PHILADELPHIA For the second straight home game, the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team played superbly at The Palestra. However, despite senior Kelly Scott’s career-high 21 points, Saint Joseph’s found a way to slide by the Quakers, 66-60 Tuesday night.
It was a three-point game down the stretch, 61-58, as the Hawks had possession at the 1:17 mark. A tremendous defensive effort led to a steal by senior Anca Popovici and the Quakers had a chance to tie the game.
However, senior Carrie Biemer’s layup was called off on an offensive foul call and Saint Joseph’s was able to make its free throws to put the game out of reach in the closing seconds.
The Hawks got off to a quick start with the game’s first nine points. However, when Scott hit her first three of the night to start the scoring for the Quakers at the 16:47 mark, Penn hit its stride. With just over seven minutes to go in the first half, after four straight points from senior Katarina Lackner, the game was tied at 18-18.
Saint Joseph’s again tried to pull away before the intermission, taking a 27-20, but Penn battled back and when Scott hit another three with 30 seconds remaining, the game was tied again, 31-31, going into the half.
Saint Joseph’s opend the second half on a tear. The Hawks scored the first eight points for a 39-31 lead three minutes into the second frame. Penn was again resilient, pushing right back with a Lackner lay-up squeezed between two Scott three-pointers to close the gap to 41-39 with 14:40 left.
The teams shared baskets for much of the remainder of the half with the Hawks never leading by more than five and the Quakers closing to within one on several occasions.
Penn was within one, 59-58, at the four minute mark when Caitlin Slover buried an open layup off of another excellent pass by sophomore Erin Power. Power nearly had a unique double-double Wdensday as she finished the game with a career-high nine assists and a career-high eight rebounds.
Biemer would finish in double figures for the 17th consecutive game with 14 points to go along with her six rebounds. Lackner was also in double digits as she added 10 points to her game-high two blocks.
It was the second straight home outing for the Quakers in which they nearly knocked off a historically dominant Big 5 rival. Villanova slipped by the Quakers 45-43 on Nov. 19.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, the Quakers will hit the road when they take on Mount St. Mary’s Saturday. Tipoff from Emmitsburg, Md., is set for 1 p.m.