EVANSTON, Ill. - Against yet another power conference opponent, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team was unable to stick around after the first half. The Quakers fell to Big Ten foe Northwestern, 61-39 Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. The game was the second and last for the Quakers at the Doubletree White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern.
Senior Sarah Bucar was named to the all-tournament team as Penn fell to 0-5 on the season. Northwestern improved to 5-1. The combined records of Penn's five opponents thus far is 20-5.
Northwestern scored the first four points and never trailed. Sophomore Jess Knapp's layup got the Quakers on the board on the team's third possession. She then countered a Wildcats basket with a jumper and after sophomore Sara Ely drained her first three-pointer of the season, Penn was down just one, 8-7, four minutes into the contest.
The score was just 10-7 at the first media timeout, but Northwestern gave itself some breathing room with 14 of the game's next 17 points. Only a three from Bucar broke stemmed the hosts run during that stretch, but at its end, the Quakers found themselves down 24-10 at the midway point of the half.
Northwestern extended its advantage to 19 points at 33-14. Freshman Brianna Bradford knocked down a jumper for her first career points just before the half to bring the scored to 33-16 at the half.
The team's shared baskets for much of the second half. Northwestern led by as much as 22, but a 10-4 run capped by an Ely layup closed the Wildcats' lead to just 16 with 7:36 remaining in the game.
But that would be as close as the Quakers would get. Penn was down 18 with a minute left, but Northwestern scored the last four points for the final margin.
Bucar led the team with 10 points, adding two rebounds and an assist. She had 15 points in the tournament, serving as the team's workhorse all weekend. She played all but two minutes, logging 78 minutes of playing time in two games over a 26-hour time span. Smith had nine points, while Knapp finished with seven points and a career-best eight rebounds. Knapp also had both of the team's blocks. Once again, Penn's achilles heel was its inability to connect from beyond the arc. The Quakers combined to go 3-of-19 (15.8%) from that range.
Northwestern used its superior size, pounding the ball down low and scoring nearly half of its points (28) in the paint. Penn held its own on the boards though as the Wildcats held a mere 38-36 rebounding advantage.
Penn is off for three days before taking the floor against Lafayette at 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 at The Palestra.
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