Women's Basketball Set for National TV Showdown

Follow @pennwbb

PHILADELPHIA - Get home early on Tuesday or form a watch party at work. A national television audience will watch Penn (20-7, 11-2 Ivy) host unbeaten arch rival Princeton (29-0, 13-0) at The Palestra at 5 p.m. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network and is the first of a doubleheader with the men's teams.

Catching the Game
For the first time since Penn’s NCAA Tournament game on ESPN last season, the Quakers will be seen on national television. CBS Sports Network will broadcast live from The Palestra. Sean Grande holds the play-by-play duties and Megan Hughes-Perry will serve as the analyst. Live stats can be found at PennAthletics.com, while live twitter updates will also be available (@PennWBB). A complete recap, box score and highlights can be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. Princeton
We may be in the midst of the most hotly-contested era of a rivalry that dates back to 1974. Princeton won the first eight in this series and had recently won 11 straight before the Quakers knocked off the Tigers in an incredibly rare de facto Ivy League championship game in the season finale at Jadwin Gym last year. (Nearly identical to last season, Penn lost the first meeting by 31). In all, the Tigers hold a 53-24 all-time series lead, and have won six in a row at The Palestra.

Princeton-Penn 1-2
Princeton and Penn rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the Ivy League in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, three-point percentage, three-point percentage defense, blocked shots, defensive rebounding, and of course, wins. Penn is No. 1 in blocked shots and second to Princeton in the other categories.

Top 10 in the Nation
Head Coach Mike McLaughlin has always had strong defensive teams and this year is no different. As a team, Penn ranks No. 5 in the nation with 6.6 blocks per game, fifth in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.342), ninth in the country in scoring defense (53.0 ppg) and 19th in three-point defense (.275). Penn has allowed just 37.0 points per game over the last three games and on seven occasions this year, they have held an opponent under 40 points. The Red and Blue are also one of the nation’s most diciplined teams as they rank No. 10 in the NCAA with just 14.0 fouls per game.

Deja Vu
As is tradition, Penn-Princeton serves as the first and the final Ivy League games of the year. Last year, the Quakers lost 84-53 in the opener at The Palestra, but defeated the Tigers in a de facto Ivy championship game in the season finale at Jadwin Gym, 80-64. Penn is hoping for the same fortune this year as the Tigers won the opener by a near identical score, 83-54.

Case for Penn
If the Quakers can pull out a win over No. 13/14 Princeton, they will come closer to an at-large NCAA berth than any Ivy League team in history. The Ivies have never sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament, but Penn would have a chance, albeit slim, to earn a spot in the field of 64.
- Ivy League RPI is seventh in the nation behind only the Power Six conferences.
- Penn’s RPI is 49th entering Tuesday’s game and would improve even more.
- Penn would be 3-4 against the Top 100 RPI—wins over Princeton (14), Richmond (91) and Saint Joseph’s (87) with one ‘bad loss’ outside the Top 125 (Lafayette, 211).
- Penn would have finished the season with 10 straight wins (13-1 in last 14).
If the Quakers are not selected, they will earn the Ivy League’s automatic berth to the WNIT as the conference’s top school not to make the NCAA Tournament.

Its official. Penn’s 2015 seniors—the first class to win an Ivy League championship and Big 5 title—is the winningest class in school history. Seniors Katy Allen, Kara Bonenberger, Renee Busch and Kathleen Roche have won 73 games at Penn which bests the Class of 2003 for most career wins all-time. They have also won a school record six Big 5 games (also true for the current juniors), and no other class had won more than four.

Senior Kara Bonenberger is moving up Penn’s all-time scoring list. She became the 20th player in Penn history with 1,000 career points on Feb. 7 in a win over Columbia at The Palestra—the first Penn player to reach that milestone since former teammate and captain, Alyssa Baron, who did so on Nov. 30, 2012 and finished second all-time at Penn with 1,806 points. Bonenberger has now racked up 1,060 career points to move into 14th place all-time at Penn and is 16 points from passing Mandy West (1999-2000) to become the school’s 13th-best scorer.

Senior Kathleen Roche ranks 16th in the nation and third in the Ivy League in three-point percentage (.425). She recently moved into sole possession of sixth-place on Penn’s all-time career made three’s list. She has knocked down 149 shots from three-point range in her career and is 11 away from Jen Dorfmeister (1989-92) for fifth place at Penn. Roche, who owns the school record for threes in a half (six at St. Francis Brooklyn on Dec. 5, 2013), is tops on the team with 54 threes this season—ninth-most in a season in school history.

Penn Trends
Penn has won 11 of the last 12 Ivy League games at The Palestra ... Penn’s current starting lineup is 8-0 ... The Quakers have won 25 of the last 26 and are 43-2 (.956) over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent ... The Red and Blue have won 22 of the last 23 games when their free throw percentage is better than 70 percent ... Penn has won 39 of the last 41 games when outrebounding its opponent ... Penn is undefeated in regulation under head coach Mike McLaughlin (23-0) when scoring more than 70 points, and 24-1 overall (only loss came in double overtime, 88-84, at Harvard in 2011) ... Penn has made a three in 152 straight games ... Penn is 17-2 this season when leading at the half, but 4-5 when trailing.

