PHILADELPHIA - For the third straight Big 5 game, Penn led deep into the second half, but couldn't hold off Temple in an 81-70 loss to the Owls Friday night at The Palestra.
Similar to the early season match ups with Villanova and Saint Joseph's, the Quakers gained and held the lead into the closing minutes against their Big 5 rival, but had victory snatched away before the final buzzer.
Senior Carrie Biemer led the Quakers (3-8) with 21 points, eclipsing the 20-point mark for the fifth time in the last six games. She and the Quakers came out firing as Penn made seven of its first 10 shots and five of its first six from three-point range. The hot start gave Penn a 20-12 lead eight minutes into the contest.
The fast-paced action continued and, for a time, so did Penn's hot shooting. Biemer and senior Kelly Scott - who finished with 19 points just two days after setting a career-high with 22 - hit back-to-back threes for a 26-12 edge.
Penn couldn't hold back the Owls (8-4) for long though. The favorites to win the Big 5, Temple went on a 16-4 run to close to within two with 4:48 to go in the half, and even took a brief lead, 36-34, with just 20 seconds left. However, Penn was up 37-36 at the half as on the final possession, Biemer knocked down a long distance three as the buzzer sounded.
Unfazed by the comeback, Penn took yet another lead, stretching it to three possessions - it was 50-43 at the 12:52 mark after Biemer knocked down another jumper. For the next seven minutes, Temple was kept at bay, but with 5:17 left, an old fashion three-point play gave the Owls a 61-59 advantage.
Penn was within two possessions down the stretch, but Temple held the lead and made its free throws to push the game out of reach as the clock wound down.
Biemer and sophomore Erin Power led the team with seven rebounds apiece. Power, who fouled out with 9:54 left in the game, also led the Quakers with three assists. Junior Caitlin Slover fouled out as well - in the final minute - after tallying eight points and three rebounds. The Quakers were also without starting guard Sarah Bucar due to injury. The junior had started in all ten games for the Quakers until Friday.
Next up for the Quakers is the final Big 5 match up of the season. La Salle comes to The Palestra for a 7 p.m. tip on Monday.
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