In its third consecutive road game to open up the season, Penn women’s basketball — looking to rebound from a loss against Northwestern — fell to St. Joe’s in a tough 57-50 contest.
The game, which was back and forth the whole way, came down to which team could finish off the opportunities presented. While the Quakers (1-2) shot just 35.1% from the field and 30.4% from beyond the arc, the Hawks were able to make 40.4% of their shots from the field and 36.8% of their three-point attempts.
“Ultimately, we're going to have to make some shots, right?” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We had some open shots tonight that [we missed]. Hopefully, we start making them a little more. I think that will certainly get us where we should be.”
While Penn’s star senior guard Kayla Padilla struggled offensively, scoring a season-low six points, junior forward Jordan Obi had her best performance of the season, leading the team with 17 points. Junior forward Floor Toonders also had one of her best games yet, recording nine points, seven rebounds, a block, and a steal.
A rough offensive start saw both teams go through spells of time with no points being scored. Toonders opened up the scoring after three minutes of a defensive stalemate. Playing well defensively at first, the Quakers would grab the lead early. However, with four and a half minutes left to play in the first quarter, Penn would have its last lead of the game. St. Joe’s responded with several three pointers to tie the game before eventually taking the lead early in the second quarter.
Heading into halftime only down two, it seemed as if Penn was poised to make a comeback. However, a 21-point performance from the Hawks in the third quarter quickly put a stop to any momentum the Red and Blue had accumulated.
Through a late push led by Obi and sophomore guard Stina Almqvist, Penn was able to turn the game into a one-possession battle with under a minute to play in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Red and Blue, it was too little too late, as the lead that the Hawks had built up in the third quarter proved too large to overcome.
Riding off of St. Joe’s sophomore forward Talya Brugler’s game-high 23 points, the Hawks were able to close out the game, wining its third straight.
Despite the loss, Penn’s ability to push through a 14-point deficit to give itself a chance shows resilience that could be useful down the line, according to McLaughlin.
“As a group, the team responded really well,” he said. “I think what we did today will translate for growth for this team. We were a little bit more physical than we were [before]. I thought we defended harder than [before]. There's so much there that we can grow from.”
The Red and Blue will face off against No. 24 Villanova next in their home opener on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m., where they look to turn their season around in a statement game against their toughest opponent yet.