PHILADELPHIA - Penn returns from the Windy City where it faced two of the toughest opponents on its schedule this season. Now the Quakers—who played just one home game in November—are back at The Palestra. Tip-off with Lafayette Wednesday is at 7 p.m.
Catching the Game
During the game, live video and live stats will be available at PennAthletics.com, while a full recap and box score can be found at that site shortly after the conclusion of each game.
In the Series
In 34 all-time meetings, both teams have won 17 times. Lafayette won on its home floor in overtime a year ago, 59-55, and have won three of the last four. That recent success against the Quakers has included the last two games at The Palestra as Penn will be looking to knock off the Leopards on its home court for the first time since an 84-63 win on Jan. 20, 2004. Lafayette coach Tammy Smith is 3-5 all-time against Penn, while Mike McLaughlin will be leading the Quakers in his first game against a Patriot League opponent.
About the Leopards
Lafayette dropped its season opener, but defeated Monmouth in its first road contest. Since then, the Leopards have dropped five straight, including a 59-48 defeat at home to Mount St. Mary’s on Monday—a team the Quakers host on Dec. 29. Lafayette has posted very similar stats to the Quakers so far this season. The Leopards are averaging just under 45 points per game and giving up just more than 61 points. The only glaring differences are Lafayette’s superior three-point shooting (28.8%) and its worse rebounding advantage (-16.4 pg). The Leopards are led by Lauren Jackson and LaKeisha Wright who are each averaging nearly 12 points per game. Wright also leads the team with 11 steals. Melissa Downey has a team-best 17 assists in the first seven games. Amanda Smith has proved to be the Leopards’ best rebounder at 3.7 per game.
Despite recently playing two teams from powerhouse conferences on the road, the Quakers still rank as the second best defense in the Ivy League. Penn has allowed just 60.8 points per game this season, second only to Princeton’s 53.2 ppg.
November Not to Remember
Now that we’ve entered the month of December, the Quakers are hoping that history repeats itself. For the second year in a row, Penn dropped all five of its games in November. But after this occurred last season, the Red and Blue responded with a winning record in December, going 3-2 (one of those losses was to Lafayette) and winning three of the last four games that month.
Penn’s opponents have taken an astounding 102 threes (20.4 pg) in the first five games ... Penn has won the last four games in which it was leading at the half ... Penn has lost the last four games in which they have allowed 60 or more points ... Three different players have led the team in scoring and four different players have led the team in rebounding in the first five games.
Senior Sarah Bucar has sat out for a total of three minutes this season and leads the Ivy League in minutes played per game. She has logged 197 minutes of playing time (of a possible 200) in the first five games, going to the bench only twice. Last week, Bucar played 78 minutes in Penn’s two games played within a 26-hour span. Her average of 39.4 minutes per game leads Judie Lomax of Columbia (39.3) who played in an overtime game earlier this season. Third in the league is senior and fellow team captain Caitlin Slover (36.4 mpg).
Four of the five teams that Penn has played this season reached the postseason last year. Drexel, Iowa State and Villanova reached the NCAA Tournament in 2009, while Duquesne played in the WNIT. Iowa State fell just one game short of the Final Four last season. With a little research help from a Penn parent, the combined records of the five teams Penn has played is 22-5.
Last Time Out
Against yet another power conference opponent, Penn was unable to stick around after the first half. The Quakers fell to Big Ten foe Northwestern, 61-39 Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. The game was the second and last for the Quakers at the Doubletree White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern. Senior Sarah Bucar was named to the all-tournament team. Northwestern scored the first four points and never trailed. Sophomore Jess Knapp’s layup got the Quakers on the board on the team’s third possession. She then countered a Wildcats basket with a jumper and after sophomore Sara Ely drained her first three-pointer of the season, Penn was down just one, 8-7, four minutes into the contest. The score was just 10-7 at the first media timeout, but Northwestern gave itself some breathing room with 14 of the game’s next 17 points. Only a three from Bucar broke stemmed the hosts run during that stretch, but at its end, the Quakers found themselves down 24-10 at the midway point of the half.Northwestern extended its advantage to 19 points at 33-14. Freshman Brianna Bradford knocked down a jumper for her first career points just before the half to bring the scored to 33-16 at the half. The team’s shared baskets for much of the second half. Northwestern led by as much as 22, but a 10-4 run capped by an Ely layup closed the Wildcats’ lead to just 16 with 7:36 remaining in the game. But that would be as close as the Quakers would get. Penn was down 18 with a minute left, but Northwestern scored the last four points for the final margin.
After a trip to Navy on Dec. 6, the Quakers close out their pre-holiday schedule with a game at The Palestra against Rider on Dec. 12. Penn will then resume play on Dec. 29 at home against Mount St. Mary’s.
Download: 12-2-09 Lafayette.pdf