The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Senior forward Jordan Obi during the team's matchup against St. Joseph's on Nov. 14. Credit: Chenyao Liu

Entering Thanksgiving break with a 2-1 record, Penn women’s basketball traveled to California in hopes of extending its winning record in games against Chapman University, San Diego State, and University of California, San Diego. Ultimately, the team returned to Philadelphia with a bundle of air miles traveled and a record of 4-2.

The Quakers opened their trip with a powerful triumph over Chapman in the two programs' first-ever matchup, with a final score of 92-46. 

Apart from three instances when Chapman tied the score in the game's opening minutes, the Quakers dominated the scoreboard for the rest of the game, with all of the team's players seeing court-time and 11 of 14 Quakers scoring points. 

Penn started out with an aggressive approach, following up Chapman’s effort to tie the game with seven straight points — five of which came from senior forward Jordan Obi. She put away a total of 18 points, nine rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and two assists. 

Other players had a very successful game as well, with junior guard Stina Almqvist recording her third 20-plus point game of the season, junior guard Lizzy Groetsch registering 13 points, and freshman guard Abby Sharpe scoring 10. Penn ended up maintaining the lead for 94% of the game pulled away to its largest leading margin of the game of 46 points thanks to junior forward Iyanna Rogers’ swift efforts. 

“Whatever happens during the first game, you have to respond the next day, win [or] lose," coach Mike McLaughlin said. "The next day is a new day and you have to mentally respond.”

After their victory, the Quakers suffered a 74-49 loss to San Diego State. The Aztecs gained an early lead of six points before Almqvist responded with a layup. SDSU maintained its lead throughout the first quarter, though the Quakers stayed strong, knocking in free throws from Almqvist and a second-chance jumper via Obi.

By the end of the first quarter, the Aztecs built their lead back up to 10 points and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second quarter. At halftime, the Quakers trailed 34-16 with Almqvist leading the team with 12 points.

Almqvist remained the star on the court for the Quakers going into the second half by scoring another seven points. Despite these efforts, San Diego steadily built up its lead to 24 points, ending the third quarter up 58-34. 

Almqvist followed up her scoring streak set at previous games, completing her fourth 20-plus point game with a total of 24 points against the Aztecs. The end of the game saw two three-pointers by freshman guard Mataya Gayle and junior guard Marianna Papazoglou, while freshman guard Ese Ogbevire added six points. 

“We played against a very good team which really controlled the game, and they played really well while [we] struggled,” McLaughlin said.

The Quakers came back strong for their third and final game in California, securing a 76-68 win against UC San Diego. This is Penn’s second win against the Tritons, having previously beat them 60-55 exactly two years earlier on Nov. 26, 2021. 

Similar to the Chapman contest, 10 of the team's 14 players saw court time, with Obi playing the entire game. The Quakers started off strong, with Almqvist scoring the first point of the game. After a jumper from UCSD, Penn bounced back into the lead for three straight plays. They maintained this lead for the rest of the game. 

Obi and Gayle both experienced successful games, scoring 22 and 12 points, respectively. The Quakers' early lead allowed more players to come in off the bench, with Sharpe scoring 11 points, and senior guard Michaela Stanfield and sophomore point guard Saniah Caldwell each scoring two.

"We played three freshman guards upwards of twenty minutes each, and they’ve really responded," McLaughlin said. “I thought we played as a better team."

The Quakers never wavered contest, shooting a 0.526 from the field, 0.316 from three, and 0.714 at the free throw line.

Throughout the three games, Almqvist remained a standout, though she ran into foul trouble in the last game. Captain Obi also gained the opportunity to showcase her leadership among her stellar basketball skills. 

Moving forward, the team will take a day off to rest, but will immediately resume practice to prepare for its first Big 5 matchup of the season against La Salle on Nov. 29 at the Palestra.