Early Deficit Too Much for Women's Basketball in 59-51 Defeat

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PHILADELPHIA - A late comeback attempt fell short in the final non-conference game of the season for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team. The Quakers trailed Temple by 24, but made it an eight-point game in the closing minutes before falling, 59-51, at The Palestra on Wednesday night.

The game also marked Penn's Big 5 finale. The Quakers (7-8, 1-3 Big 5) went on a late 18-4 run and closed to within single digits, but Temple (8-10, 1-1 Big 5) was perfect from the free throw line in the final minute to keep Penn at bay.

Both defenses dominated at the start. Over the first several minutes, the teams combined for 10 turnovers and just nine points. The Quakers held Temple scoreless for the first 6:51 and got off to a 6-0 lead behind a three and foul-line jumper from sophomore Kathleen Roche.

Temple closed to within 6-5, but a pair of driving layups from senior captain Brianna Bradford had the Quakers up 10-7 at the 10:31 mark.

But Penn went without a bucket over the next five minutes. A long jumper from sophomore Kara Bonenberger stopped a 10-0 Temple run, but the Owls also scored 15 of the next 17 to take a 32-14 lead into the half.

Temple scored the first four points of the second half to cap a 29-4 run over nearly a 12-minute span between halves. Bradford and freshman Rayne Connell each scored to stop the run, but Temple led 36-18 by that point.

Both teams then alternated baskets until the midway point of the half. Temple extended its lead to as many as 24, 51-27, before the Quakers made their run.

A stifling full-court press forced several turnovers and junior Alyssa Baron had nine points during the 18-4 run to get the Quakers back in the game. Following a three from Bradford and a free throw from Baron, the deficit was just 55-45 with 4:05 remaining.

A short while later, four points from sophomore Katy Allen had the Red and Blue within 57-49 with 1:08 to play. But Temple went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe to hold on for the win.

Bonenberger finished with 11 points and a team-high five rebounds. Baron led the Quakers with 12 points and three assists, while Roche had a game-high and career-high four steals in addition to five points and three rebounds. Bradford finished with a season-best nine points off the bench.

Penn was just 15-of-55 (27.3%) from the field, including 3-of-19 (15.8%) from three-point range. The Quakers were 18-of-22 (81.8%) from the free throw line. Temple was 22-of-47 (46.8%) from the floor and 4-of-10 from three. The Owls won the rebounding battle, 34-31. The Quakers forced 23 turnovers and had just 13 miscues of their own.

Next up, the conference season goes into full swing for the Red and Blue. The first two of six straight Ivy League weekends are on the road. Penn travels to Columbia (Feb. 1) and Cornell (Feb. 2) next weekend and then heads to Yale (Feb. 8) and Brown (Feb. 9) before hosting their first Ivy League game of the season in mid-Feburary.

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