Philadelphia - The Hawk may never die but the Quakers quieted the cry as Penn defeated Saint Joseph's, 64-57, at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse to open the month of December. It is the first Red and Blue win over the Hawks in program history, snapping a 29-game streak. Junior center Jennifer Fleischer poured in a career-high 21 points and corralled a season-high 16 caroms for her second double-double of the season and 10th her career.
Penn (3-2, 2-0 Big 5) used a six-minute, 19-2 run in the second half to ensure theQuakers' second win of the Big 5 season, another first for the program. The Hawks (2-6, 0-1 Big 5) jumped out to an 18-6 lead at the 12:10 mark of the first half on four-consecutive Whitney Ffrench free throws, her only points of the night. Penn then went on an 8-2 run sparked by a free throw and field goal from Fleischer, a jumper from Joey Rhoads and a trey from sophomore guard Lauren Pears. The run was part of a 19-8 spurt that allowed the Red and Blue to go into the locker room down, 26-25, at the half.
The Hawks opened the second frame with a 5-0 run to take a 31-25 lead with 1:06 having ticked off the clock. Five minutes later, Pears swiped one of her game-high four steals and took it coast-to-coast for the lay up, making the score 37-36 in favor of Saint Joseph's. After a foul gave Penn the ball back, Fleischer scored on a lay up to give the Quakers their first lead, 37-36. The Hawks took a 41-37 lead on a Kelly Springman lay up but besides an Ericka Pollacklay up at the 8:03 mark, it would be the last field goal they hit until their was 3:23 remaining. Pollack led the Hawks with 15 points.
Karen Habrukowichgave Penn the lead for good, 42-41, on her only three-point field goal of the night. The senior finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Rhoads scored nine of her season-high 16 points during the decisive 19-2 run, hitting 5-of-10 shots from the floor and all four free throws she attempted. Two of her charity-stripe makes, coupled with a Habrukowich free throw gave Penn a 56-43 lead with 4:05 left to play, Penn's largest lead of the night. The Red and Blue shot 73.7 percent from the floor (14-of-19) in the second half, outscoring the Hawks, 39-31, while holding Saint Joseph's to 37.5 percent (12-of-32).
Penn welcomes Villanova to The Palestra on Dec. 5 for the first of two-straight Big 5 tilts. The Quakers and Wildcats tip off at 1 p.m.
Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications.