There were concerns early this season about who would replace last year’s star power for Penn women’s basketball, but senior captain Ashley Russell has quickly put them to rest.
The guard put up a combined 51 points in the team’s three games last week, including a career-high 25 against NJIT to cap it off. Russell wasn’t just productive at the basket, however, adding 19 rebounds and 12 assists on the week as well.
Russell and the Quakers faced a stiff test against No. 1 Notre Dame on Monday, but they didn’t go down easily. Against one of the strongest defenses in the country, Russell led the way for Penn and scored a team-high 15 points, but her efforts were not enough for the upset as the Irish won 75-55.
Thursday’s game against Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s saw Russell do less on her own and get more help from her teammates, but her 11 points and career-high five assists were still valuable to the 65-45 win.
The Braintree, Mass. native wasn’t content with two strong showings, though, and had her best game on Saturday. Putting up a career-best 25 points, including hitting all four of her attempts from beyond the arc, Russell also led the team in rebounds and assists, with eight and four respectively.
The senior exploded with 21 points in the first half, already tying her personal-best mark by the break. She alone was responsible for an 11-0 run over a span of about two minutes in the second quarter. Russell and the team were never challenged, and Penn won easily 85-42.
Over the team’s first four games, Russell has stepped up and leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists. Her stellar performances have allowed the Quakers to get off to a fast start this season, earning her DP Sports Player of the Week in the process.
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