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December Total: 9
Season Total: 15
AMES, Iowa - A total team effort led to a dominant victory as the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team finished 2-0 at the Cyclone Challenge with a 61-39 win over Air Force on Sunday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
Penn won for the sixth time in the last seven games to improve to 6-4 on the year. Most of that stretch has come away from the Palestra, where the Quakers haven't played since Dec. 3. The Red and Blue have won four of their last five games outside of Philadelphia.
Penn had 11 different scorers, led by junior captain Alyssa Baron's 16 points. But it was the dominant team defensive effort that was most impressive. The Quakers allowed just 16 baskets and forced 23 turnovers. Eight Quakers had at least one steal and Penn finished with seven blocks, led by junior Courtney Wilson, who matched a career high with four.
Penn jumped on top early and was quickly up by double digits. Five different scorers had the Quakers up 16-4 following Wilson's steal and long pass to Baron for a fastbreak layup.
Air Force got within 18-9 at the 8:39 mark of the opening half, but sophomore Kathleen Roche sunk a three and the Penn lead was double digits for the remainder of the game.
The Red and Blue went on an 11-2 run to end the first half. There were five different scorers in that span. Baron connected on two fastbreak layups to end the half with Penn up 33-13.
The Penn defense continued to frustrate the Falcons in the second half. Air Force managed just one basket over the first six minutes. The Quakers' lead grew to as many as 24, 43-19, when sophomore Renee Busch led sophomore Kara Bonenberger to an easy layup at the 12:01 mark.
Air Force briefly closed to within 45-28, but the Red and Blue scored 10 of the next 12 and led 55-30 with 4:36 to play.
The Quakers shot better than 40 percent for the game at 23-of-57 (40.4%). They were just 3-of-20 (15.0%) from three, but were perfect from the free throw line on 12 attempts. Both teams had 37 rebounds.
Baron also added eight rebounds, two assists and three steals in 32 minutes. Sophomore Katy Allen had a career-high 11 rebounds in addition to seven points. Roche finished with eight points and four boards, while senior captain Brianna Bradford had a career-best four assists and added six points in 26 minutes off the bench.
Penn went unbeaten in its first two games in the state of Iowa. The Cyclone Challenge was hosted by Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference. The host Cyclones also went 2-0 in the tournament with wins over the same opponents.
Following more than a month-long break, the Quakers will finally return home to the friendly confines of the Palestra. The Red and Blue start 2013 by hosting Big 5 rival Saint Joseph's on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. Penn is 2-1 at home this season with its only loss coming in the final seconds to Virginia of the ACC.