Second half spurt too little, too late for Penn women's basketball


Quakers can’t solve Owls’ full court press, score just 14 first half points


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Junior Alyssa Baron struggled from the floor, connecting on just four of her 14 shots. Her shooting percentage was still higher than the team’s 27.3 percent, a season-low.

Photo by Megan Falls


It took Temple over six minutes in the first half to score its first points. Once they scored, however, the Owls were off to the races.

Temple started slowly but went on an extended 25-4 run to end the first half and took down the Quakers, 59-51.

Penn (7-8, 1-3 Big 5) began with the first six points of the game, but the Quakers struggled with Temple’s full court press and were unable to find any offensive rhythm.

The press led to eight first-half turnovers for the Red and Blue and held the Quakers to just 14 points at the break.

On the other end, the Owls (8-10, 1-1) were led by senior center Victoria Macaulay, who took over the game in the paint.

Macaulay’s effects were far-reaching, as she not only led the Owls in points and rebounds but also helped put Penn forward Kara Bonenberger in early foul trouble.

“[Macaulay] is a big factor. She can score from [the] box, she can score from the foul line,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “I thought we did a good job defensively for the better part of 15 minutes of the first half, but the last five minutes of that half — particularly her — really hurt us.”

The final score was not indicative of the vast difference in Penn’s play coming after the half.

The Red and Blue put a big dent in Temple’s 24-point lead in the second half due to a strong defensive effort. Penn forced 23 turnovers and went on an 18-4 run of its own to make the score close at the end.

Much of the run stemmed from Temple’s second-half foul trouble. After drawing just two first-half fouls, the Quakers drew a whopping 15 in the second half, leading to 20 free-throw attempts in the second half.

Despite the late spurt, though, the Quakers continued to struggle offensively.

Junior Alyssa Baron had a rough night from the field, shooting just 4-for-14 and missing all three of her attempts from downtown.

Her struggles were indicative of Penn’s rough offensive night. The Quakers made just 27.3 percent of their field goals, a season low, and shot just 15.8 percent from three-point range.

“We just did not play well in the first half,” McLaughlin said. “They sped us up a little bit.

“Usually, we’ve done really well when teams have sped us up. But they sped us up, recovered and then we ran some poor half-court sets.”

To make matters worse for the Quakers, sophomore Jessica Monsman went down with a knee injury early in the second half.

Monsman missed all but one game last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and appeared to re-injure the same knee she hurt in early 2011.

“[The trainers] are going to evaluate her tomorrow,” McLaughlin said. “It’s disappointing. I hope this is just a minor setback for her.”

The loss to Temple was Penn’s final non-conference game. The Red and Blue finish with a 7-7 record outside of the Ivy League.

The Quakers have 13 games remaining, all against the rest of the Ancient Eight. Now, Penn looks to use its experience out of conference against their Ivy opponents.

“I feel that we are ready for league play if we can put all of these experiences into one package,” McLaughlin said.

“Starting with the first five on the road, I think we’re going to have to be a little bit mentally sharper, a little bit mentally stronger.”

SEE ALSO

Penn women’s basketball getting ready for battle against youthful Temple

Close call between Penn women’s basketball and ’Nova

2012 Penn women’s basketball grad Knapp faces new challenges

Princeton blows out Penn women’s basketball, 77-47

Behind Enemy Lines: Princeton’s Courtney Banghart

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