It was business as usual for what is looking like a title-challenging team.
Penn women’s basketball demolished a one-woman Wagner show Monday night, winning 78-50.
The Red and Blue (7-2) cruised through the match hardly ever having to change gears, dominating a Seahawks side (2-8) largely reliant on junior guard Jasmine Nwajei.
Nwajei scored 21 of her team’s first 23 points and 30 overall, but her work was not enough to keep Wagner within reach of the high-flying Quakers as Penn stormed out of the gates.
The hosts came out with high energy seeking to open the gap early on. Anna Ross led an electric start by contributing a couple steals in the first quarter which ended with her team up 26-7. Wagner gave up six turnovers, while Penn stole the ball nine times in the first half.
The Quakers did not let their foot off the gas during the second quarter, which ended 50-23.
It was a high scoring game, and the Penn offense benefited from such a shooting contest. Lauren Whitlatch lit up the court from behind the arc, making all four of her attempts from three in the first half alone.
In fact, the Quakers shot an eye-catching 57% from behind the arc. The game was conducive to scoring, as four Penn players scored ten or more points.
Inside the paint, top scorer Michelle Nwokedi put up 20 points while stifling the Wagner attack on defense.
“We threw the first punch and played really well today,” Nwokedi said.
“We really moved the ball well today,” Sydney Stipanovich echoed. The Co-Ivy League Player of the Week contributed another double-double performance.
Stipanovich had a relatively easy day, enjoying her flourishing partnership with Kasey Chambers, who dished out six assists.
“We moved the ball extremely well tonight,” coach McLaughlin said. “We played really freely on the offensive end. It was really clean, good basketball.”
The win over Wagner was McLaughlin’s 501st of his career, after claiming his historic 500th against Drexel over the weekend.
The Red and Blue have now won seven of their last eight contests. The team has two more games in the warmth and sunshine of Hawaii before opening Ivy League play against the Princeton Tigers in January.
“They’re going to be going on a great trip,” McLaughlin said. “It will be the experience of a lifetime for them.”
If every performance over the next few months goes like Monday night’s, the team should enjoy a great deal of success—while the squad is packed with stars, coach McLaughlin could not pick out a player of the game.
“It was a great team effort,” McLaughlin explained. “Sydney and Michelle were great together, and our guard play was great, too. That was really helpful tonight.”
For now, the squad will go home to spend a few days with family for the holidays. On Boxing Day, however, they will regroup and travel to Hawaii.
“This break is coming at a great time,” Stipanovich said. “We’ll come back refreshed.
“We all cannot wait for this trip. We’re eager to come back and play again.”
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