After five straight losses early in the season, the Quakers have turned it around with their first set of consecutive wins, the second coming in a blowout victory versus the Stony Brook Seawolves.
Fresh off a win against La Salle on Tuesday, the squad leaned into its momentum for an advantage and cleaned up the Seawolves 73-53.
Quaker head coach Mike McLaughlin said the team has grown from the past few losses, and that he is impressed with its improvement tonight.
“I thought we moved the ball much better. We shared the ball much better, just more smoother on the offensive end,” McLaughlin said. “I thought defensively we're showing signs of pretty strong progress as well. So overall, I think this group is definitely getting better.”
The Quakers started strong with a 41-26 lead at the end of the first half. In the first two quarters, the Seawolves met plenty of opportunities to put up good shots, but went 4-17 for first attempts, with an 16.7% accuracy from the three-point line.
The Seawolves fought back in the third quarter, though, emerging with a 3-2 full-court trapping defense and outscoring the Quakers 20-16. Penn remained calm and consistent in the fourth quarter, and ultimately widened the lead to a 20-point win.
The Red and Blue presented an outstanding collective offensive performance tonight, with four starters scoring in the double-digits. Yet even with this collective effort, the difference in tonight’s game was the squad’s three-point game. The Quakers shot 41% from the line, and nearly half of the Quakers' points came from a season high of 12 successful three-pointers.
Senior point guard Mandy McGurk had an excellent performance for the Quakers, scoring a career high of 18 points. Junior forward Floor Toonders also put up her first career double-double and had three blocks.
Coming off of the past few losses, McGurk said that the squad has been taking every possession seriously in practice in order to win games like the one tonight.
“I think four of our games we lost by less than eight points, and thinking about that basketball-wise, that's three or four more plays that we could have gotten back and had a different outcome,” McGurk said. “So I think in practice, we've just been thinking with that mentality, like we can't lose a possession, we can't just give one away, because those could have been game-deciders.”
Although he was impressed with tonight's performance, McLaughlin said that he still wants his players to continue improving rebounding, as he believes it makes a significant difference in closer games, like when the team lost to USC 66-60 on Nov. 23.
“I still think we have to rebound the basketball better. I think we're vulnerable to give up a lot of offensive rebounds that hurt us at USC,” McLaughlin said.
Looking forward, the Quakers' next nine games are at home. The squad is set to play Bucknell next Tuesday, Dec. 6.