The Penn women's basketball team had a 19-2 first-half run and then responded well when Army came back. For the Penn women's basketball team, one of this season's themes could be "live by the run, die by the run." In many games during the first half of the season, the Quakers died by the scoring run, relinquishing large leads only to wind up on the losing end at the buzzer. This week, however, Penn has been living by the run, winning two games in a row. Their latest victory, a 73-61 defeat of Army last night at the Palestra, featured several runs by both teams. The difference in this game was that the Quakers were able to stop Army's runs and simultaneously create some of their own. "To stop the runs we talked about our defense having to do the job and if we could get a defensive hold, we'd be able to generate our offense," Penn coach Julie Soriero said. "We can't panic, we just have to realize and do what got us the 20-point lead in the first place." The first long scoring streak was a 19-2 run by Penn to put the Quakers up 43-21. But Army quickly countered with a run of its own, scoring the last 11 points of the first half and the first eight points of the second half to pull within three and remind the Quakers of numerous blown leads this season. Penn, however, stayed composed and never allowed Army to take the lead. After stopping Army's second-half momentum, the Quakers pulled ahead by 10 with 7:28 left in the game and never looked back. "I think we played with more confidence than in past games where we let leads slip away," senior co-captain Sue Van Stone said. "We recognized that we were clearly a better team and at no point did we ever start to play scared." The Army game was the second in a row where the Quakers were able to stop an opponents' run before Penn's lead completely evaporated. Against Bucknell last Saturday, the Quakers held a six-point lead with 2:24 left in the game. But the Bison were able to cut that lead to two with 30 seconds left. Penn, however, was able to hold on for the victory. "I think the Bucknell win really helped us a lot for the Army game, and now we can build off both these games," Van Stone said. The explanation for the Quakers' ability to stop harmful runs by their opponents is both mental and physical. "Every game we know that we go through these lapses, now we're able to recognize when we start to slump and we pull together," Penn center Jessica Allen said. "We used to get down on ourselves when we lost a lead. Now we are able to channel our negative feeling and remember that we can still win the game." The Quakers made physical adjustments as well. For example, when the Knights went on their run at the beginning of the second half, Army was able to double-team and shut down forward Diana Caramanico, who had scored 17 points in the first half. Penn responded to this strategy by distributing the ball along the perimeter, and thus crushing the run. "They made an adjustment in the second half and kept it a little tighter in the paint," Van Stone said. "We were a little slow to recognize that, but soon found other ways of scoring." With these mental and physical improvements, the Quakers have no reason to believe they cannot continue to stop opponents in their tracks when they start to run.Comments powered by Disqus
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