Despite the long trip to Iowa, the Quakers began their two-day stop in Ames, Iowa in style.
The Quakers had one of their best defensive efforts of the year, defeating Alabama State, 52-37, in the first game of the Cyclone Challenge.
Penn (5-4) held the Lady Hornets to just 25 percent shooting, which, along with the 37 points allowed, was the Quakers’ best mark of the year defensively. Alabama State’s two leading scorers, Nakiya Smith and Quentori Alford, also combined for just seven points.
With Penn’s two leading scorers, Alyssa Baron and Keiera Ray, struggling to score, the rest of the team stepped up to fuel the victory. The Quakers spread the scoring out among the entire team as nine players scored for a well-rounded effort. No one for the Red and Blue reached double figures.
The bench played a large role in the victory, combining for 20 points. This included senior Brianna Bradford, who had season highs in three categories with eight points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes. Renee Busch and Courtney Wilson also added six points each for the Quakers.
The second half was highlighted with Penn’s play from beyond the arc. After three treys in an opening half filled with scoring droughts on both sides, the Red and Blue put on an impressive effort from beyond the arc. Penn notched seven more treys in the second stanza for 10 threes overall in the game, including two each from Bradford and Busch.
The Quakers take on Air Force tomorrow afternoon in their final game of the Cyclone Challenge. It will be their fifth straight road game before they return to the Palestra to face St. Joseph’s on Jan. 5.