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Senior forward Silke Milliman passes the ball to a teammate during the game against Hartford at the Palestra on Jan. 10. Credit: Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford

The tale of David vs. Goliath tells of an outmatched, outgunned challenger taking on a far superior opponent and earning a miraculous victory. For the Hartford Hawks, there was no such miracle.

On Tuesday, Penn women’s basketball trounced the Hawks 76-30, adding a 16th defeat to the Hawks' dismal 0-16 record. It marked the Quakers’ final non-conference tilt of the season, and saw them flex their muscles in decimating fashion, extending their win streak to 10.

The domination was thorough and unrelenting. In the first quarter, Penn’s starters raced out to a 23-2 advantage. The Quakers’ suffocating defensive performance was reminiscent of their defeat of Brown several weeks ago, when they held the Bears to just four first-quarter points en route to a comfortable victory. But while Brown was able to prevent the deficit from multiplying over the periods that followed, Hartford struggled from buzzer to buzzer, ultimately giving Penn their second-largest margin of victory so far this season.

Credit: Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford Freshman point guard Saniah Caldwell dribbles down the court during the game against Hartford at the Palestra on Jan. 10.

The Quakers’ most noticeable edge was in the shooting column. Penn connected on an astounding 55.6% of their threes, many of them uncontested, while the Hawks shot a dismal 4.5% from beyond the arc. The Quakers’ clip is well above their season rate of 33.2%, a promising sign heading into the teeth of their Ivy League schedule.

Penn’s massive advantage also gave coach Mike McLaughlin the chance to empty the bench and give quality minutes to several players who had not seen extensive action. Among the bright spots were senior Silke Milliman (eight points), junior Michaela Stanfield (eight points), and freshman Georgia Heine (six points). In total, 11 Quakers finished with a plus-minus above 10.

There have only been four other teams to go winless in the history of Women’s NCAA Division I basketball, most recently Delaware State in 2021. With 11 games left on the schedule, (including four against Chicago State, who went winless in 2017), the Hawks will do everything in their power to dodge that dubious distinction.

On Saturday, Penn will take on Dartmouth at 2 p.m. at the Palestra, a contest that will be streamed on ESPN+. In all likelihood, the final score of that contest will not be as lopsided as this one. But the Quakers seem to have the wind at their backs, riding a remarkable win streak now in double digits.