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The Penn women's basketball team beat Bucknell in its first game since coach Julie Soriero announced she is resigning. The Penn women's basketball team was able to put aside its second-half woes Saturday as it held on to beat Bucknell 56-53. The win snapped a two-game skid for the Quakers, who are now 4-10. "We responded very well to their runs in the second half," Penn senior co-captain Sue Van Stone said. "In previous games, when a team got momentum we couldn't do anything to stop it, but Saturday we didn't let them take control." The Quakers -- who made many key stops throughout the game -- were especially effective at shutting down the Bison in the second half. With 6:54 left in the game and Penn only up by two points, the Quakers made a number of defensive holds to maintain their lead. Sophomore guard Elisabeth Alexander hit a jumper for Penn to break a 39-39 tie. The Red and Blue then proceeded to hold the Bison without a field goal for the next five minutes. With 1:36 left in the game, Bucknell center Vicki Quimby hit a layup to keep the Bison in the game. However, the Quakers made their last six free throws to seal the victory. "In other games, when the score was tied or even when we were up by one or two, we would get tentative and something would go wrong," Penn co-captain Mandy West said. "But against Bucknell, we maintained our defensive pressure, responded well to their press, and hit our shots when we needed to." Penn also sustained its intensity on the boards throughout the game, outrebounding Bucknell 45 to 34, including a 24-to-19 edge on the boards in the second half. Van Stone and sophomore forward Diana Caramanico grabbed some key rebounds down the stretch to keep Penn in the lead, again preventing a second half collapse. "The difference in this game was that when the Bison kept themselves in the game, we played with less of a panic situation," Penn coach Julie Soriero said. According to Soriero, the team's shooting percentage and balanced scoring were also keys to the Quakers' win. Penn shot 41 percent in the second half while holding Bucknell to 35 percent from the field. In addition, three Quakers scored in double digits and a fourth finished with nine points. "We've learned this season that [Caramanico] and I can't go and score an outstanding amount of points and [have] the rest of the team not contribute and still come away with a win," West said. "When the points are distributed well like they were in the Bucknell game, the team stands a much greater chance for a win." The win was important for other reasons besides the fact that it gave Penn momentum going into a week with three home games. The game against the Bison was the first for the team after Soriero announced that this season would be her last at Penn. "Her announcement really kept us focused," West said. "It got the team to come together and because coach was so truthful with us, it hasn't been an issue." Despite West's comments, Soriero was impressed with her team's play after the emotional week. "I applaud their ability to keep their focus," Soriero said. "I stressed that there are a lot of games left to go in the season and the team should continue to play hard. I'm glad they responded." Van Stone kept Soriero's message in the back of her mind during Saturday's game. "Coach always tells us to come to the court each day, play hard and win," Van Stone said. "That's what we're going to continue to do."

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