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Penn forward Diana Caramanico recorded her sixth straight double-double on Tuesday with a 20-point, 11-rebound effort against Villanova.<br> (Michael Weissman/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

Going into Tuesday night's game at the Palestra, history did not bode well for the fortunes of the Penn women's basketball team. The Quakers, who were hosting Villanova in their final Big 5 contest of the season, had already dropped 25 straight games to the Wildcats and had never before won more than one Big 5 game in a single season. With a strong second-half run to seal the win, Villanova (5-3, 3-1 Big 5) made sure that tradition would not be broken as it defeated the Quakers (1-4, 1-3 Big 5), 61-52. Despite a surprising victory over La Salle last week, the loss to Villanova ended Penn's Big 5 schedule on a sour note. The Quakers have still never one more than one City Series game in a season. "They wanted it more than us down the stretch and they made the big plays to do it," Penn coach Kelly Greenberg said. The Wildcats were sparked by a 10-0 run late in the second half. After Penn guard Erin Ladley sunk 1-of-2 free throws to give the Quakers a 39-38 lead with 7:36 left in the contest, Villanova center Brandi Barnes took control of the game. The 6'3'' inside force for the Wildcats converted on three straight easy layups and sank a free throw to tally seven of her team-high 20 points in just a little over two minutes. "She's a really big girl," said Penn forward Julie Epton, who chipped in nine points on 3-of-5 shooting. "We need to do a better job of keeping our feet moving on defense." When Villanova guard Trish Juhline sunk a three-pointer from the corner at the 4:09 mark to cap off the Wildcats' 10-0 run and give them a 48-39 lead, the game was all but over. At the three-minute mark, Penn cut the lead to six, but that was the closest the Quakers would manage to get after the Villanova run. The Wildcats knocked down 13-of-18 foul shots in the final 2:30 to secure the victory. Once again, turnovers were the story for the Quakers. After a 27-turnover outing against Temple on Saturday, Penn was again extremely sloppy with the ball. The Quakers committed 16 turnovers on the night, including one stretch in which they turned the ball over on five straight possessions. "We need to take care of the ball more," said freshman guard Jewel Clark, who gave the rock away three times but contributed a team-high 12 rebounds. "One turnover is too many turnovers." Frustrated by Penn's lack of poise on the offensive end, Greenberg felt that the Quakers could have came out on top if they had just held onto the ball. "[The turnovers] weren't forced. It wasn't like Villanova came up in our face and made us [turn it over]," Greenberg said. "I thought the game was ours. They shot 3-of-20 from three-point range. You make Villanova do that, you should win the game. We did everything we could to put ourselves in a position to win." In the first half, both teams went pretty much basket-for-basket. After the Quakers took an early 14-12 lead just under eight minutes into the game, Villanova guard Mimi Riley nailed a three-pointer in between two nice penetration moves to score seven of her nine points. All of her scoring came in the first half. After a basket by Villanova forward Courtney Mix pushed the Wildcats' lead to seven, the Quakers went on an 11-4 run to tie the game at 25. The run was capped off by a rare three-pointer from Penn star forward Diana Caramanico. Penn went into the locker room down just three, very much within striking distance. The second half was a seesaw battle through the first 13 minutes, with neither team able to push their lead beyond three until Barnes began to dominate inside. Neither Penn nor Villanova shot the lights out on the night. The Quakers' 38.9 field goal percentage was slightly better than the 33.3 percent mark posted by the Wildcats. With such a poor shooting performance from the opposition, the Quakers expected to win the game. They blamed themselves, rather than the pesky Villanova defense, for the exasperating defeat. "I think we just made a lot of small mistakes and made their defense look better than it is," said Penn sophomore guard Jennifer Jones, who contributed six points in 16 minutes. "I think we beat ourselves," Epton said. "I don't think it was their defense that got us out of it." The Quakers will now have some time off to work out the kinks in their offense and prepare for the rest of their schedule. Penn's next game is January 28th against Stonybrook. "We have 16 days," Epton said. "We have that much time to get better."

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