Streaking Quakers
Senior Kara Bonenberger has started 90 straight games and Kathleen Roche has started 59 in a row ... Freshman Michelle Nwokedi has five or more rebounds in 11 straight games ... Sophomore Sydney Stipanovich has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games. The Quakers are 25-6 (.806) when Renee Busch makes a three ... Sophomore Sade Gibbons has played in 15 of the last 16 games off the bench and has a rebound in all but one game she has played this season.

Winning Seasons
The last three seasons have produced three of the four winningest seasons in school history. Before Coach McLaughlin, Penn had won 18 or more games only twice in its history, but has now done so in three straight seasons. The Quakers clinched back-to-back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than a decade. In the 2012-13 campaign, the Quakers snapped a string of seven straight losing campaigns and finished 18-13 and then followed that up with a 22-7 mark en route to an Ivy League championship last year. The last time Penn posted three straight winning seasons was 2002-03 (15-12), 2003-04 (17-11) and 2004-05 (15-12).

Non-Conference Success
Penn’s nine wins outside of league play matched the second-most non-conference wins in school history (last season’s Ivy championship team set the school record with 10). Prior to Coach McLaughlin, the Quakers had won nine non-league games only once in program history, but have done so in each of the last three years. Penn also set a school record with its fourth straight season at .500 or better against non-league competition.

Ivy League Success
Penn has won 11 or more Ivy League games for the second straight season. Prior to that, Penn had won 11 or more Ivy League games only twice in its entire history. The Quakers are 23-3 (.885) over their last 26 Ivy League games—the same record as Princeton over that stretch.

McLaughlin’s Magic Touch
Behind the fastest coach to win 400 games in women’s basketball history (at any level), the Quakers have improved their record in each season under head coach Mike McLaughlin. After a 2-26 campaign in his first year along The Palestra sidelines, Penn won 11, 13, 18 and 22 games in succession during his next four years. In addition, each of McLaughlin’s recruiting classes have produced the Big 5 Rookie of the Year (four straight). Penn had only one Big 5 Rookie of the Year before his arrival.

Above .500
With a win over Cornell on Saturday, Coach McLaughlin’s record went above .500 at Penn for the first time (86-85). Despite increasing Penn’s win total each season, the Quakers were just 26-61 (.299) in his first three-plus seasons. Since then, the Quakers are 60-24 (.714), including 42-14 (.750) the last two years. In Ivy League play, Coach McLaughlin lost 15 of his first 16 Ivy contests and started 12-31 (.279). Since then, the Quakers are 32-8 (.800) against the Ivy League.

Magic Number: 60
The statistic that may most indicate a Penn win or loss? 60 points. Penn has won 32 straight regular season games when scoring more than 60 points. Since head coach Mike McLaughlin took over at Penn, the Quakers are 59-9 (.868) when they reach that number (32-1 over the last two seasons with only loss to Texas in NCAA Tournament, 79-61). In comparison, the Quakers are just 27-76 (.262) when they’ve scored less than 60 points under Coach McLaughlin. The trend continues defensively. Over the last six seasons, the Red and Blue are 17-53 (.242) when allowing more than 60 points. But when holding opponents under that number, the Quakers hold a healthy winning record of 69-32 (.683).

About the Tigers
You know the deal. They are pretty good.

A Penn Win Would...
... be the first-ever over a Top 25 opponent.
... mark the 13th in the last 14 games.
... tie second-most Ivy League wins in school history (12).
... extend second-longest win streak in school history to 10 games.
... be the sixth straight at home and 12th in the last 13 Ivy games at The Palestra.
... be the second in the last three games against Princeton (first at home since 2008).
... finish the regular season with 21-7 record overall and 12-2 mark in the Ivy League.

A Penn Loss Would...
... cap the regular season with 20-8 record overall and 11-3 mark in the Ivy League.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out: W, 50-36 at Columbia | W, 56-42 at Cornell
They did it again. Twenty wins. For the first time in program history, Penn has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons. They overpowered Cornell on Saturday night and matched the second-longest win streak in school history with their ninth straight victory, 56-42, at Newman Arena. A huge 21-3 run that spanned both halves vaulted the Quakers, who were led by 16 points from Sydney Stipanovich. The previous night, another suffocating defensive effort led Penn over Columbia at Levien Gymnasium, 50-36. The Quakers forced 19 turnovers and allowed just 11 field goals as the Lions were held to just 26 percent shooting.

Up Next
Even with a win over the Tigers, Penn’s chances of earning the Ivy League’s first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament are slim. However, the Quakers have clinched the Ivy League’s automatic berth to the WNIT. That ensures Penn’s third straight trip to the postseason­—a school record. The Quakers reached the WBI and the NCAA Tournament in the two previous seasons. Selections for the WNIT are announced shortly after the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Monday, March 16. The first round of the WNIT would be played March 18, 19 or 20th at The Palestra or the home court of Penn’s opponent.


Download: 28 - Princeton.pdf