PHILADELPHIA - The Quaker women's basketball team rallied from a 12-pointsecond-half deficit but solid free-throw shooting down the stretch sealed the victory for Marist, 70-65, Saturday afternoon at The Palestra.
Penn (1-9) shot well in the first half (52.4 percent on 11-of-21 shooting) but turned the ball over 13 times and Marist (6-4) capitalized with a solid shootingdisplay of their own.The Red Foxes nailed 7-of-15 shots from three-point range in the first stanza, led by Julianne Viani, who was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Down by 12 after Marist's Sara Smrdel hit a jumper to open the second half, the Quakers would slowly chip away at the lead on the shoulders of senior center Jennifer Fleischer, who was a dominating presence on the boards. With the Red Foxes up by eight points with just under seven minutes left, two free throws by Joey Rhoads and a jumper by Monica Naltner cut the score to 52-48.
"We played better in the second half because we rebounded the ball and played better on the perimeter," said Penn coach Patrick Knapp. "It was nice to have Monica back - she had some big shots for us."
Naltner, who had missed the previous two games due to a knee injury, played inspired basketball down the stretch. Marist built its lead up to nine points again with under two minutes remaining, but Naltner nailed a jump-shot and sunk a three-pointer on consecutive possessions to cut the lead down to four points again.
Marist then hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to seal its sixth straight win, while sending the Quakers to their ninth consecutive loss.
Fleischer finished with 19 points, including an 11-for-17 effortfrom the free throw line,and a season-high 17 rebounds on the game. Joey Rhoads scored 12 points and added five rebounds while Naltner had nine points and three assists for Penn.
Viani led Marist with 18 points and had five assists while Kristen Vilardi chipped in 13 points.
The Quakers return to action on Saturday, Jan. 7, as they open Ivy League play against rival Princeton at The Palestra. The game, which will tip-off at 7 p.m., will be televised regionally on the YES Network.