SEATTLE - The University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team fought its way back from a 10-point second half deficit, but fell short in the end as they were defeated 59-54 by Rice in the first game of the Husky Classic at the Bank of America Arenain Seattle, Wash.
The Quakers (1-2) found itself trailing early as the Owls (2-1) jumped out to a 9-0 advantage five minutes into the game. Rice stayed ahead of Penn throughout the first half until Kimberly Franklin knocked down a three and Ashley Gray sunk a turnaround jumper in the paint on consecutive possesions to make the score 25-21 with one minute left.
Rice's Lauren Neaves hit a jump-shot before halftime to give her team a six-point lead at the midpoint.
The Quakers came within two of the Owls after junior Joey Rhoads sunk two shots, but Rice eventually pulled away again to gain its fourth 10-point lead of the game.
Pennmounted a comeback with 6:27 left in the contest as senior center Jennifer Fleischer scored eight of her 12 points on the daydown the stretchto make the score 51-47. On the next possesion, junior Monica Naltner knocked down a big three to close the gap to 51-50.
Neaves nine-foot jumper with 1:16 remaining put her Rice ahead by three, but Naltner scored at the other end to bring the Quakers within one ponit with 47 seconds left.
The Owls' Krystal Frazier was fouled and hit both free throws, and after a Penn turnover on the following play, hit two more to seal the victory for her team.
Naltner led the Quakers with 19 points while Fleischer added her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Neaves paced Rice with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Riverin added 13 points and four assists.
The Quakers will face San Diego in the consolation game ofthe Husky Classic on Sunday, Nov. 26,at 3:30 p.m. (EST),in the Bank of America Arena.
Written by Brady Smith, associate director of athletic communications