NEWARK, N.J. - An impressive effort off the bench carried the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to a road win over NJIT, 59-29, at the Fleischer Center on Saturday afternoon.
In their final non-league game of the season, the Quakers (9-6) earned their ninth non-conference win of the season which matches the second-most in school history. Last season's Ivy League championship team set the program record with 10.
Penn's bench scored 36 of the team's 59 points and was led by freshman Michelle Nwokedi who finished with a game-high 14 points, seven rebounds, career-high five blocks, three assists and two steals in 22 minutes.
How It Happened
Penn jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first six minutes behind four different scorers. However, both teams went without a point for the next few minutes and the Quakers turned it over four times in that span. NJIT closed to within 11-4 at the 11:08 mark and head coach Mike McLaughlin turned to his bench.
Penn played with four reserves and, at times, without any starters. Senior Katy Allen promptly broke the scoreless streak with a pair of free throws and sparked a 9-2 run over a span of just 2:22. Nwokedi's driving layup gave the Quakers a 20-6 edge at the 7:46 mark.
Sophomore Sade Gibbons, who matched a career-high with seven points,added a pair of baskets over the next few minutes to extend Penn's advantage to 27-9 with 5:06 left in the half.
NJIT closed to within 30-15 at the break, but freshman Anna Ross scored the first four points of the second half to put the Red and Blue up 34-15.
Allen hit a three and Nwokedi had four more points in a 7-0 run that gave the Quakers a 44-17 lead with 11:38 remaining.
Penn built its lead to as many as 34 after five straight points from freshman Beth Brzozowski made it 53-19 with 6:50 to play.
Inside the Numbers
Prior to Coach McLaughlin, Penn won nine non-conference games in a season just once in program history. The Quakers have now done so in back-to-back seasons.
Sophomore Sydney Stipanovich, who had seven points and nine rebounds, was credited with two blocks and moved into 14th place on the Ivy League's all-time career list with 144 for her career.
Senior captain Kathleen Roche added a pair of threes and had eight points, while Allen scored five and finished with six rebounds and three assists.
Brzozowski finished with five points, while freshman Lauren Whitlatch and sophomore Jackie Falconeradded three and two points off the bench, respectively. In all, 10 players scored for the Quakers.
The Quakers held NJIT to 14-of-59 (23.7%) shooting, including just 1-of-10 (10%) from beyond the arc. Penn was 24-of-59 (40.7%) overall and 6-of-14 (42.9%) from three. Both teams had 13 turnovers, but the Quakers held a sizeable advantage on the boards at 50-33.
Ivy League weekends begin with the longest of the three road trips. The Quakers travel through New England to take on Dartmouth on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m., and Harvard on Saturday at 6 p.m. Both games can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN.tv).
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