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Credit: Ari Stonberg

Make no mistake, this game was over in the first 10 minutes. 

On Wednesday, Penn women’s basketball defeated La Salle 65-34, dominating from start to finish. 

The Quakers (5-2, 2-0 Big 5) came out in a two-three zone that the Explorers (0-8, 0-2 Big 5) seemed entirely unprepared for. By the first media timeout, Penn had a 13-0 lead. The Explorers responded by ramping up their defensive pressure and increasing the physicality of the game, causing some Penn turnovers. However, the Quakers, led by the steady presence of senior guard Ashley Russell, quickly figured out La Salle’s pressure and finished the first quarter with a 25-13 lead.

“I think we were playing into their speed. … I try to bring everyone in, talk everyone down, and just say ‘Hey! Next time, let’s focus on getting good ball movement rather than throwing the ball all over the court and dribble-driving ourselves into a trap.’ It’s taking it one play at a time and not letting any of the past plays affect the next ones,” Russell said.  

Credit: Ari Stonberg

Though it wasn’t necessarily clear from the score that the game’s outcome was all but decided, the eye test told another story. The Quakers had taken La Salle’s best shot, weathered the storm, and looked ready to run away with the contest. 

The rest of the game was a blowout. Sophomore center Eleah Parker had 15 first-half points and dominated the game on both ends of the floor. She was a difficult matchup for the Explorers on offense and anchored the Quakers on defense, allowing no easy buckets. 

“I think it started with the coaches really preparing a scout for us,” Parker said. “One of the key points was running the floor, and I think that was something that all of the posts did today. … It helped me get those quick easy layups. When we kept it simple, we were really successful.”

The Quakers will look to continue their success at Iona on Saturday, but they think they'll have to improve their focus on the offensive end. 

“[We have to improve] in the turnover aspect of the game. I think if we set the tone and stick to the Penn way we’ll be good,” Russell said. “We can’t speed ourselves up like we did today.”

The Quakers have a good chance to build up momentum and start a winning streak before they get to the big guns, but it all started with taking care of business today. They will try do the same against the Gaels (1-6) on Saturday. 

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