PITTSBURGH - ThePenn women's basketball team had an answer when Duquesne made a run in the first half Saturday at the Dukes' A.J. Palumbo Center.
Duquesne threw another punch in the second half, however, and this one proved to be a haymaker that the Quakers could not respond to.
The result was a 78-45 defeat that was surprising in its final margin, as winless Penn (0-3) gave undefeated Duquesne (4-0) all they could handle into the early part of the second half before the Dukes gained control of the contest.
The teams traded baskets through the first nine minutes of the game, before Duquesne went on an 11-0 run over a span of 2:55 that turned an 8-6 lead into a 19-6 advantage. That lead swelled to 26-10.
Thankfully for Penn, there was Carrie Biemer. The senior was simply superb in the opening stanza, scoring 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. She singlehandedly kept the Quakers in the game, and scored the last six points of the half after a Kelly Scott three-pointer to make it 26-19 at the break. Penn then started the second half with the ball, and got three free throws from Caitlin Slover on its opening possession. When the third one went down, suddenly it was a four-point game at 26-22.
Enter Duquesne's Kelly Britcher, whohad scored a combined four pointsthrough the Dukes' first three games (and the first half of this contest). She scored eight in a row at this juncture of Saturday's contest, offset only by a Biemer layup, to give Duquesne a 34-24 lead. That set the tone for the rest of the half.
Slover knocked down a layup to briefly put Penn's deficit back into single digits, but the Dukes responded with the next 13 points -- Britcher scoring five of them -- and suddenly the rout was on. The Quakers never got closer than 17 after that, and the largest margin came with the final score.
Biemer led the way for the Quakers with a game-high 18 points, while Tyler Cumbo score nine and Scott had eight. Erin Powers led Penn with seven rebounds, but the Quakers struggled against a bigger, wider Duquesne squad that grabbed 22 offensive boards and turned them into 21 second-chance points. Overall, the Dukes outrebounded the Quakers, 51-39.
For Duquesne, Amanda Peck scored 15 points and snared seven rebounds, while Britcher had 13 and both Rachel Frederick and Alex Gensler scored 12. Eve Pyle led all rebounders with 13 boards.
Penn returns to action Tuesday evening, taking on Saint Joseph's in another Philadelphia Big 5 matchup at The Palestra. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. and is the first half of a doubleheader at The Palestra as the Penn and Penn State men square off afterward.