Strong Start Propels Women's Basketball to 69-48 Win over Maine

Today: 4
December Total: 5
Season Total: 21

PHILADELPHIA - In the last two contests, their opponents gained control of the game with strong starts. Friday night at The Palestra, it was the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team that got off to the fast start and never looked back. Inspiring efforts by senior Erin Power and the Penn defense led the Quakers to a 69-48 win over Maine at The Palestra.

Power had a career-high 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds for her second career double-double to lead the Quakers to their largest win since 2006 when they beat Rider by 28 (66-38) on Jan. 10. Penn eclipsed its win total from last year and improved to 3-5 on the season, 2-2 at home. Maine finished with 22 turnovers and fell to to 1-7.

A tough Penn defense kept Maine without a basket for the first 7:12 of the game. In the meantime, the Quakers built a 12-1 lead. Power opened the scoring with a layup, freshman Alyssa Baron hit a jumper and Jess Knapp had two free throws before back-to-back buckets by Baron. Power capped the run with a layup and Penn led by 11 with just a little more than six minutes gone in the first half.

Even after Maine hit its first field goal from the floor, a swarming defense continued to keep the Black Bears offense off balance. Penn scored the next five and built a 17-3 lead as Maine had 11 turnovers and just three points in the first 10 minutes of the game. Brianna Bradford's three from the corner gave the Quakers the 14-point edge with 11:17 left in the opening half.

Four minutes later, leading 19-7, Baron hit a three and freshman Meghan McCullough knocked down a jumper for a 24-7 lead. After sharing baskets, Penn scored the last five points of the half - a Knapp layup and Bradford's second three - and held its largest lead of the season at halftime, 36-15. At the break, the Red and Blue had forced 15 turnovers and held Maine to just 15 points. The Quakers had also outrebounded Maine, 25-11.

In the second half, the Quakers did not let up on either end. Maine went nearly six minutes before making a field goal and Penn extended its lead to 45-17 following a lay-in by senior Caroline Nicholson and a three by McCullough.

Maine scored the next nine, but the Red and Blue got back full control with six of the next seven points and the Black Bears were never within 20 for the final 11 minutes of the contest.

Three Quakers scored in double digits - Baron and Power had a game-high 16, while Bradford's season-high 12 points was the second double-digit scoring performance of her career. Knapp recorded double-digit rebounds for the third time in Penn's four home games this season as she and Power led the team with 10 apiece. Knapp also added eight points. In addition to seven points and five rebounds, McCullough had a career-high five assists and four steals. All but two Quakers scored in the game, including the first score of the season for sophomore Katie Davis.

Penn shot 40 percent (22-for-55) for the game, while Maine was 17-for-44 (38.6%). Penn finished with a plus-16 rebounding margin (41-25) and forced 23 Maine turnovers. The Quakers outscored the Black Bears, 20-4 on second chance points behind 19 offensive rebounds, while also outscoring Maine 28-18 in the paint.

On Tuesday against Saint Joseph's, Penn did not record a charge for the first time this season, but had a season-high four by the end of the first half on Friday.

The Quakers will have 19 days until they next take the court against an opponent. The holiday break comes to an end on Dec. 29 when the Red and Blue travel to New York City to face St. Francis (N.Y.) at 7 p.m.

Download: Rave Report.pdf