PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team looks to go 2-0 in the Ivy League for the first time since 2005, as Yale comes to town on Friday night. The Quakers will then host Brown on Saturday night, as they experience their first Ivy weekend of the 2015-16 season.
Penn’s tip against Yale (7 p.m.) will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Red and Blue opened conference play on January 9th, defeating Princeton at home for the first time since 2008.
Catching the Game
As always, fans can watch both games online at the Ivy League Digital Network. Friday night’s contest against Yale will also be streamed live on ESPN3. Live Twitter updates will also be available via @PennWBB. A complete recap and box score can be found on www.PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
vs. Yale, 77th meeting (Series tied, 38-38)
The Quakers have won the last four contests against Yale, including a pair of double-digit victories in 2014-15. Penn held the Bulldogs to 37.5 points per game last season, while Michelle Nwokedi averaged 16.0 points, and 10.0 rebounds. Coach McLaughlin dropped his first five games against the Bulldogs, but has since gone 5-2 against the conference rival.
vs. Brown, 77th meeting (Quakers lead series, 41-35)
Penn has enjoyed a great amount of success against Brown recently. The Quakers have won the last seven games against the Bears, and Coach McLaughlin stands at 9-3 in the series. In fact, Penn has won five of the last seven by double digits -- winning games by an average of 12.1 points. Michelle Nwokedi averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks in the two wins over Brown last season.
Yale vs. Brown
Both of Penn’s opponents this weekend have already finished their season series, with Yale getting the best of Brown twice. In matchups that were separated by just six days, the Bulldogs notched triumphs of 81-45 and 48-39.
Last Time Out
The Quakers lost for the first time in 49 days on Tuesday night, falling to Villanova by a score of 66-46 at the Pavilion. The Wildcats made 17 three-pointers, and held the Quakers to season lows in both blocks (1) and steals (1). Michelle Nwokedi and Sydney Stipanovich combined for 29 points and 15 rebounds, while the rest of the Quakers mustered just 17 points. Penn totaled just 22 points during the final three quarters, making just five shots from the field in the second half.
The Quakers will hit the road next week for Ivy weekend No. 2, traveling to Cambridge and Hanover for matchups against Harvard and Dartmouth.
Head Coach Mike McLaughlin is one win shy of recording 100 victories here at Penn. Earlier this season, McLaughlin notched his 500th career triumph, and currently stands with a 99-90 record with the Quakers. McLaughlin will become the second Penn coach to record at least 100 victories in a career. Former coach Lois Ashley has the most wins in Red and Blue history with 128 (12 seasons).
Michelle Nwokedi surpassed 500 career points on Tuesday night against Villanova. The sophomore now has 504 points, an average of 11.2 points per game. Sydney Stipanovich needs five points to reach 900 for her career.
Ivy League Success
Penn won 11 or more Ivy League games for the second-straight season in 2014-15. Prior to that, the Quakers had won 11 or more Ivy League games only twice in its entire history.
With their win over Temple last Thursday, the Quakers broke a program record with 11 non-conference wins in a season. In fact, Penn’s 12-3 start is the best in program history. Penn previously had 10 non-conference wins during each of the last two seasons.
Michelle Nwokedi (2.9) and Sydney Stipanovich (2.8) currently rank 1-2 in the Ivy League in blocks per game, and are the main reason that the Quakers rank fourth in the country in blocks per contest (6.7). Penn racked up the most blocks in a single game in school history against La Salle (16). Stipanovich and Nwokedi have combined for more swatted shots (86) than every TEAM in the Ivy League.
More Hardware for Stip
Sydney Stipanovich earned her second Big 5 Player of the Week award on Monday. She began the two-game stretch with a monster 21-point, 14-rebound, six-block performance against La Salle on Tuesday. It was her fifth double-double this season, and 21st of her career. She followed that up with another superb rebounding effort against Temple, hauling in 16 more boards (season high). She also scored nine points, and swatted away three shots. In all, Stipanovich averaged 15.0 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 4.5 boards per game, as Penn improved to 2-1 in the Big 5.
Stipanovich now sits eighth in the Penn record books with 21 career double-doubles. The Quakers are 20-1 all-time in those games, and 5-0 this season. In addition, she currently ranks second in the Ivy League in both rebounds (9.5) and blocks (2.8) per game.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Defense, which has been a staple of Mike McLaughlin teams over the years, is once again a strength for the Quakers this season. The Red and Blue currently rank 12th in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 52.6 points per game this season. They also rank fourth in the NCAA in blocks per game at 6.7. Last season, Penn ranked No. 3 in the nation with 6.6 blocks per game, seventh in the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense (.348), ninth in the country in scoring defense (53.5 ppg) and 31st in three-point defense (.281).
