Three Up, Three Down: Softball vs. Monmouth

Three Up Three DownThe Quakers have been absolutely dominant at home this season, only dropping one game last Saturday to Dartmouth. Their dominance at home came after a disappointing showing in Florida, but coach Leslie King and her staff inspired confidence and consistency into this Penn squad. So in this non-conference showdown, who will be up and who will be down?

Three Up —

Alexis Borden: Borden has been ‘striking’ fear into opponents this season. She’s currently second in the Ivy League with 91 strikeouts and her ERA of 1.94 is good for fifth. She pitched her second career no-hitter in Penn’s home opener against Lafayette and hurled seven shutout innings against Lehigh. She’s been on fire and there’s no sign of her slowing down.

Penn’s defense: Leslie King has built an intimidating defense, led by seniors Samantha Erosa and Stephanie Caso, who have performed well in their defensive and offensive duties. This defense has gotten Penn out of some frightening situations, including a few scenarios against Harvard in which freshman pitcher Linda Li needed some help getting out a few jams with runners on base. Luckily for the newcomer, though, she was able to escape with little damage thanks to the work of all eight other Quakers on the field.

Continue reading

Three Up, Three Down: Princeton Edition

Three Up Three DownIt's rare for the Penn-Princeton matchup to have no Ivy title implications. That said, both teams still have pride on the line: the Quakers (9-21, 6-7 Ivy) are looking to salvage a disappointing season by improving to a .500 record in conference play, while the Tigers (16-11, 9-4) will try to bounce back after suffering defeats on the road against Yale and Brown that ended their Ancient Eight championship hopes. When the two teams meet for what ESPN calls one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball Tuesday night at the Palestra,  who will be up and who will be down for Penn basketball?

Three Up-

Tony Hicks: It's hard to be "up" much more than averaging 23.8 points per contest over his last four games, but Hicks to continue his great play against the Tigers. Last time the teams met, Hicks was the lone bright spot for Penn, putting up 16 points in the defeat. Princeton has no defender quick enough to keep up with Hicks, who has only gotten better since their last meeting. The rookie guard is much improved from the free throw line, as he has made 40-for-45 (.889) from the charity stripe since the last Penn-Princeton matchup. With his quickness and shooting prowess, Hicks will likely put up 16+ points against the Tigers Tuesday night.

Darien Nelson-Henry: Despite Princeton sporting a lineup full of trees (no starter for the Tigers stands under 6-5), Nelson-Henry outweighs all of his opposing starters by at least 40 pounds. Combine that with soft hands and developing skills in the post, and the freshman center is in for a good night while carrying the load inside for Penn.

Attendance: A down year for Penn basketball has left the student section at the Palestra relatively empty on many occasions this season. However, a significant uptick in student attendance can be expected against Princeton. If nothing else, students will attend to wear their "Puck Frinceton" shirts and shout epithets at their rival school.

Three Down-

Three-point shooting defense: T.J. Bray buried the Quakers in January by burying six three-pointers on his way to a 23-point performance. Overall, the Tigers knocked down 11 treys while shooting 50 percent from distance. With Ivy League Player of the Year candidate Ian Hummer attracting attention inside the three-point line, the Penn defense will be distracted and end up chasing the ball around the perimeter. The Tigers, who lead the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Ancient Eight in assists, will succeed in making the extra pass and finding the open man.

Miles Cartwright: The junior guard struggled to find the bottom of the net against the Tigers last time around, converting just 1-for-7 from the field, and there is no reason to believe anything has changed for him since then. Unlike Hicks, Cartwright does not have the craftiness and agility to create his own shot and slice his way through the Princeton zone defense, and his three-point shooting has rarely been reliable this season. All signs point to Cartwright shooting well below 50 percent once again, though he can give Penn a chance to win by distributing the ball  and limiting turnovers.

Turnovers: Over the last three games, Penn has averaged just 13.7 turnovers per contest — a significant improvement from the poor ball handling earlier in the season. Additionally, Princeton ranks second-to-last in steal among the Ivies, which should help the Quakers maintain possession of the ball.

Three Up, Three Down: Dartmouth Edition

Three Up Three DownThe Quakers go from Cambridge to Hanover as they face Dartmouth to finish out their weekend back-to-back. Here are some predictions for tonight's contest:

Three Up-

Penn’s defense: After allowing Harvard to shoot 52.3 percent last night, it is hard to imagine that the Quakers couldn’t improve on the defensive end. Additionally, they move from the Ivy League’s highest scoring offense in Harvard to the lowest scoring offense in Dartmouth, making it much easier for the Red and Blue. Expect Penn to hold down the fort defensively as it tries to get a split this weekend.

