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January Total: 3
Season Total: 24
PHILADELPHIA - Five players scored in double figures and senior captain Jess Knapp returned to the floor despite two torn ligaments in her left knee to propel the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to a 75-50 victory over Columbia Friday night at The Palestra.
With their first Ivy win of the season, the Quakers reached the .500 mark once again at 8-8 overall this season and 1-1 against the Ivies. Columbia dropped its fifth straight game and fell to 2-15 on the year and 0-3 in Ivy play.
Freshman Renee Busch, who finished with a career-high 20 points, hit a three on the first possession of the game and the Quakers never trailed. Three other freshman were also in double figures on the night as Jackie Kates, who made her first career start, finished with 10, Katy Allen had a career-high 12 and Kara Bonenberger added 10 off the bench. Sophomore Alyssa Baron reached double digits for the 11th time this year with 13.
Knapp returned for the Quakers after missing nearly six full games due to injury. The captain tore her ACL and MCL on Dec. 30 against San Diego State, but has decided to play with the injuries. The Quakers were 0-6 without her in the lineup full time and are now 8-2 with her.
Busch had the first seven points for the Red and Blue and Kates buried a three to give Penn a 10-2 edge just 2:28 into the game.
Columbia closed to within 17-10, but Busch hit another three to start a 13-4 run that was capped by Baron's fastbreak layup. That gave the Quakers a 30-14 advantage with 6:23 left in the half.
Penn, which is now 6-2 at The Palestra this year, took a 13-point lead into the locker rooms, 37-24.
The teams shared buckets throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Penn lead was never more than 16 or less than 10.
It was 55-42 when the Quakers broke the game open for good. The Red and Blue defense held the Lions without a field goal for the next 5:51.
Meanwhile, sophomore Meghan McCullough sandwiched back-to-back threes between treys from Allen and Busch to propel a 14-2 Penn run. An Allen layup capped that stretch and had the Quakers in front, 69-44 with 5:19 to play.
Penn's 75 points were the most in a regulation contest under third-year head coach Mike McLaughlin. The Quakers were a season-best 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the field, including a season-best 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from beyond the arc.
In comparison, the Quakers, who led by as many as 28 points in the second half, held the Lions to 18-of-53 (34.0%) shooting, including just 4-of-16 (25%) from three. The Quakers won the rebounding battle, 40-32.
In addition to leading all scorers, Busch had a game-high and career-high eight rebounds. She also matched a career high with four assists - a game-high along with four from Baron. Busch was 4-for-6 from three-point range. Allen matched a career high with six rebounds and added two assists. McCullough finished with six points, three rebounds and three assists in 12 minutes. Kates, who was in double figures for the second straight game, added four rebounds and three assists.
In all seven Ivy League wins under Coach McLaughlin, the Quakers have not allowed more than 50 points and have won each by double digits.
Penn returns to action on Sunday for another Ivy showdown. The Quakers host Cornell in a Palestra matinee. Tip is at 1 p.m.