So much for home-court advantage.
Penn women’s basketball never trailed on the road Sunday en route to a 67-60 win over New Hampshire, the Quakers’ third victory in a row.
After a three-pointer from sophomore guard Beth Brzozowski broke an 11-11 tie just before the eight-minute mark, the Red and Blue (3-1) never looked back. Penn leveraged the trey into a seven-point scoring streak, a 19-6 run and a game that was never again even.
The story of the day, however, was the play of guard Anna Ross.
Sunday was a coming-out party for Ross, who made the transition from the one to the two during the offseason to make room at point for transfer senior Kasey Chambers. The sophomore shot 8-for-11 and 3-for-4 from three for a career-best 25 points, critical to the large mid-game lead the Quakers needed to hold off the upstart Wildcats (3-1) as the game wound down.
“That was the best game I’ve seen her play since she’s been here at Penn,” coach Mike McLaughlin said of Ross’ showing. “She was awesome. She took big shots at the right time, she got to the basket, hit a couple threes, she was really confident.”
In the frontcourt, junior Sydney Stipanovich and sophomore Michelle Nwokedi held down the fort, with Stipanovich adding four steals and six rebounds to a 14-point performance while Nwokedi contributed 12 points of her own to the team’s effort and finished just one rebound shy of a third straight double-double.
“Sydney and Michelle, they always have their great games,” Ross said, noting that the success of the frontcourt opens things up for the guards.
“They don’t have to score every game, but they’re always going to have a good game whether they’re rebounding, they’re blocking, they’re doing something,” she continued. “I think we rely on them a lot and that they play well off of each other. We play better playing with them.”
In keeping with McLaughlin’s trademark defenses, the Quakers’ effort was secured by lockdown defending. The Red and Blue did not let up a second-chance point in the first half, ensuring that the few offensive boards New Hampshire managed to grab remained harmless. 10 steals and five blocks for Penn ensured that it would be difficult for the Wildcats to score all day.
Although the Quakers opened up a 56-42 lead midway through the third quarter, New Hampshire wasn’t ready to cede the game just yet. A 16-3 Wildcat run called the outcome into question ever so briefly as McLaughlin called timeout with just over five minutes to play and a razor-thin 59-58 advantage hanging in the balance.
“It was really one possession at a time,” McLaughlin said. “We never lost our composure, we managed ourselves really well.”
A pair of baskets from Nwokedi kept the otherwise listless Quakers afloat down the stretch, before Chambers sank four free throws in the final 30 seconds to ice the contest for the Red and Blue.
Following a seven-hour trip back home, the Quakers must recover quickly as they host Colorado State less than 48 hours later.
And the Red and Blue will hope that the rules of home-court advantage become applicable once again.Comments powered by Disqus
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