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Sophomore guard Melanie Lockett led Penn in scoring on Friday with seven points but the offense in general couldn't hang with Hampton in the 58-43 loss.

Credit: Michele Ozer

For Penn women’s basketball, the difference between the first half and the second half of Friday’s game was night and day.

After shooting 40 percent from the floor and 45 percent from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes of the game, the Red and Blue went ice-cold. And they were never able to recover.

A game that was once competitive turned into a display of speed and athleticism for Hampton as the Quakers fell, 58-43.

Hampton (1-5) dominated the boards. They raked in 58 total rebounds — including 30 offensive rebounds — compared to 35 total rebounds for the Red and Blue.

“You can’t give up 30 offensive rebounds and beat anyone anywhere at any time,” coach Mike McLaughlin said.

And the Quakers (3-3) struggled on offense perhaps even more than they did on defense. They opened the second half shooting 1-for-15 from the floor and only managed to sink their first field goal with 12 minutes left in the half.

In this span, the Pirates went on an 18-3 run, dominating and claiming the lead for the remainder of the game.

“We just didn’t have control of the game after the first 18 minutes,” McLaughlin said. “We need to find ways when we don’t score to show some life, and we couldn’t get life in anyone, and we just felt bad for ourselves. We couldn’t score and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Not one player on the team scored in double-digits with sophomore guard Melanie Lockett leading the way with seven points.

The Red and Blue’s struggles to score stemmed from not having solidified a go-to shooter when things aren’t going the team’s way. McLaughlin said that they haven’t quite figured exactly who will step up on the offensive end when the team faces adversity, but that they will focus on this moving forward.

Hampton, on the other hand, had no trouble getting buckets as freshman guard Malia Tate-Defreitas took over and scored 27 points on the night. Seventeen of those points came in the second half, helping the Pirates pull away.

The early fouls by three of Penn’s top scorers — freshman guard Beth Brzozowski, sophomore center Sydney Stipanovich and senior forward Kara Bonenberger — as well as 18 total turnovers did nothing to help the Quakers’ cause. Stipanovich provided a small bright spot with six blocks on the evening.

Nevertheless, McLaughlin never questioned his team’s desire to win, but he noted that the Quakers need to improve, and improve quickly, if they want to compete at the highest level.

“We care. We really compete,” he said. “We really try hard, but this game is going to give you some adverse times, and you have to be mentally strong. We are working on it in practice. I’ve seen little pieces of growth, but I thought tonight was a step back in that department.

“I was just really disappointed in how we responded to a little adversity. We just have to grow very quickly as a unit.”

On Friday night at the Palestra, when the going got tough, the Red and Blue did not get going. And McLaughlin made it very clear that they must in order to succeed in the future.

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