PHILADELPHIA - A decisive second-half run carried the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to its fourth straight win on Wednesday night as the Quakers topped Army, 67-57, at The Palestra.
Penn (4-2) matched the best six-game start in program history and ended Army's seven-game winning streak. Junior Katy Allen finished two points shy of a double-double as she matched a career best with a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior Kara Bonenberger (14), senior captain Alyssa Baron (22) and freshman Sydney Stipanovich (17) also finished in double figures for the Red and Blue.
It was a tight game until the final minutes. Neither team led by more than two possessions until Penn went on an 18-4 run to put the game away.
Army (7-2) led 5-4 in the opening minutes, but a quick 8-2 run - capped by a three from junior Renee Busch - put Penn up 12-7 at the 13:47 mark of the opening half.
The lead was still five, 14-9, after Stipanovich's putback three minutes later, but Army scored seven straight to go up 16-14. Another 8-2 Penn run was sparked by a transition jumper from Baron and finished by a layup from Bonenberger for a 22-18 lead with 6:31 left in the half.
Army again tied it at 24-24, but Allen sunk a three on the next possession and Penn held on to a two-point lead, 30-28, at the break.
The Quakers found themselves in major foul trouble in the second half. Baron picked up her third in the first 16 seconds and Army made three shots from the charity strip for a 31-30 advantage. Penn pulled back in to the lead with back-to-back buckets from Stipanovich, but then she picked up her third foul with 18:36 to play.
Both players stayed in the game as Penn maintained a slight lead over the next six minutes. But Army came back to go up, 42-41, and Baron picked up her fourth foul. Moments later, Stipanovich was whistled for her fourth with the Quakers trailing 49-46 at the 8:43 mark.
With both players on the bench, the Quakers battled defensively and kept the Black Knights scorelss for the next two minutes. Down 49-48, both players checked back in and promptly each hit a deep jumper on back-to-back possessions to quickly put Penn up 52-49 with 4:49 to go. That sparked the game-clinching 18-4 run.
When Bonenberger sunk a jumper and senior captain Meghan McCullough buried a couple free throws, the lead was 60-51 with 2:29 to go. Penn led by as many as 13, 66-53, after four straight made free throws from Stipanovich.
Penn held the Patriot League's top offensive team to 33.3 percent (20-of-60) shooting. Penn was 23-of-53 (43.4%). Penn forced 16 turnovers and held the rebounding edge, 39-35.
Stipanovich had 15 of her 17 in the second half and finished with seven rebounds. Bonenberger added six rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes. Baron contributed six boards, a team-high four assists and a pair of steals.
Penn has now won six straight games in the month of December dating back to last year and has won nine of the last 10 (and 12 of the last 14) in the season's second month. The only other two teams in the program's history to start 4-2 were in 1980-81 and 2011-12.
The Quakers have 10 days until their next game, but will be busy as student-athletes. Leading into the City Six matchup with Drexel on Saturday, Dec. 21, Penn will have its Finals week. Then the Battle for 33rd Street tips off at 2 p.m. at The Palestra and can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.