Ross' Late Three Propels Women's Basketball, 49-47

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PHILADELPHIA - Trailing by one with under 20 seconds to play, Anna Rosscreated some open space behind the arc. The freshman didn't hesitate when the ball came her way. She launched and swished home a three that gave the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team a 49-47 win in a wild finish with Richmond on Wednesday night at The Palestra.

There were five lead changes in the final 3:41, including three straight possessions in the final 2:30. Richmond had the ball last and missed three straight shots before the buzzer sounded.

Penn (8-5) won for the fifth straight time at The Palestra and is 14-1 in its last 15 home games dating back to last season. The Spiders (9-7), who were making their first appearance at The Palestra since 1994, suffered their first loss to the Quakers in seven all-time meetings.

How it Happened
The seesaw finish began when sophomore Sydney Stipanovich scored four straight points with a jumper and two free throws to eliminate a three-point deficit and put Penn up 44-43 with 3:41 left.

A minute later, Richmond went back on top, 45-44. On Penn's ensuing possession, Stipanovich, who finished with her fifth double-double of the season, hit another jumper to give the Quakers a 46-45 edge with 2:03 to go.

Richmond responded right back with a mid-range jumper to take the lead again, 47-46, with 1:38 left.

Penn turned it over, but then came up with a defensive stop and regained possession with just under a minute to play. With the shot clock winding down, Stipanovich passed to Ross, who found just enough open space on the wing. She immediately fired the three, which hit the bottom of the net with 24.3 seconds to play.

Richmond had three shots to tie the game on its final possession, but each bounced off the rim.

Senior Kathleen Rocheand Stipanovichcombined for all of Penn's points in the first half. Roche had the first five points for the Quakers to help open a 7-2 lead in the first four minutes. However, the Spiders went on a 14-2 run to take a 16-9 lead midway through the opening half.

Stipanovich ended a near seven-minute drought between field goals to get the Quakers within 16-12 at the 7:49 mark. But the Spiders netted the next seven points and led by 11 with 5:17 left in the half.

An old-fashioned three-point play and a jumper in the paint from Stipanovich helped close the deficit to 25-17 at the break.

The teams traded baskets for the first few minutes of the second half before Penn went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead. Senior captain Kara Bonenberger had six points in that stretch and her post-move spin for a layup had the Quakers on top, 32-29, with 12:59 to go.

The Red and Blue led 40-36 with 5:59 remaining, but the Spiders scored seven points in the next 67 seconds to take a 43-40 lead and set up a wild back-and-forth ending.

Inside the Numbers
Stipanovich finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. She also added six blocks and moved into 16th-place on the Ivy League's all-time career list with 142.

Roche and Bonenberger each had eight points, while Roche tied a career-high with seven rebounds. Ross added seven points and finished with a game-high five assists and three steals.

Penn shot 7-of-30 (23.3%) in the first half, but hit at a 44-percent clip in the second half to finish at 19-of-57 (33.3%).The Quakers also turned up the pressure defensively in the second half, where they forced 12 of Richmond's 16 turnovers. Penn had 13 of their own miscues and nine assists for the game.Richmond held a slight rebounding edge at 38-37 andfinished 20-of-54 (37.0%) from the field.

The Red and Blue may have won the game at the free throw line despite ranking last in the Ivies and shooting 2-for-5 (40%) in the first half. The Quakers made all six at the charity stripe in the second half and finished 8-of-11 (72.7%), while Richmond was just 4-of-8 (50%).

Other Notables
Prior to head coach Mike McLaughlin's tenure, Penn's program had won eight or more non-conference games on just three occassions. The Quakers have now accomplished that feat in each of the last three years.

Remembering Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis
Prior to the game, the Penn women's basketball program and the University of Pennsylvania welcomed the Doyle family on Wednesday. Beloved Philadelphia native and Richmond associate head coach Ginny Doyle, and Richmond Director of Basketball Operations Natalie Lewis lost their lives in a tragic accident last May. A moment of silence was observed prior to the game in remembrance of Ginny and Natalie. All fans are encouraged to read about Ginny and Natalie, as well as leave a donation at the Natalie Lewis and Ginny Doyle Memorial Funds -- an effort to start an athletic scholarship at the University of Richmond,where Natalie was a four-year letterwinner for the swim team, and Ginny spent 15 seasons as a coach and rewrote the record books as a player for the Spiders.

Up Next
Two more non-conference games remain, including one final Big 5 contest. Villanova visits The Palestra for a 5:30 p.m. start on Wednesday—the first game of a doubleheader with the men, who tip off against Monmouth at 8 p.m. The Quakers have already clinched a share of the Big 5 title, but can win the city championship outright with a win over the Wildcats. Penn then wraps up its non-league schedule with a road contest at NJIT on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.


Download: RICHMOND.pdf