Remember back in November when the Penn women’s basketball team started the season 0-2 with two home losses? That’s okay: It doesn’t seem like the team does either.
Penn women’s basketball traveled to Baltimore, Md. on Wednesday and handily defeated Morgan State, 85-51, pushing their record to 8-2 on the year. The game marked Penn’s eighth straight victory, the longest non-conference winning streak and second longest overall winning streak in the team’s history.
The game was close for the opening six minutes until Penn unleashed a 13-point unanswered scoring outburst. Morgan State hung in there, but Penn closed the half on an 8-2 scoring run to take a commanding 41-25 lead going into halftime.
It was never close again, as the Quakeers shot the lights out in the second half en route to an astounding 52.7 field goal percentage for the game, more than doubling that of their opponents.
It wasn’t long until head coach Mike McLaughlin was able to rest his starters and empty the bench, allowing for 13 different members of the Red and Blue to score in the contest.
Ultimately, Penn ran away with the victory with both the largest margin of victory and most impressive scoring display of McLaughlin’s tenure. McLaughlin attributed his team’s offensive success to their willingness to keep each other involved.
“We have a bunch selfless players who just want us to be the best that we can possibly be,” McLaughlin said. “It’s about sharing the ball and playing together… We got a lot of really good shots based on ball movement.”
This unselfishness was exemplified by senior guard Alyssa Baron, Penn’s leading scorer on the year.
“Alyssa gave up some shots because she saw a better opportunity to pass the ball,” McLaughlin said. “She leads us by the way she competes.”
Baron led Penn’s balanced scoring effort along with junior forward Katy Allen, who scored her 14 points in only 16 minutes played. Freshman center Sydney Stipanovich chipped in another 13 points, and senior guard Meghan McCullough led the team with five assists.
In the end, just about every member of the team contributed in some way.
“Everyone on the team is able to step up and put the ball in the basket, and it show by how many points we were able to score tonight,” Baron said.
Penn dominated in just about every major statistical category including rebounding, where they had a 22-rebound advantage over their opponents. McLaughlin credited much of his team’s interior and defensive success to Stipanovich, who recorded six blocks for the second straight game.
“She was really big. She was able to change a lot of shots, and I thought that was a factor,” McLaughlin said.
“We have a bunch of post players who are dominating in the paint,” Baron said.
With the majority of winter break now over and a school-record eight wins in the season’s first ten games under their belt, the Quakers are ready to look towards Ivy League play.
However, they will have their hands full facing rival and four-time defending Ivy League champion Princeton at home on Saturday. No one understands this better than Baron.
“Princeton’s really going to come at us,” Baron said. “We’re coming in on an eight game win streak. They see that.”
“It’s a huge game for us to show that we’re able to be at the top of this league. We’re definitely going to be ready.”
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