PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - It will be a quick turnaround for the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team, as just three days after posting a 78-68 win over La Salle, the Quakers visit Temple on Thursday night. Penn will be seeking its seventh-straight win (season long), and second Big 5 victory of the season.
Catching the Game
Fans can watch the game free of charge on OwlsTv. Live Twitter updates will also be available via @PennWBB. A complete recap and box score can be found on www.PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the game.
Vs. Temple, 47th Meeting - dating back to 1925 (Owls lead, 33-13)
The Quakers will be seeking their third win over the Owls in the last three seasons. Last year marked the first time since 1985 that Temple and Penn met twice in one season. The two squads split their two matchups, with the Red and Blue winning the regular-season battle. The Quakers bested the Owls, 52-50, on January 5 to clinch their first-ever Big 5 title. Temple answered back later in 2015 with a win over Penn in the WNIT. Prior to back-to-back wins in 2014-15, Temple had tallied nine-straight victories in the series, beginning in 2004.
Temple - Quick Snapshot
The Owls enter Thursday night with an 11-6 record (5-2 in the AAC), and winners of three of their last four contests. Prior to a loss to UCONN on Saturday, Temple tallied consecutive triumphs over Tulsa, Cincinnati, and Central Florida. Individually, the Owls are extremely balanced offensively with three players currently scoring in double figures. Alliya Butts (15.5), Feyonda Fitzgerald (14.9), Tanaya Atkinson (11.6) lead the way for an offense that is averaging nearly 70 points (69.9) per game. Fitzgerald is also dishing out a team-best 5.2 assists per game.
A Penn Win Would...
- make the Quakers 12-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big 5
- extend a season-long winning streak to seven games
- be the 11th non-conference victory of the season (program record)
- be the third win over Temple in the last three years
- put the Quakers one win away from at least sharing the Big 5 title
Last Time Out
The Quakers put together their two highest-scoring quarters of the season in a 78-68 victory over La Salle on Monday night. The Red and Blue first put up 27 points in the second quarter, turning a five-point deficit into a ten-point lead at halftime. Penn capped of the win by pouring in 30 more points in the fourth quarter.
Kasey Chambers and Sydney Stipanovich led the way offensively, with Chambers pouring in a career-high 18 points. The junior point guard also pulled in eight rebounds and dished out six assists. Stipanovich was also all over the floor, tallying 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 blocks. It is her fifth double-double of the the season, and 21st for her career. The Red and Blue put together their best free-throw shooting performance of the season, making 18-of-21 from the charity stripe (12-of-15 in the 4th quarter).
The Quakers wrap up Big 5 play with a visit to Villanova next Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Career-High for Chambers
Kasey Chambers erupted for a career-high 18 points against La Salle on Monday, making five-of-seven from the floor and seven-of-eight from the free-throw line. Chambers also tallied eight rebounds and six assists. Her previous career-high in a Quaker uniform was 10 points against UMBC on November 15. She also had 14 as a member of the Monmouth Hawks in January of 2014 against Rider.
The Quakers made 12-of-20 shots in the second quarter against La Salle, recording a season-high 27 points in the frame. Penn upped that season best by racking up 30 more points in the fourth quarter.The Quakers made 8-of-13 from the floor, and 12-of-15 from the free-throw line in the fourth. Penn combined to shoot 61 percent (20-of-33) from the field in the two quarters.
Michelle Nwokedi (3.0) and Sydney Stipanovich (3.0) are tied for first in the Ivy League (t-10th in the country) in blocks per game, and are the main reason that the Quakers LEAD the country in blocks per contest (7.0). Penn racked up the most blocks in the Coach McLaughlin era in the win over La Salle (16). Stipanovich and Nwokedi have combined for more swatted shots (78) than every TEAM in the Ivy League.
The Quakers are off to their best start in program history, and are one non-conference win shy of breaking a program record (11). Penn still has two games against the Big 5 remaining (Temple, Villanova).
Prior to being off last week, the Quakers had earned four-consecutive Ivy League Player of the Week awards -- the most recent coming on January 9. Sydney Stipanovich picked up her third recognition of the season after recording her fourth double-double of the season against Princeton. In addition to 12 points and 11 boards, Stip also dished three assists, and notched three blocks. Stipanovich won back-to-back Ivy honors to end the month of December, and now has nine weekly awards in her career.
