Women's Basketball Set for Surf 'N Slam Classic

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PHILADELPHIA - For the first time since 2005, the Quakers (6-2) head to the West Coast. Penn will take on UNC-Greensboro (2-8) Thursday and the host San Diego State Aztecs (6-4) Friday in the 2011 Surf 'N Slam Classic. Tip off for both Penn games is set for 2 p.m. (PST).

Follow the Quakers! Stay up-to-date on Penn's Trip
There is a lot on the itinerary for the Quakers this week. Keep up with the team's progress during the trip on the team's twitter account here. To make sure you get the most updated information on the team's whereabouts be sure to follow the account @PennWomensbball. It is free!

Catching the Games
If you are in the area, come support the Quakers! A link to tickets can be found here. Free video can be found here and live stats will be available at GoAztecs.com. A complete recap and box score can then be found at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In the Series vs. UNC-Greensboro and San Diego State
This is the first meeting for Penn against UNC-Greensboro and San Diego State.

About the UNC-Greensboro Spartans
Entering the tournament, UNCG has lost its last four games and is just 1-5 away from home this season, including a loss at No. 22/23 North Carolina. The Spartans had won two of three prior to the current skid. On average, the Spartans have allowed the most points in the Southern Conference (65.8 ppg). They also rank last in the 11-team league in field goal (43.3%) and 3-point percentage defense (40.4%). But are second in the So-Con in turnover margin and rank among the league leaders in steals. Breonna Patterson leads the team with 11.7 ppg after missing the first four games of the year. Janae' Stevenson scores at an 8.8 average, including a team-best 46.2% field goal percentage. Jarae Savage averages a team-best 4.8 rebounds, while Dayshaun Richbow leads the Spartans with 3.5 assists/game and 2.1 steals/game.

About the San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State won its first three games, including a victory over No. 18 DePaul. They lost four of their next five before posting wins in their last two games. The Aztecs rank second in the eight-team Mountain West Conference in scoring (68.1 ppg) with the third-best FG% (40.0). They lead the league in the league in rebounding margin at an impressive +6.6 and in turnover margin at +1.56. They also rank in the Top 25 in the nation in free throw percentage (73.2). Courtney Clements leads the MWC in scoring at 18.2 ppg and Chelsea Hopkins leads the conference in assists with 5.2 per game. Clements is second in the league with a 38.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Malia Nahinu is fifth among MWC players with 1.4 blocks per game, while Hopkins is sixth in steals (1.7 pg). On the boards, Chaires Culberson averages a team-leading 6.2 per game.

Best Start Ever
Just 20 months removed from a 2-26 season, the Quakers (6-2) are off to the best eight-game start in school history and sit in first place in the Ivy League with a winning percentage of 75.0%.

Winning Ways
Penn has won five straight at home for the first time since the program won seven in a row between the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons ... The Quakers have won six of eight games for the first time in seven years (2004-05 season) ... The Quakers have won six games before the month of January for the first time in the program's 42-year history ... Penn's six non-conference wins are tied for sixth-most all-time in school history.

Turning It Around
Penn has won three games this year after trailing at the half. The Quakers were 1-37 on such occasions in the previous two seasons. That can somewhat be attributed to a more potent offense. Penn was 0-18 in the last two seasons when allowing 60 or more points, but is 3-1 in that scenario this year.

Against the MWC and the So-Con
While this will be Penn's first-ever meeting with either school, it is not the first time the Quakers have faced teams from these conferences. Penn is 1-4 against Mountain West opponents, San Diego State's conference, with their sole win against Air Force in 2000-01 - the last time Penn played an MWC opponent. Recent years have seen Penn face off with UNC-Greensboro's Southern Conference foes on several occasions, highlighted by a season-opening victory over Elon in 2007-08, 56-54. Penn is 3-3 in six meetings with So-Con foes, and 3-0 in the last three contests (Davidson, Charleston, and Elon).

Heading West
The last time the Quakers traveled to the West Coast was in the 2005-06 season for the Washington State Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. The Red and Blue faced off with Rice (59-54) and San Diego (70-59) on consecutive days, dropping both games. Jennifer Fleischer contributed 23 points and added 18 total rebounds during the trip.

