Women's hoops defeats Army, 70-60
W. Hoops | Quakers survive late run from Black Knights to improve to 5-2
December 11, 2011, 11:23 pm · Updated December 12, 2011, 12:44 am·
Kai Tang | DP
After suffering a 31-point loss at Notre Dame, Penn women’s basketball was staring at two losses on the young season.
Down 10 in the first half to visiting Army, the Quakers responded to their first real bout of adversity and rallied for a 70-60 win to continue the best start in program history.
Senior forward Jess Knapp was particularly excited about the win.
“This is huge for us. It’s such an amazing feeling going from that low point in my career just two short years ago and here we are with the best start in program history. I think we’re only going to go up from here,” Knapp told Penn Athletics.
Penn and Army traded baskets for the first four minutes, after which the Quakers held a slim 7-6 lead. The Black Knights made their move over the next 10 minutes by strangling the Quakers on the defensive end and methodically scoring on the other. With 5:03 left in the half, Army held a 10-point lead, its largest of the game.
Coming off the thumping in South Bend, a team as young as Penn may have fallen apart after spotting a double-digit lead to the visitors. However, the young Quakers showed their toughness and clawed their way back.
Freshmen forward Kara Bonenberger said the team was unfazed by the early defecit.
“[The message] was to just push through it. We knew we had to be more physical but we knew we could get back. We just had to play our game,” she told Penn Athletics.
In the next four minutes Penn went on a 13-5 run to close the gap to two. Guard Alyssa Baron hit a three from NBA range and Bonengerger closed the run with four of her career-high 21 points as the Red and Blue headed into the locker room down 31-29.
“Our bench is huge. Because we have a deep bench, everyone can play. If we get down, anyone can come in and kick the energy right back up,” Knapp said.
Bonenberger was expectedly diplomatic about her career effort.
“It was all team work that helped to get a career-high. My teammates were able to find me and we were able to get each other open,” she said.
Penn carried its momentum out of the break, scoring the first five points of the half to grab a three-point lead, its first since early in the first half.
The Red and Blue continued to attack the Black Knights, as they turned the five-point run into a 9-2 one. Army didn’t go away, however, as it responded with a scoring streak of its own, closing the gap to 42-40 with 14 minutes remaining.
Penn seized control of the game for good over the next eight minutes with a convincing 13-2 run. Baron was good for seven points in that stretch and the defense was extremely tough.
The Quakers now have 12 days off for finals before they face Drexel on Dec. 22.