Penn women’s basketball came into Tuesday’s matchup with Saint Joseph’s struggling offensively. Those issues continued for the entire first half.
But when the second half began, the Quakers came alive, defeating the Hawks, 65-51, to end a two-game losing streak.
The Red and Blue (4-3, 2-0 Big 5) have won their first two Big 5 games to begin a season for only the second time in program history, while the Hawks (3-6) fell to 2-1 in Big 5 play.
“First time we’ve been able to beat Saint Joe’s in a while so I want to celebrate that before we go onto the next task at hand,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. It was just the second time that the Quakers have ever beaten Saint Joe’s and the first time at the Palestra.
Down, 22-19, at the half, Penn immediately threw the ball to sophomore center Sydney Stipanovich in the post for an easy layup to begin the final 20 minutes. That play would epitomize the second half, as the Quakers put together one of their best offensive halves.
Stipanovich, who was limited by foul trouble and a nose bleed, was able to find her game in the post with the Red and Blue pounding the ball to her in the post. The sophomore finished with 13 points along with 11 rebounds, a game-high. It was her second double-double of the year.
“We’re trying to establish Sydney,” McLaughlin said. “If we get her going, our wings are going to be open and [senior captains Renee Busch and Kathleen Roche] can really shoot the ball.”
Penn began the second half by making its first seven shots, led by Stipanovich and Roche, who hit Penn’s first three-pointer of the game to give the Quakers their first lead.
And from there, Penn would never look back.
After Roche and Stipanovich gave the Red and Blue the lead, Busch, making her first start since her freshman year, helped put the Hawks away. Busch scored all 11 of her points in the second frame as she hit three treys to help the Quakers extend the lead.
“I was slightly more nervous than usual but I’m always a little bit ‘pregame nervous,’ which is a good feeling,” said Busch about starting.
While Busch couldn’t miss from beyond the arc, Saint Joe’s went cold. Penn’s defense kicked it up a notch, holding the Hawks to 29 percent shooting in the second half.
Despite the strong second half, the first half still displayed some glaring weaknesses for the Red and Blue. The squad turned the ball over 13 times, with nine out of the 10 players that entered the game turning it over at least once.
The turnovers prevented Penn from getting into an offensive rhythm as the team shot just 34.8 percent from the field in the first half, unable to make any three-pointers.
But the Quakers stayed within striking distance with their potent defense, forcing nine turnovers themselves while holding the Hawks to just 33.3 percent shooting.
It really helped that we started out well defensively in the first half because it kept us in it,” senior captain Katy Allen said. “When we start out well defensively, it doesn’t how much we score as long as they can’t score.”
Senior forward Kara Bonenberger also added eight points and six rebounds to the winning effort while Allen had an impressive all around effort off the bench, adding eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Roche finished with nine points.
The Quakers now have an 11-day break before their next game, a quick road trip across the street to face Drexel.Comments powered by Disqus
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