Penn women's basketball outranks Army, 67-57
Quakers pull away late to snap Black Knights' seven-game winning streak
December 12, 2013, 3:35 am·
Jing Ran | DP
On the first of Penn’s reading days, Penn women’s basketball showed it had already been hitting the books.
With both team’s entering the game riding long winning streaks, Penn pulled off a strong 67-57 win over Army, chiefly thanks to a 20-4 run late in the second half. The Quakers (4-2) have now won four straight games, with their last loss coming against No. 5 Notre Dame on Nov. 23. Penn’s victory also snapped Army’s seven-game winning streak.
“We were really steady throughout and really executed the last eight minutes,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We locked down defensively and ran some good sets. It’s a great win during a stressful time with finals.”
Just as they had been in the previous three meetings of this series, which have been decided by 10 points or fewer, both Army (7-2) and Penn got off to a tight start. Neither team led by more than five points until there were less than three minutes remaining in regulation.
With Penn down 46-49 and 7:55 remaining, the Black Knights took possession and failed to score thrice after grabbing their own rebounds twice, as Penn’s defense began a stretch that would see Army fail to score for five entire minutes.
Meanwhile, Penn’s offense found its rhythm behind senior guard Alyssa Baron, who scored eight points during the 20-4 run that sealed the game for the Red and Blue.
“We were able to get stops and then push in transition, which we got away from in the beginning of the second half,” Baron said. “When we were able to get stops and push the ball out, we were able to get easy buckets down low and hit shooters on the outside.”
The story of the game was foul trouble on both sides. For Penn, the trouble began in the first half as the offense became stagnant after freshman center Sydney Stipanovich ran into foul trouble in just five minutes of play.
“Sydney had two fouls in the first half, that’s why I put her out there to start the second half,” McLaughlin said.
Late in the game, Army pushed Penn into the double bonus, committing a total of 12 fouls in the second half. Two of their starters, forward Olivia Schretzman and guard Brianna Johnson fouled out down the stretch, putting an end to any chance of a Black Knights comeback.
“It’s huge. They’re constantly in the bonus the way [the referees] are calling the game,” McLaughlin said. “You’ve got to make that a positive, you’ve got to be able to make fouls, you’ve got to be able to be aggressive at the right time, you’ve got to make that your third way of scoring.”
Once again, the post game was huge for the Red and Blue, as Stipanovich and junior forward Kara Bonenberger scored 17 and 14 points respectively. The team also managed a 4 rebounding margin against a Black Knights team that averaged a 7.1 margin over its first eight games.
“We’re playing a little bit bigger now, moving Katy Allen out to the three and putting out Sydney there,” McLaughlin said. “Personnel wise it’s allowed us to rebound more, but the emphasis in practice has also helped.”
The Quakers also did a strong job defending Army sophomore guard Kelsey Minato, who managed to score 20 points but only shot 5-for-16. Most of Minato’s scoring from the charity stripe as she converted all nine of her free throw attempts.
“We just didn’t want her to get off shots from the arc so we were going over the ball screens. When she came in, we forced her to go up against 6-foot-3 girls, make her shoot over them,” Baron said. “She still got her points, but by keeping everyone else in check, her scoring didn’t matter as much.”
Penn will have a 10-day break before returning to the Palestra on Dec. 21 to face City 6 rival Drexel.