Another game, another victory for Penn women’s basketball.
After dismantling La Salle during their home opener on Wednesday, the Red and Blue defeated Navy, 60-51, in Annapolis on Saturday, another impressive victory for the defending Ivy League champs.
“We’re still learning, still developing, still figuring out who we are,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We played a really great first home game, and tonight we put together a full 40 minutes on the road.”
The Quakers (2-1) were led by junior guard Keiera Ray, who notched five rebounds to go with her team-high 22 points. Various injuries limited Ray to just 11 games last season, but on Saturday she showed the flashes of brilliance that helped her score 10.6 points and notch an honorable mention All-Ivy nod during her freshman campaign.
“She played terrific,” McLaughlin said of Ray. “She kept the ball alive, she’s a real leader and she’s an attack, attack, attack type player.”
Penn raced out of the gate quickly, taking a 17-6 lead in the game’s first 12 minutes. Powered by a couple key baskets from freshman forward Michelle Nwokedi — who scored eight points on the night — the Red and Blue pushed their lead to 29-17 going into halftime. Combined with Wednesday’s effort against La Salle, it was the third consecutive half in which the Quakers held their opponent under 20 points.
Coming out of intermission, it was more of the same for Penn. Spurred by six straight points from Ray, the Quakers led 40-19 with 12 minutes to go.
Spurred by a barrage of three-pointers by senior guard Chloe Stapleton and sophomore guard Danielle Poblarp , the Midshipmen (1-3) mounted a comeback, trimming the Quakers’ lead to 51-40 with four minutes remaining.
“We defended them extremely well for the first 30 minutes, but to their credit, they started to hit some three-point shots,” McLaughlin said of the Navy run. “They gave us a bit of a scare at the end.”
However, a nifty three-point play by Ray with under three minutes remaining gave the Quakers the breathing room they needed to hold on for the 60-51 victory.
In the eight times the two programs have squared off, Saturday marked the first time Penn has beaten Navy in Annapolis.
Next up, the Quakers will play host to New Hampshire on Tuesday at the Palestra. The Wildcats, who finished third in the America East Conference last year with a 19-12 overall record, are a perfect 3-0 this season and are coming off a narrow 60-57 victory over Brown.
“I haven’t really looked through the film yet, so I can’t go into any great detail, but they’re a winning program,” McLaughlin said of his team’s upcoming opponent. “We’re definitely going to be challenged again.”
If the last year-plus has been any indication, the Red and Blue have shown that they are capable of rising up to meet those challenges.
Saturday’s game at Annapolis was simply another piece of evidence.Comments powered by Disqus
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