wbb-arussell

Senior guard and captain Ashley Russell leads the Red and Blue in assists and defensive rebounds per game.

Credit: Son Nguyen

The Quakers are out to seek vengeance.

After losing to La Salle (0-7) the last two seasons, Penn women's basketball (4-2) will look to halt that trend Wednesday night at the Palestra.

“We have a lot to show them this year and a lot to make up for,” senior guard Ashley Russell said.

As the reigning Big 5 champions, the Quakers are looking to take another major step towards repeating their title. Penn is currently undefeated in the Big 5 with a win against Saint Joseph’s earlier this season. 

“[Big 5 games] are a really big sense of pride for coach. Especially having them all at home this year, it really helps,” Russell said. “We have been paying attention to all of the games that are going on in the Big 5. There are so few games that we really take pride in each one.” 

In recent games, Penn has found its identity on the defensive side of the ball. Currently, the Red and Blue rank No. 23 in the country in points allowed per game, letting up just 53.5 points per contest. Even in its one point loss to Maine last outing, Penn only surrendered 47 points. 

The defensive unit's next challenge will be a La Salle offense that has been struggling to score this season. The Explorers, coming off of a 54 point loss to No. 9 Oregon State, are averaging just 51.6 points per game this year. That mark ranks 334th out of the 349 teams in Division I. 

On the offensive side of the ball, the Quakers are looking to turn things around. In both of Penn’s losses so far this season, the team has failed to pass the 55-point threshold. 

“I think we’re going to try and play the style that we play. I think that if we score the ball better in transition that will set up our whole game,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “Hopefully, we come out with an aggressive mindset on the defensive end and get the ball out in transition and not get stuck in the half court.”

One thing the Quakers will not do on Wednesday is overlook La Salle based on its record. McLaughlin has emphasized this point to the team throughout the week. 

“I don’t think it matters where anyone sits. We’ve had really good teams and they beat us,” McLaughlin said. “They’ve had really good teams and we beat them. I don’t think record wise it really matters much.”

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