Miles Cartwright: In the Quakers’ two conference victories this season, Cartwright has been their one constant. The junior guard has put up 50 combined points in Penn’s victories over Columbia and Brown. If the Quakers want to compete with the Big Green, they will need Cartwright to have another strong performance Saturday night. While he may not put up 25 points against Dartmouth, his steadying presence would go a long way towards a Red and Blue win.

Continue reading

Three Up, Three Down: Brown Edition

Three Up Three DownAfter an up and down game against Yale last night in which the bottom eventually fell out for Penn, the Quakers look to right the ship tonight against the Bears, who are coming off of a 63-46 loss at Princeton. Who's up and who's down?

Three Up-

Penn's free-throw situation: The Quakers shot just 12-for-20 (60 percent) from the line last night after shooting an even dimmer 1-for-3 against Cornell. So is this the same team that shot 26-for-29 at the charity stripe against Columbia? Perhaps against a Bears squad allowing opponents to sink nearly 12 free throws per game, we'll see a little Jekyll tonight at the foul line.

Darien Nelson-Henry: Taken out of the equation from the getgo by Yale's inside defense, DNH should improve upon the whopping one point he posted last night. At the very least, it'll take a low-post presence to combat Brown's rebounding prowess.

Continue reading

Three Up, Three Down: Yale Edition

Three Up Three DownThe past week has been full of ups and downs for the Quakers - an upset win over Columbia to a disappointing defeat to Cornell to the reemergence of Miles Cartwright to the likely season-ending injury to Fran Doughterty. Here are some predictions for the ups and downs likely to happen when Penn takes on the Yale Bulldogs on Friday at the Palestra:

Three Up-

Jerome Allen: If there was ever a time for coach Allen to step up, this weekend is it. Allen has been criticized often this season for his team’s lack of discipline and costly mistakes, but he has the chance to prove his doubters wrong if he can pull off a victory or two this weekend without Fran Dougherty and Steve Rennard.

Patrick Lucas-Perry: Over the season, the diminutive sophomore guard has slowly but surely made his claim to be a more integral piece in coach Allen’s plans. The Penn offense needs a spark from somewhere, which is exactly what PLP can provide. His fantastic three-point shooting cannot be ignored, and PLP should at the very least be the Quakers’ first option off the bench.

Continue reading

Three Up, Three Down: Cornell Edition

Three Up Three DownWith the Quakers coming off an upset win over Columbia to open their first Ivy weekend of the season, we take a look at who's hot–and who's not–as the Big Red come to town.

Three Up-

Miles Cartwright- The junior captain stepped up as a leader when the Red and Blue needed him the most Friday, pouring in eight points in the game's final two minutes to ensure that a nine-point second half lead wouldn't go to waste. Additionally, Cartwright was able to minimize his turnovers, a positive trend that he'll need to keep up against a Cornell team that averages seven steals a game.

Steve Rennard- After seemingly being left for dead, the junior was able to revitalize his season against Columbia. In 29 minutes of action, Rennard was able to score seven points on 2-4 shooting, including his first made three-pointer since a win over NJIT on Jan. 17th. If Rennard can maybe, just maybe, recapture his shooting touch from last year, the Quakers will only benefit from having yet another outside scoring threat.

Henry Brooks- Much like Rennard, Brooks was able to reverse an early-season bad habit on Friday night. In 28 minutes of action, the sophomore forward managed to keep himself out of foul trouble against Columbia's rangy big men, hearing only two calls against him on the night. Additionally, he showed some nice range in going 2-for-4 from the field, including one shot that was just inside the three-point line.

Three Down-

Patrick Lucas Perry's minutes, again- Where was he? If people thought that PLP had turned the corner after his sterling performance against Temple, they were wrong. Lucas-Perry received 15 minutes of playing time, but it seemed like far less, as he never seemed to establish much of a presence for himself on the court. The sophomore wound up going 0-for-2 from the field, and only managed to pick up a single rebound.

Every freshman not named Darien Nelson-Henry- It was a rough night for most of the Quakers' youngsters. Jamal Lewis tallied one assist, two turnovers, and a whopping three fouls in only seven minutes of action, earning him a comfortable spot on the bench. Tony Hicks scored eight points, but went 1-for-5 from the field. And, in keeping with tradition, Julian Harrell never even had a chance to take his warm-ups off.

The rims in the Palestra whenever Fran Dougherty shoots- Playing for the first time in a month following a bout with mononucleosis, the dynamic junior wound up going 1-for-5 from the field in 18 minutes off the bench, but his stat sheet could have looked a lot better. Dougherty had shot after shot take the exact wrong bounce at the exact wrong time, spoiling some sharp inside post and isolation moves by the athletic forward.

Three Up, Three Down: Temple Edition

After Saturday's loss to St. Joseph's, the Quakers take to the road to face off against Big 5 rival Temple, led by former Penn head coach Fran Dunphy. Here are some predictions for the final non-conference match up for the Red and Blue this season.