Traveling Quakers
Penn did not leave the city of Philadelphia through its first three games (two at home, one at La Salle). But since then, and including the Surf 'N Slam Classic, the Quakers have logged a lot of miles. The team's exact travels in the last month will have gone as follows: Philadelphia-->Niagara Falls, N.Y.-- ->Philadelphia -->Detroit, Mich.-->South Bend, Ind.-->Chicago, Ill.-->Philadelphia-->San Diego, Calif.-- ->Charlotte, N.C.-->Philadelphia. That's approximately 8,100 miles traveled and 34 hours spent on either bus or plane or the Quakers. Which doesn't include the time spent in airports and the deplaning in South Bend. Once again, you can follow every step of the team's trip on twitter: @PennWomensBball.

No. 2 in the Nation
As of the last national statistics release, only one school in the entire nation has allowed fewer three-point baskets than the Quakers. Penn is seventh in nation (out of 343) in three-point percentage defense. Opponents have made just 26-of-110 (23.6%) shots from beyond the arc against Penn this season. Only Wofford had allowed fewer made threes (15). The Quakers have been especially impressive recently. In the last five games, opponents have combined to go 12-for-71 (16.9%) from three.

No. 1 in the Ivy League
Penn has been near the top of the Ivy League in most defensive categories since Mike McLaughlin took over as head coach two seasons ago. The trend continues this year. The Quakers rank atop the Ivies in scoring defense (56.2), field goal percentage defense (35.5%) and three-point percentage defense (23.6%). The Red and Blue are also second in the league in blocks (4.0). That has translated into some early-season wins as the Quakers are also tops in the Ivies in winning percentage (75.0%).

Penn Trends Penn has had a freshman in its starting lineup for in 36 straight games ... The Quakers are 6-0 this year when they have fewer turnovers than their opponent ... Penn is 2-0 in games played on Thursday under Coach McLaughlin ... The Quakers are 4-0 in day games this season ... Penn has forced at least 17 turnovers in each win this year ... Senior Jess Knapp is 26 points away from reaching 500 for her career ... 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).

Ivy and Big 5 Winners
Freshman Kara Bonenberger and sophomore Alyssa Baron swept the Ivy and Big 5 Weekly Awards on Monday. The Ivy League announced Bonenberger as its Rookie of the Week for the fourth time, while Baron earned her third Player of the Week accolade this year. Bonenberger was also named the Big 5 Player of the Week. For the second straight game, she and Baron each scored over 20 points as the duo combined for 53 points in Penn’s 67-65 overtime win over Drexel. Bonenberger had a career-high 27 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, while Baron added 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Watching the Record Books
Senior Jess Knapp has now moved into sole possession of fourth place in the school record book with a total of 89 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 is currently halfway to the 22 she needed entering this year to become just the fourth player in the history of the program with 100 career blocks.

Charge for a Cure!
December: Autism Speaks
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 Autism Speaks, 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: 1
December Total: 4
Season Total: 17

Last Time Out
Penn continued the best start in program history with its first win in the Battle for 33rd Street since 2006, 67-65, in an overtime matinee at The Palestra on Thursday. Penn led by as many as 11 in the second half. But the lead was just two with 2.2 seconds remaining. Drexel's Marisa Crane beat the buzzer to send the game into overtime. With 1:02 left in OT, sophomore Meghan McCullough buried a deep corner jumper to put Penn up three. Each team then hit a pair of free throws and with 15 seconds to go, Jess Knapp blocked the game-tying three-point attempt. Baron snagged the rebound and made both free throws to seal the win. Drexel led by one at the half and held a 35-33 edge before the Quakers went on a 17-4 run. Freshman Jackie Kates capped that stretch with a pair of free throws to give Penn its largest lead, 50-39, with 6:13 to go. The Dragons chipped away and back-to-back threes pulled them within 56-54 with 1:04 left. That set up the dramatic finish to regulation.

Up Next
The Ivy League season begins when Penn returns home to Philadelphia. Preseason favorite and two-time defending league champion Princeton will visit The Palestra on Jan. 7. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

Download: 9-SurfNSlam.pdf