EVANSTON, Ill. - Nine minutes into the game, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team was full of confidence, taking the lead against one of the best teams in the country. But a barrage of threes quickly ensued and continued throughout the contest as Iowa State pulled away for a 78-38 win over the Quakers Friday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evansville, Ill.
In the first of two games at the Doubletree White Invitational hosted by Northwestern University, Penn (0-4) held a 13-12 advantage after senior Sarah Bucar drove the lane and laid in her only basket of the first half. But Iowa State (2-1) began its assault from beyond the arc. The Cyclones hit threes on their next two possessions and then three more within the next four minutes. They shot at an impressive 6-of-11 (54.5%) clip from three in the first half, only to improve those numbers in the second half. For the game, Iowa State was an astounding 13-of-22 (59.1%) from three-point range.
Iowa State was as good as advertised. The Cyclones, who are from the Big 12 Conference, were ranked 30th in the country in points in the latest AP Top 25 poll. They came out firing, scoring the first five points of the game within the first two minutes.
However, Penn did not seem intimidated by their power conferences foes. Junior Caroline Nicholson responded with a three to get the Quakers on the board and quickly trim the deficit to just two. Iowa State then scored on its next possession for an 8-3 lead, but would manage just two baskets over the next five minutes. In that time, sophomore Kim Adams hit a jumper, and junior Jerin Smith had two buckets, the last of which pulled Penn within 10-9 with 13:10 on the first-half clock.
After the Red and Blue forced another turnover, junior Caitlin Slover gave Penn its first lead. Her driving reverse-layup gave the Quakers an 11-10 lead at the 12:15 mark. The Cyclones got a layup of their own on the next trip down the floor, but Bucar put them back on top, 13-12 with 11:16 to go.
Iowa State had too many weapons for the Quakers to contain them for too long and Penn's early valiant effort sparked the Cyclones. During their first round of successive threes, Penn was held to just two points and were faced with a double-digit deficit - one they would never overcome - with four minutes to go in the first half, 27-15. Iowa State extended its advantage to 34-19 at the half.
The offensive surge continued for the Cyclones. They scored the first nine points in the second half and led 43-19 at the 16:41 mark. The lead only grew after that. On only one occasion were the Quakers able to put together back-to-back baskets without the Cyclones scoring, pulling a 28-point lead down to 24 with four straight points from Slover seven minutes into the second session.
Two Quakers scored in double figures as Slover and Smith each had 10 points. Smith also had a team-high four rebounds along with Nicholson. Slover's four assists were a team-best as Penn had an assist on 11 of its 14 baskets. All three of Penn's freshmen saw the floor as Katie Davis played in her first collegiate game.
As Iowa State progressed from beyond the three-point line, the Quakers struggled. Penn shot just 2-of-18 (11.1%) from three. Overall, the Quakers shot 25 percent from the floor against a much taller and longer Cyclones team. Penn did have its best game from the charity stripe, going a perfect 8-for-8.
Penn will play its second game of the Doubletree White Invitational Saturday afternoon when it takes on host Northwestern at 5 p.m. Eastern.
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