PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team started off its season with a dramatic overtime victory over Lehigh, 76-73.
With 0.6 seconds left in regulation and the score still tied, Lehigh's Claire Sullivan missed two free throws to give Penn a second chance in overtime. The Quakers (1-0)outscored the Mountain Hawks (0-1), 9-6 in the extra frame to earn the win.
"There was never a question of our heart and desire to win in this one," said Penn Head Coach Patrick Knapp. "We fought hard till the end and luckily came out of it with a victory."
After trailing for the majority of the first half, Lehigh fought back and eventually would jump out to an 11-point advantage with nine minutes remaining in the game. The Quakers chipped away at the lead behind the sharp shooting of juniorsMonica Naltner, Rhoads and Lauren Pears.
Down by three in the final minute of the second half, Pears drained a key three-point shot to knot the game up at 67 and eventually send the game into overtime following Sullivan's missed free throws.
In the extra frame, the Quakers trailed by one point with just over a minute remaining when Rhoads sank her career-high sixth three-pointer of the game to give her squad a 73-71 lead. After Lehigh's Sara Ellis tied the game up again with two free throws, Pears was fouled at the other end of the court and made one of two free throws to give Penn a lead they would not relinquish.
Rhoads scored a game and career-high of 26 points and added five assists while Naltner went 8-of-15 from the field for 18 points. Senior Jennifer Fleischer ledthe teamwith 10 rebounds on the night.
Ellis paced Lehigh with 20 points while Adrienne Blount added 18 for the Mountain Hawks.
The Quakers return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 22, for a Big 5 matchup with Temple at 7 p.m., at the Palestra.
Written by Brady Smith, associate director of athletic communications.