PHILADELPHIA - A school-record effort from freshman Sydney Stipanovich capped a school record-setting non-conference season for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team. The Quakers handled NJIT, 84-48, on Saturday afternoon at The Palestra.
Stipanovich broke a 22-year-old school record as Penn posted its 10th non-conference victory - the most in a single season in program history. Stipanovich finished two blocks shy of the program's first-ever triple-double as her eight blocks broke the school standard set by Katarina Poulsen in 1992 and matched by Jennifer Fleischer in 2004.
Five Quakers scored in double figures, led by 18 from junior Kara Bonenberger. Stipanovich started her second straight game and finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth career double-double and second in a row.
It was a slow start offensively for both teams with the score tied 7-7 after the first six minutes. But the Quakers went on a 13-2 run behind five points from freshman guard Melanie Lockett and a pair of buckets from Stipanovich. Junior Renee Busch capped the run with a three to put Penn up 20-9 with 8:18 left in the opening half.
NJIT (5-18) closed to within eight on two occasions, but each time the Quakers responded with five straight points to extend the lead back into double digits. Bonenberger kept the lead there until the break. She had Penn's last 10 points and sent the Red and Blue into the locker room with a 37-25 advantage.
The Quakers (10-5, 0-1 Ivy) then ran away with it in the second half. Penn was 16-of-28 (57.1%) from the field in the highest scoring half of Coach McLaughlin's tenure (47 points).
It was another slow start to the half though. The Highlanders were within 46-36 after five minutes, but Penn went on a 13-0 run. Junior Katy Allen, who came off the bench after missing Wednesday's win at Temple due to injury, had eight of her 10 points during that stretch, and Busch hit another three for a 59-36 advantage at the 11:10 mark.
The lead jumped to 26 after a jumper from freshman Stephanie Cheney and balloned to 79-48 after junior Kathleen Roche buried her second three with 2:09 to play. Busch put the finishing touches on the score as well as her first double-digit scoring night of the season with her third three.
Inside the Numbers
Senior captain Meghan McCullough finished with a career-high six assists in just 27 minutes. Busch (11), Allen (10) and Roche (10) were the other three Quakers in double-figures in scoring. Allen added five rebounds and three assists in the 15 minutes of her return. Lockett finished with seven points and three assists, while Cheney had four points and three boards. Senior captain Alyssa Baron added six points, six rebounds and two assists.
Penn finished 27-of-54 (50.0%) from the field, including a season-best 53 percent (10-of-19) from beyond the arc. The Quakers were also 20-of-26 (76.9%) from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Penn held NJIT to 18-of-59 (30.5%) shooting and 2-of-12 (16.7%) from three-point range.
The Quakers had 20 assists on 27 baskets and held a substantial edge on the boards, 44-30. Both teams finished with 11 turnovers.
- As a team, Penn set or tied seven school records during the non-conference season. You can see the full list here.
- Stipanovich's eight blocks also rank 10th-most in a single-game in Ivy League history.
- Stipanovich now has 50 blocks this season - third-most all-time at Penn and just the second Penn player to ever reach that milestone. Katarina Poulsen did so twice and holds the school record at 72.
- Stipanovich's seven blocks in the first half set a school record for most in a half.
-The 36-point margin of victory was the largest under head coach Mike McLaughlin.
Penn finally gets some rest. The Quakers have played at least every three days since returning from Miami at the start of January. The seven-day layoff leads right into Ivy League weekends where the Red and Blue will start at The Palestra against Dartmouth and Harvard.
Fan Tweet of the Game:
@PennWBB Stip could build a LEGO set with all these blocks. #fighton #blockon— Penn Band (@PennBand) January 25, 2014
Download: 15-NJIT box.pdf