Three Up-

Darien Nelson-Henry: Over the past five games, the freshman big man has averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Nelson-Henry’s progression has been easy to notice, especially in the second half against St. Joseph’s, where the Quakers ran the offense through him in the post. Look for more of the same against Temple, especially since the only players above 6’9 for the Owls, Jimmy McDonnell and Devontae Watson, have combined for just 4.2 minutes per game.

Three point defense: Penn’s defense behind the three point arc on Saturday was well below par, giving up 11 three pointers and letting St. Joe’s take over the game. However, Temple is a very different Big 5 team, as they are 14th in the Atlantic 10 in three-point percentage, giving the Quakers a better chance of limiting long-range opportunities.

Continue reading

Three Up Three Down: Princeton Edition

Three Up Three DownPenn heads to the unfriendly confines of Jadwin Gym to take on rival Princeton. Here are some predictions for the Quakers’ first Ivy League game of the season.

Three Up-

Miles Cartwright- Cartwright was held to just six shot attempts against Lafayette and while Penn’s bench helped lead a strong comeback with him on the bench, he will need to be front and center if the Quakers have the chance of pulling the upset at Jadwin. He went 4-11 in last year’s season-ending loss to the Tigers, so expect the junior captain to have extra motivation heading into Saturday’s game.

Tony Hicks- Hicks has taken off in Penn’s last three games, scoring in double figures in each game despite coming off the bench. His performance against Lafayette may have been his finest of the season, as he not only tied a career high with four assists, but coach Allen trusted Hicks with the ball in his hands in the final seconds. With his recent performance, Hicks has the opportunity to increase his minutes and continue his recent success.

Continue reading

Three Up, Three Down: La Salle Edition

Three Up Three DownIn their second Big 5 game of the year, the Quakers will look to break a five-game losing streak at La Salle. Here is our first Three Up, Three Down of 2013:

Three Up-

Henry Brooks: The sophomore forward has seen more floor time with the recent absence of Fran Dougherty. Brooks has averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds in the past two games, nearly doubling his season averages. Dougherty is unlikely to play Saturday, so if Brooks can stay out of foul trouble, expect a big game from him.

Second-half shooting: Penn’s shooting percentages have been poor in the second half of recent games. Against Butler, the Quakers' field-goal percentage dropped a whole 16.5 percent from the first half to the second. But La Salle has a tendency to allow its opponents to shoot better as the game goes on, as its last three opponents have shot the same or better from the floor in the second half.

Jamal Lewis: Recently named Ivy League Rookie of the Week, the freshman guard averaged a combined 11.5 points and 5.0 assists at Wagner and Butler. The Quakers will need another solid contribution from Lewis to help make up for the absence of Dougherty and contain La Salle’s outside shooters on the defensive end of the floor.

Three Down-

Penn fouling troubles: The Explorers’ last two opponents have only been called for a combined 21 fouls. Meanwhile, the Quakers have averaged nearly 23 fouls per game this season. Penn’s well-documented foul troubles shouldn’t be as significant against a team like La Salle that prefers to play more on the perimeter.

Home court advantage: Although La Salle is 5-1 at home this season, it will be a very short trip for the Quakers to Tom Gola Arena. Central Connecticut, which is only 4-8 on the season, came away with a win at La Salle back in November, which should give hope to this young Quaker team.

La Salle shooting: The Explorers are a great offensive team, as they have several talented perimeter players who shoot the ball well.   But La Salle’s shooting percentages should take a hit against a stingy Quakers defense. Penn's 'D' leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage defense (.410) and ranks second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.319).

Three Up, Three Down: Wagner Edition

Three Up Three DownContinuing to struggle with non-conference opponents, Penn looks to end its 3-game skid with a road win against Wagner. Here's our final Three Up, Three Down of 2012:

Three Up-

Greg Louis: Louis put 19 points on the board in Penn's last game against Delaware, the first time he scored in double-digits this season. Although Louis's minutes have varied this season, his ability to score is much needed on a team shooting just 40.4 percent from the field. Louis may need to play a larger role in the next few games even if the five suspended players return. Louis's minutes have increased in each of the last three games, so look for his large presence to continue against Wagner.

Fran Dougherty: The junior forward leads the Quakers in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Second in minutes to Miles Cartwright --one of the five Quakers currently suspended-- Dougherty will need to continue to lead the team if they hope to end their current three-game losing streak. Against Delaware, Dougherty scored 18 points, while also tallying 9 rebounds. He has scored 10 or more points in seven of Penn's 10 games this season. With the Quakers' in flux regardless of who starts Saturday, Dougherty will likely continue to lead the team in minutes.

Continue reading