Stipanovich now sits eighth in the Penn record books with 21 career double-doubles. The Quakers are 20-1 all-time in those games, and 5-0 this season. In addition, she currently ranks second in the Ivy League in rebounds (9.2) and tied for first in blocks (3.0) per game.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Defense, which has been a staple of Mike McLaughlin teams over the years, is once again a strength for the Quakers this season. The Red and Blue currently rank eighth in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 51.5 points per game this season. They also LEAD the NCAA in blocks per game at 7.0. Last season, Penn ranked No. 3 in the nation with 6.6 blocks per game, seventh in the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense (.348), ninth in the country in scoring defense (53.5 ppg) and 31st in three-point defense (.281).
Win over Princeton
The Quakers defeated Princeton on January 9, marking the first triumph at home over the Tigers since 2008. Penn now owns the last two Ivy League losses for Princeton, the first coming in the season finale of the 2013-14 season. Penn’s Ivy title in 2014 snapped a streak of four-straight conference championships for the Tigers. In addition, the win over Princeton signified the first time since 2004 that the Quakers opened Ivy play with a victory over the Tigers.
Michelle Nwokedi has a team-high six double-doubles this season, and currently stands as the only player in the Ivy League that is averaging a double-double. She leads the league in rebounding (10.6), and is slotted fourth in the conference in scoring (14.7 ppg). She is also tied for first in the Ancient Eight in blocks per game, swatting away 3.0 shots per contest. The Quakers are 6-0 in games that Nwokedi has recorded a double-double. The sophomore averaged 19.5 points, 16.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals during the Quakers’ trip to Hawaii over New Year’s.
Head Coach Mike McLaughlin now has 505 victories in his career, sitting as one of just 30 active DI head coaches with at least 500 career triumphs. Following a storied career at nearby Holy Family in which he racked up 407 wins (fastest coach to ever reach 400), McLaughlin is 98-89 in six-plus seasons at Penn. In addition to the quantity of victories, McLaughlin has also kept the losses to a minimum, as he currently holds the fourth-highest winning percentage (.771) of all active Division I head coaches.
Despite not appearing in the first 10 games of the season (injury), freshman Ashley Russell has provided a spark for the Quakers over the last four. Coming off the bench, Russell has made a three-pointer in three of the four games she has checked into, including a pair against Princeton.
Anna Ross has been contributing to the Quakers in almost every way possible of late. The sophomore, who reached double figures (career-high 25 vs. UNH) just once during the first seven games this season, has done so four times over the last seven. In fact, Ross is averaging 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals, and 2.5 assists over the past four contests.
Junior (yes, junior!) Sydney Stipanovich became Penn’s all-time leader in blocks on November 24th against Colorado State. Stipanovich swatted away four shots against the Rams, and now has 225 blocks in her career. Stipanovich also owns Penn’s all-time single-season record for blocks with 97 during her freshman season. She currently stands 80 blocks shy of the Ivy League record, set by Columbia’s Kathy Gilbert.
Sophomore Michelle Nwokedi was named Ivy League Player of the Week on November 30, after scoring a career-high 25 points gainst Colorado State. It was Nwokedi’s first-ever Player of the Week recognition. She was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week six times last season, en route to winning the conference’s Rookie of the Year award.
Quaker Quick Hits
*The Quakers shot over 80 percent (18-of-21) from the free-throw line against La Salle. It is first time Penn eclipsed 80 percent (with at least 18 makes) since February 13 of last year (18-of-21, vs. Brown).
*The win over La Salle was the fourth-straight for the Quakers over the Explorers.
*Penn defeated Princeton despite getting getting season lows in both rebounds (7) and points (7) from Michelle Nwokedi, who entered the game as the team’s leader in both categories.
*The Quakers recorded a lower field-goal and free-throw percentage than Princeton in their win.
*Ashley Russell’s pair of three-pointers against the Tigers were the freshman’s first career points in The Palestra.
*Sophomore Lauren Whitlatch scored 17 points against Wagner, her highest output since pouring in 18 on opening night against Duke. She now has scored double digits in two of her last three games.
*The Quakers hold a 20-1 record over the last three seasons when Sydney Stipanovich has grabbed 10+ rebounds.
*Penn scored a season-high 50 points in the first half against Wagner on December 21.
*Penn’s point total (46), second-half point total (20), and points off the bench (2) were all season lows against Saint Joseph’s on December 8.
*Sophomores and juniors have accounted for over 93 percent of the offense for the Red and Blue this season.
*Penn has won 40 consecutive regular-season games when putting at least 60 points on the scoreboard.