Penn women's basketball handles Bucknell, 69-61

Quakers get hot at the end of the first half, hold on for win

· December 7, 2013, 10:26 pm

Michele Ozer | DP

Junior forward Kara Bonenberger helped guide the Quakers to its third consecutive win following losses to Notre Dame and St. Francis (NY) by contributing 16 points.

After playing against LIU Brooklyn on Thursday, Penn women’s basketball may have been expected to come into Bucknell tired.

But that was not the case.

Playing its second game in three days, the Quakers put down Bison, 69-61, behind a 15-0 run to start the second half.

The win is the third in a row for the Quakers (3-2) who have rebounded after starting the season with consecutive losses. This also marks the fifth consecutive time the Red and Blue have defeated Bucknell (4-5).

“That was a great win for us. They’re a good team and we had to respond,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We played very well, particularly late in the first half and the first few minutes of the second half. We played as well as we’ve played all year.”

The game started rather close, with the two teams trading baskets and leads throughout the beginning of the first half. However, the Quakers managed to find a way to get hot, ending the half on a 13-4 run.

The heat continued through the beginning of the second half for Penn, as they jumped ahead to a 24-point lead, 47-23, with 16 minutes remaining in the half. Bucknell rallied late, but the Quakers had just enough to hold off the Bison’s late charge and come away with an eight-point victory.

“We just stayed positive with each another, we figured out what we needed to work on. We came out, and we were confident with ourselves, and we just took it to them,” junior forward Kara Bonenberger said.

“They’re capable of playing good defense and getting good shots on offense, but everything just worked out well.”

One key aspect to Penn’s victory was dominant play inside that allowed the Red and Blue to come down with 15 offensive rebounds, while limiting the Bison to just three offensive boards of their own.

“That was probably our best effort on the glass. We played more man-to-man than we have in the past,” McLaughlin said. “They’re a good team and we held them on the offensive glass. If we can out-rebound them by that much, we’re going to have some success.”

This dominant inside play didn’t stop on the glass, as the Quakers found ways to score inside, with Bonenberger and freshman center Sydney Stipanovich contributing 16 and 15 points respectively.

“[Stipanovich] is doing really well. She was a factor on both ends,” McLaughlin said. “She altered a lot of their shots around the basket. On offense, she’s highly skilled, can go to her right or her left and that’s what she did.”

As always, the team saw a strong performance from senior guard Alyssa Baron, who paced the offense with a team-high 18 points. Even more important was Baron’s defensive effort as she came up with 4 of the Red and Blue’s 11 steals as they forced Bucknell into 21 turnovers.

The lone bright spot for the Bison was senior guard Shelby Romine, who came up with a game-high 23 points in the losing effort, as Bucknell couldn’t overcome Penn’s dominant inside play.

The win is the third straight for the Quakers, who are beginning to come into their own after starting the season 0-2 with losses to St. Francis and then-No. 5 Notre Dame.

“I think we’ve finally figured out how to play with each other,” Bonenberger said. “We know what each other are capable, and we play off of each other.”


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