KINGSTON, R.I. – Lauren Whitlatch had a career-high 24 points off of six three-pointers to help the University of Pennsylvania (1-2) tally their first win of the season with a dominating 75-43 victory over Rhode Island (1-3) on Friday evening in Kingston, R.I.
Whitlatch led all scorers on the day and added three steals and three boards to her statline, while Sydney Stipanovich tallied her third double-double in as many games with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Michelle Nwokedi added in 16 points and eight boards while Kasey Chambers and Anna Ross combined for 11 points, seven boards, 11 assists and an impressive three steals each.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After struggling in their first two contests from the field, the Red and Blue came back strong against Rhode Island, shooting 39% (25-for-65) on the night overall and 32% from three point range (9-of-28). The Red and Blue out-rebounded their opponents by a 49-28 margin for added help in the victory.
Whitlatch was the one to get the Quakers moving in the early-goings, putting the Red and Blue up 5-0 with the first buckets of the contest. Just 3:56 into the quarter, the Quakers had opened up a 10-point lead, going 6-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 from behind the arc en route to 42% shooting overall for the stanza. Whitlatch poured in 11 points by the end of the frame, fueling Penn to a 20-13 lead while URI struggled to take care of the ball, committing seven of their 22 turnovers in the quarter.
Beth Brzozowski extended the Quaker streak behind the arc at the start of the second quarter, but Rhode Island cut the deficit to two at 25-23 at the 5:42 mark following six straight points inside the paint from Dominique Ward and Dina Motrechuk. Whitlatch and Ross came up big in the waning minutes of the quarter with two steals and 4-for-4 shooting from the charity stripe, while the duo combined for eight points in the final 3:33 to lead Penn 37-26 heading into the locker rooms.
Coming out of intermission, the Quakers worked the inside posts as URI had trouble dealing with Penn’s 1-2 punch of Stipanovich and Nwokedi. The duo combined for the opening six points to give Penn a 43-29 lead with 7:15 on the clock. Whitlatch nailed her fifth trey of the game in the stanza, and extended the scoring with a layup to give the Quakers a 21 point lead at 56-35 with 1:43 on the clock. The Red and Blue went on to outscore the hosts 21-11 in the frame.
The final 10 minutes were all Penn as the Quakers held Rhode Island scoreless for 8:36 and were bolstered by six points each from Nwokedi, Ross and Whitlatch. Stipanovich and Chambers poured in five points, and Whitlatch released her career-tying sixth three, as the Red and Blue held the Rams to just 16% from the field. Kristen Daley added a layup at the 2:14 mark to give the Quakers a 34 point advantage - their biggest of the game – as the Red and Blue closed in on the 75-43 win.
Penn returns to action just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday when they host Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s at The Palestra. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22 in Philadelphia.