Slow Start Dooms Women's Basketball, 57-40, at Saint Joseph's

PHILADELPHIA - Once again, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team just dug themselves into too big of a hole in the first half and were unable to make up a double-digit deficit in the final 20 minutes, falling 57-40 to Saint Joseph's at Hagan Arena Tuesday afternoon.

Sophomore Jess Knapp nearly had a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds for the Quakers (1-13, 0-3 Big 5) as she and junior Kim Adams scored the first 15 points of the game for Penn as three Quakers combined for all of the team's first-half points (senior Caitlin Slover had Penn's final two buckets of the first frame).

The Quakers shot just 8-for-30 (26.7%) in the first half, while the Hawks hit at a 52 percent clip in the opening session. The difference led to a 13-point deficit at intermission - the fifth such occurance in the last seven games.

At the start, Knapp kept the Quakers right alongside the Hawks. Saint Joseph's did its best to get an early lead, but the Carlstadt, N.J., native scored Penn's first four baskets and at the 14:31 mark, the score was Knapp 9, Saint Joseph's 9.

Adams scored the next six points for the Quakers, and after her first field goal bounced around the rim and finally went down, the Hawks held a 19-13 lead 9:57 left in the half. But it would be another five minutes before the Quakers would score again, giving Saint Joseph's a 26-13 edge with 5:07 on the clock. The teams then alternated baskets to close out the first 20 minutes and Saint Joseph's went to the locker room up 32-19.

The second half started with six straight points for the Hawks, giving them a commanding 38-19 lead. Over the next three minutes, Penn closed the gap to 38-25 with four free throws from Slover and a put back from sophomore Sara Ely. Minutes later, Ely's three kept the Quakers within striking distance at 42-28 eight minutes into the second half.

With the score the same at the midway point, the Hawks hit a three, only to see the Red and Blue make another push. Sophomore Jourdan Banks hit a free throw and a possession later, Slover drained a three and the Quakers had momentum down 45-32 with 6:30 to go.

Saint Joseph's did not record a single field goal over the final nine minutes of the contest. However, they finished the game 12-for-12 from the free throw line during that stretch.

The perfect free throw shooting kept Penn at bay. When Ely knocked down a jumper and freshman Rebecca Lau recorded her first collegiate point with a free throw, Penn still trailed 51-35 with 4:38 remaining. And the Quakers never got any closer.

Ely finished with a career-high seven points - all in the second half - and had four rebounds. Slover had a team-high 11 points, while senior Sarah Bucar had four of the team's seven assists. In addition to her near double-double, Knapp had two assists, two steals and two blocks. Lau finished with four points.

Penn outrebounded the Hawks, 40-38, but shot just 24.5 percent (13-for-53) on the day. Saint Joseph's was held to just 6-for-28 (21.4%) shooting in the second half and finished at 37 percent from the floor in the game. The Hakws scored 20 points off of 16 Penn turnovers.

There is just one Big 5 game left on the schedule. The Quakers will have a 10-day break before they head to Temple on Saturday, Jan. 23 for a 2 p.m. tip. The matchup also marks the last non-conference game of the 2009-10 campaign for the Red and Blue.

Download: 14-Saint Joseph's.pdf