Michelle Nwokedi has a team-high seven double-doubles this season, and currently stands as the only player in the Ivy League that is averaging one. She leads the league, and is ranked 16th in the nation in rebounding (10.8) -- while also averaging 14.9 points per contest. She is also first in the Ancient Eight in blocks per game, swatting away 2.9 shots per contest. The Quakers are 7-0 in games in which Nwokedi has recorded a double-double.
Win over Princeton
The Quakers defeated Princeton on January 9, marking the first triumph at home over the Tigers since 2008. Penn now owns the last two Ivy League losses for Princeton, the first coming in the season finale of the 2013-14 season. Penn’s Ivy title in 2014 snapped a streak of four-straight conference championships for the Tigers. In addition, the win over Princeton signified the first time since 2004 that the Quakers opened Ivy play with a victory over the Tigers.
(More) Milestone McLaughlin
Head Coach Mike McLaughlin now has 506 victories in his career, sitting as one of just 30 active DI head coaches with at least 500 career triumphs. Following a storied career at nearby Holy Family in which he racked up 407 wins (fastest coach to ever reach 400), McLaughlin is 99-90 in six-plus seasons at Penn. In addition to the quantity of victories, McLaughlin has also kept the losses to a minimum, as he currently holds the fourth-highest winning percentage (.771) of all active Division I head coaches.
Despite not appearing in the first 10 games of the season (injury), freshman Ashley Russell has provided a spark for the Quakers over the last six. Coming off the bench, Russell has scored in all but one of the games in which she has checked into.
Junior (yes, junior!) Sydney Stipanovich became Penn’s all-time leader in blocks on November 24th against Colorado State. Stipanovich swatted away four shots against the Rams, and now has 228 blocks in her career. Stipanovich also owns Penn’s all-time single-season record for blocks with 97 during her freshman season. Stipanovich currently stands 77 blocks shy of the Ivy League record, set by Columbia’s Kathy Gilbert. With two more swatted shots, she will move into second in conference history
Sophomore Michelle Nwokedi was named Ivy League Player of the Week on November 30, after scoring a career-high 25 points gainst Colorado State. It was Nwokedi’s first-ever Player of the Week recognition. She was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week six times last season, en route to winning the conference’s Rookie of the Year award.
Quaker Quick Hits
*The Quakers scored a season-low 15 points in the second half against Villanova, making just five shots from the field.
*Sydney Stipanovich and Michelle Nwokedi combined to score Penn’s first 17 points of the game versus Nova. After beginning the game 9-of-10 from the field, the duo went 3-of-16 the rest of the way.
*The Quakers have not defeated Villanova since 2001 (Wildcats lead series, 41-2).
*The game on Tuesday snapped a streak of seven-straight games in which either Stipanovich or Nwokedi registered a double-double.
*Stipanovich and Nwokedi have combined for 12 double-doubles this season, but incidentally have never each had one in the same game.
*The win over Temple was Penn’s third triumph over the Owls in their last four meetings.
*Kasey Chambers erupted for a career-high 18 points against La Salle, making five-of-seven from the floor and seven-of-eight from the free-throw line. Chambers also tallied eight rebounds and six assists.
*The Quakers made 12-of-20 shots in the second quarter against La Salle, recording a season-high 27 points in the frame. Penn upped that season best by racking up 30 more points in the fourth quarter.
*The Quakers shot over 80 percent (18-of-21) from the free-throw line against La Salle. It is first time Penn eclipsed 80 percent (with at least 18 makes) since February 13 of last year (18-of-21, vs. Brown).
*The win over La Salle was the fourth-straight for the Quakers over the Explorers.
*Penn defeated Princeton despite getting getting season lows in both rebounds (7) and points (7) from Michelle Nwokedi, who entered the game as the team’s leader in both categories.
*The Quakers recorded a lower field-goal and free-throw percentage than Princeton in their win.
*Ashley Russell’s pair of three-pointers against the Tigers were the freshman’s first career points in The Palestra.
*Sophomore Lauren Whitlatch scored 17 points against Wagner, her highest output since pouring in 18 on opening night against Duke. She has now reached double digits five times this season.
*The Quakers hold a 21-1 record over the last three seasons when Sydney Stipanovich has grabbed 10+ rebounds.
*Penn scored a season-high 50 points in the first half against Wagner on December 21.
*Sophomores and juniors have accounted for over 94 percent of the offense for the Red and Blue this season.
*Penn has won 41 consecutive regular-season games when putting at least 60 points on the scoreboard.
Download: Yale's Game Notes.pdf