PHILADELPHIA - In a game that was much closer then the final score would suggest, the Penn women's basketball team fell to undefeated Saint Joseph's, 70-57, in a Big 5 match-up at The Palestra Wednesday evening.
The Quakers (1-6), who have now lost six in a row, came into the game expecting a tough night against the Hawks (7-0), but hung tight with their crosstown rivals for the majority of the contest in typical Big 5 fashion.
With Saint Joseph's holding a narrow first-half lead,a three-point play at the nine-minute mark in the first half by Jennifer Fleischer tied the contest at 22 apiece. Saint Joseph's then jumped out to a seven-point lead that was eventually cut back to three by the Quakers, before the Hawks scored six unanswered points to close out the first-half with a 42-33 advantage.
Saint Joseph's came out strong at the start of the second half on the heels of freshman center Hillary Klimowicz and guard Ayahna Cornish, building a 13-point lead by the 11:45 mark.
Penn responded quickly with an 11-0 run, capped by a three-point play by junior co-captain Joey Rhoads, who scored seven of the 11 points to bring the Quakers within two of the Hawks.
ButPenn would fail to convert on several opportunities down the stretch, and Saint Joseph's wouldput togethera 13-2 run of their own to seal the victory, paced by Whitney Ffrench who nailed 7-of-8 free throws during that span for the Hawks.
Rhoads had a stellar game for the Quakers with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting and four rebounds while Fleischer added 16 points and 12 boards for her third double-double of the season. Junior Lauren Pears had a strong day defensively for Penn, tallying seven steals and three rebounds to compliment four assists.
The Quakers played the majority of the second half without junior co-captain and leading scorer Monica Naltner, who left with a knee injury.
Klimowiczwasa huge inside force for theHawks with 15 points on 7-of-8 shootingto go along with 15 rebounds and six blocked shots. Cornish finished with 13 points and five boards for Saint Joseph's, who shot 50 percent as a team for the game.
The Quakers next hit the road on Saturday, Dec. 10, for a non-conference game at American in Washington, D.C. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.