scored more than 20 points in a game last season (Baron, Roche, Ray) and Kathleen Roche’s 19 against Detroit were the most scored in a postseason game.

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 28-8 (.777) when they score 60 points, including 10-3 last year. In comparison, the Quakers are just 16-64 (.200) 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 (.168) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a winning record of 35-29 (.540).

Climbing the Record Books
Senior Alyssa Baron added another 10 points against No. 5/6 Notre Dame. She is currently the fourth-highest scorer in program history with 1,392 for her career. This season, Baron will chase Kirsten Brendel (1,656 points) for third place and Jewel Clark (1,743) for second. Clark is also 10th all-time in scoring in Ivy history. Former Quaker Diana Caramanico holds the Ivy League scoring record at 2,415 points. Baron became the 19th Penn women’s player to reach 1,000 career points on Nov. 30, 2012. She is the third-fastest Quaker to accomplish that milestone (60 games) and the first since Carrie Biemer topped the landmark in 2008. Only Penn’s all-time leading scorer (man or woman), Caramanico (48 games) and Mandy West (52 games) were faster to 1,000 career points.

A Penn Win Would...
... be the first back-to-back wins over La Salle for the first time since 1973-75.
... be the first-ever at Tom Gola Arena.
... be the first on the road against La Salle since 1973-74.
... be the first back-to-back seasons with Big 5 wins since 2003-04 and 2004-05.
... be the first of the 2013-14 season.

A Penn Loss Would...
... mark the third straight on the road.
... make the Quakers 0-3 to start the season for the second straight year.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out
It was a special day at The Palestra, as Penn welcomed the No. 5 team in the country, Notre Dame on Nov. 23. In the end, Notre Dame (4-0), which was making its first trip to the Cathedral of College Basketball since 1981, got the expected win, 76-54. Penn (0-2) battled the Fighting Irish all night. The Quakers only allowed the bigger and more athletic Irish a six-rebound advantage (43-37), and while the sample size is only four games, Penn held ND’s high-octance offense to its lowest scoring total this season. At the other end, Penn got a balanced attack -- three scoring in double figures, nine scoring overall. Freshman Sydney Stipanovich, playing just her second collegiate game, tied for team-high honors in both points (11) and rebounds (6). Junior Katy Allen also scored 11 points, while senior captain Alyssa Baron had 10. Baron also had five assists. Junior Kara Bonenberger was also notable with her effort, as she finished with six points and six boards before fouling out.

Up Next
Penn host LIU Brooklyn at The Palestra on Thursday. It will be just the second meeting between these two programs after the Quakers topped the Blackbirds in New York City last season.

Download: 3-La Salle.pdf