PHILADELPHIA - Senior captain Kara Bonenberger earned Big 5 Player of the Week honors on Monday after she nearly averaged a double-double and helped the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team clinch its first-ever Big 5 championship last week.
For the week, Bonenberger averaged 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and was 12-of-17 (.706) from the field in addition to a pair ofblocks and assists. Most importantly, her game-changing play in the waning seconds against Temple helped Penn clinch a share of the Big 5 title for the first time.
Bonenberger was just shy of a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds against the Owls. Her biggest play came in the final minute where she set up the game-winning three-pointer in the 52-50 victory that sealed Penn's place as Big 5 champions.
Penn missed a potential go-ahead shot with under 30 seconds left. As the ball bounced around, Bonenberger dove to the floor and caused a tie up on the rebound. Penn had the possession arrow and retained possession. On the ensuing inbounds, senior Renee Busch promptly hit the game-winning three to earn the program’s first home win over the Owls since 1999 and first back-to-back wins over Temple since 1994-95. The win also marked the first four-game Big 5 winning streak in school history and the first time Penn has ever won three city conference games in a single season.
On Saturday, the 2011-12 Big 5 Rookie of the Year had another near double-double on the road against unbeaten and No. 22 Princeton. Bonenberger led the Quakers against the nationally-ranked Tigers with a season-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and also added a team-high seven rebounds.
This is the second career Big 5 Player of the Week honor for Bonenberger as she also won the weekly award as a freshman on Dec. 26, 2011. Penn has now claimed the Big 5 weekly accolade three times this season as sophomore Sydney Stipanovich won on Nov. 24 and Dec. 15.
Bonenberger and the Quakers now prepare for the final three non-conference games of the season, including one final Big 5 matchup.First, the Quakers host Richmond on Wednesday at 7 p.m. A week later, Villanova visits The Palestra for a 5:30 p.m. start—the first game of a doubleheader with the men, who tip off against Monmouth at 8 p.m. Penn then wraps up its non-league schedule with a road contest at NJIT on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.