PHILADELPHIA - Two tough tests await Penn as it heads to Chicago for the Doubletree White Invitational. The Quakers will spend the Thanksgiving holiday as a team in the Windy City before taking on power conference foes Iowa State (Big 12) and Northwestern (Big Ten). Penn tips with the Cyclones at 4 p.m. Eastern on Friday and at 5 p.m. Eastern on Saturday against Northwestern.
Catching the Game
Northwestern will provide a webcast of Saturday’s game and live stats will be available at nusports.com for each game. A full recap and box score will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each game.
In the Series
This will be the first meeting between the Penn and Iowa State women’s basketball teams. The Cyclones reside in Ames, Iowa, and have an enrollment twice that of Penn with more than 21,000. This will be the third time the Quakers have met the Wildcats on the hardwood—both of the previous meetings came at this same tournament. Northwestern was victorious in both, prevailing in overtime during the last meeting in 2000 and winning handily in 1995, 84-44.
About the Cyclones
After blowing out Florida Atlantic, 80-40, in the season opener, Iowa State dropped a close one to Drake, 78-75 Sunday. The Cyclones are averaging 77.5 point per game, mostly due to some stellar shooting thus far this season. In the first two games, Iowa State has shot nearly 50 percent from the floor (54-for-110), which includes an impressive 42.2 percent accuracy from behind the arc (19-for-45). They have outrebounded both of their opponents thus far. The Cyclones are led by 6-foot-7 freshman center Anna Prins who leads the team with 14.5 ppg, shooting at a 68.8 percent clip. Senior guard Alison Lacey leads the team with nearly 10 assists per game, while fellow senior Denae Stuckey leads the team with 3.0 steals and 6.0 rebounds per game.
About the Wildcats
Northwestern has jumped off to an impressive 4-0 start after only winning eight games last season. The Wildcats enter the tournament coming off of a 59-55 upset of 15th-ranked DePaul Tuesday night. The Wildcats have shot better than 41 percent from the floor as a team this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 30 percent from the floor. As a team, the Wildcats shoot 75 percent from the free throw line and have outrebounded their opponents by an average of 11 rebounds per game. Two Wildcats are averaging double figures thus far, led by junior center Amy Jaeschke’s 16.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Brittany Orban is averaging 10.3 points per game. On the defensive side, Jaeschke has 18 of the team’s 21 blocks. She and fellow junior Beth Marshall lead the team with eight steals, but two other players have also recorded five or more steals thus far.
Last Time Out
An early lead slipped away and a late surge was not enough as Penn fell to Duquesne, 65-58 Saturday at The Palestra. The Quakers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and held the advantage until the midway point in the half when the Dukes laid one in for the 11-10 lead. Immediately following a timeout, senior Sarah Bucar knocked down a three to put Penn back up. From there, Duquesne went on a 10-0 run. The Dukes took a nine-point advantage, their largest lead of the half, at the 2:17 mark. Penn answered back with two free throws and a layup by Kim Adams and a layup by Caitlin Slover to cut the deficit to five. However, a jumper by Duquesne’s Keri Pryor put the Dukes up 30-23 at the break. Fresh from the halftime pep talk, Jess Knapp scored a layup on Penn’s first possession. The teams traded baskets back and forth until Jerin Smith’s back-to-back buckets, put the Red and Blue within three. Down 39-36 at the 15:49 mark, Penn got the closest they would get for the remainder of the game. Led by their always tenacious defense, Penn threatened in the final minute. Bucar hit two threes to cut the deficit to four points. However, the final three free throws by Duquesne sealed the win for the Dukes.
Penn did not travel outside of the Eastern time zone last season, nor anytime in the last three seasons. Penn’s last game west of the Mississippi came in 2005 when the Quakers played both Rice and San Diego at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. Penn lost to San Diego on Nov. 27, exactly four years ago to the day when they tip off against Iowa State.
Long Trip #2
In fact, despite playing two road games thus far, this will be Penn’s first trip outside of Philadelphia this season. It will also mark the third different mode of transportation Penn has taken. The Quakers walked down 33rd Street as a team for the season opener with neighboor Drexel. The Red and Blue then took the bus for the short trip up the Schuylkill Expressway to take on Villanova. The team will now fly for its third road trip this year.
Enjoy the Flight/Holiday
With such a long layoff between long distance games, this trip will mark the first flight any of the current Quakers have taken as a team. The Quakers will fly to Chicago on Wednesday and will spend their Thanksgiving dinner together at Maggiano’s. The four-day trip ends with games against Iowa State and host Northwestern.
Four for four. But not in a good way for the Quakers. With Friday’s matchup with Iowa State, Penn will have played four straight teams that qualified for the postseason last year. Both Drexel and Villanova reached the NCAA Tournament in 2009, while Duquesne played in the WNIT. All Iowa State did last year was reach the Elite Eight. Both Duquesne and Iowa State are receiving votes in the national Top 25 polls.
After the longest road trip of the year, the Quakers will be back on their home court on Dec. 2. They host Lafayette at The Palestra at 7 p.m. After a trip to Navy on Dec. 6, they close out their pre-holiday schedule with a game at The Palestra against Rider on Dec. 12.
Download: 11-27-09 Iowa State.pdf