That's what you call a well-played basketball game.
Penn women's basketball dominated the whole way en route to a 88-55 drubbing of Brown. The Quakers (12-5, 3-1 Ivy) used a rapid start to coast the rest of the way, while the Bears (13-5, 1-4) couldn't break through Penn's press and 2-3 zone defense.
The first quarter was perhaps Penn's best quarter of the season. The Red and Blue shot a blistering 60 percent from field, with eight assists to boot. Freshman center Eleah Parker and junior guard Ashley Russel led the way early with eight points apiece, as the Quakers found open looks from anywhere on the court.
A lot of those open looks came off passes from senior guard Anna Ross, who was up to her usual stellar play as the facilitator.
"I thought the ball movement in the beginning gave us a lot of open shots, and we were fortunate enough to make them," coach Mike McLaughlin said. "And I thought Anna just set the tone. She was attacking the basket, opening the lane up, she didn't settle."
And while the offensive plan was working to perfection, the defense smothered the Bears. A full court press, coupled with a zone in which players were constantly move, led to four steals, two blocks, and several possessions where Brown was forced to chuck up bad shots to avoid shot-clock violations.
"I thought we were pretty locked in right out of the gate on the defensive end," McLaughlin said.
All told, the Quakers left the first 10 minutes with a 28-13 lead, and they never looked back.
The quick start has been something McLaughlin has preached to his team for years, and today showed why. Penn kept the ball rolling for the rest of the game, and aside from a short stretch in the second quarter, they looked nearly unstoppable on both sides of the ball.
"I think [the hot start] just gives us a lot of confidence going into the later part of the game," senior guard Beth Brzozowski said. "It just carries over, carries through into our shooting, into our defense, into all part of our game."
While Brown hung around for a little while in the second half, Brzozowski was instrumental in putting the game away for the Quakers. In a five-minute stretch spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth, the senior guard went 5 for 5 from the field with for 13 points.
All told, she matched her career-best with 16. But like any good teammate, she was quick to deflect credit to the other players on the floor.
"I think my team really created a lot of open shots for me, and I had a few good double-stagger sets that really opened things up for me," Brzozowski said.
Even with Brzozowski's hot stretch, no individual player was responsible for the win. Five different players reached double-digit points, and everyone who touched the floor impacted the game positively.
"It was a really good team win," McLaughlin said.
The Quakers have little time to revel in their team effort though, as they are back in action tomorrow against Yale. But if they can put up that same team effort, the rest of the Ancient Eight had best look out.
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