WASHINGTON, D.C. The Penn women’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 70-68 overtime loss at American on Saturday evening, overshadowing a stellar 27-point performance by junior Joey Rhoads.
Rhoads’ dramatic game-tying three-pointer with 9.3 seconds left in regulation gave the Quakers (1-7) hopes of snapping their six-game losing skid, but the Eagles (3-5) took a quick four-point lead in the extra frame and held on for the win.
The Quakers showed plenty of resilience in the face of adverse circumstances the team was playing without starting forward Monica Naltner (knee injury) and suffered another setback when starting guard Lauren Pears landed awkwardly and was forced to leave the game late in the first half.
Desperately trying to snap its losing streak and inspired by its fallen teammate, Penn battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit in the second half.
Senior Rachel Wilson, playing in front of family in her hometown of Washington, D.C., was strong for Penn in just her second career start, as she scored six of her 12 points on the day down the stretch to lead the comeback. Wilson’s jumper with 4:53 left in the second half gave her team a lead for the first time since early in the first half.
The team’s traded baskets and American would take a three-point lead after a technical foul was called on Penn Coach Patrick Knapp and American’s Tala Hadavi converted on two free-throw attempts. But the Quakers pulled within one again when freshman Kelly Scott hit two clutch free throws with 39 seconds left, till Hadavi was sent to the charity stripe again and knocked down two more to put American up three again.
That set the stage for Rhoads, who dribbled down the court and looked to drive at first, but quickly pulled back behind the arc and nailed her fifth three-pointer of the game to eventually force overtime.
In the extra period, the Eagles took a four-point lead in the first two minutes of play. Scott came up big again for Penn, though, nailing a three-pointer to bring her team within one. American struggled at the free-throw line in the final minute, but notched three straight offensive rebounds off the misses to ultimately seal the win.
The offensive boards were a huge reason why American was successful on the night, as they out-rebounded the Quakers 23-6 and 48-39 overall.
Rhoads finished the day with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-22 shooting, while adding nine assists, also a career-best. Wilson had 12 points and four rebounds while Jennifer Fleischer had nine points and six boards.
The Quakers return to action on Thursday, Dec. 22, for a road game with neighborhood rival Drexel at the DAC. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.