Women's Basketball 2011-12 Schedule
PHILADELPHIA - On Dec. 2, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team will travel to South Bend, Ind., to face off with 2010-11 NCAA national runner-up Notre Dame. Game time is to be determined.
Shortly after announcing a trip to San Diego for the Surf 'N Slam Classic, the Quakers have agreed to play at Notre Dame earlier that month.
"This is a great opportunity for our program," head coach Mike McLaughlin said. "This is a team that reached the national championship game last year. They are at the top level of our sport. So it's a great chance for us to play against some of the best competition the nation has to offer and at one of the nation's most prestigious universities."
This will be the Quakers' second meeting all-time with Notre Dame, and the first in South Bend. On Dec. 18, 1981, Penn fell, 62-47, to Notre Dame at The Palestra. Penn went into halftime tied with the Fighting Irish, 25-25, but couldn't keep up with the Big East squad in the second half.
Last season, Notre Dame went 31-8, and 13-3 in the Big East on their way to the NCAA National Championship game, where they lost to Texas A&M, 76-70. All eight of their losses came against teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation. The Fighting Irish defeated eight other teams ranked in the top 25, including back-to-back victories in the NCAA tournament to perennial powerhouse Tennessee in the Elite 8 and conference-rival Connecticut in the Final Four.
The Quakers look to reverse a history of struggles against the Big East. They are 3-32 all-time against schools from the powerhouse conference, with a 2-25 record against Big 5 rival Villanova (the last win coming in overtime in 2001). Their only other win against the Big East came against Georgetown in 1982. The Red and Blue's other losses were against Connecticut (2004 NCAA Tournament), Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers (2) and Seton Hall (2).
This trip also marks the furthest west the Quakers have traveled since competing in the 26th Annual Mildred and Roger L. White Invitational in Evanston, Ill., early in the 2009-10 season. Penn dropped both games in that tournament, the first to Iowa State of the Big 12 and then to host Northwestern of the Big 10.
Penn set a program record last year with the biggest single-season turnaround in its history. The Quakers finished 11-17 overall in 2010-11 and 5-9 in Ivy play. Alyssa Baron was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year as she led the Ivies in scoring (16.6 points per game), the first time a freshman has completed such a feat. The Red and Blue lost three seniors from the Class of 2011 - two of which were consistent starters - but have added six newcomers in Coach McLaughlin's second recruiting class.The full 2011-12 women's basketball schedule will be released in early September.