Women's Basketball Offense Erupts in Win, 78-57

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PHILADELPHIA - It was a big night offensively for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team, which included senior captain Kara Bonenberger's 1,000th career point, and ended with a decisive, 78-57, victory over Columbia at The Palestra on Saturday night.

How it Happened
It was a wild first half. There were seven lead changes in the first 11 minutes before the Quakers offense exploded for 30 points over the final 9:13, and finished one point shy of a school record.

It started innocently enough. Columbia (6-14, 0-6 Ivy) opened a 5-1 lead in the first 2:30. But the pace quickly picked up and both teams traded baskets. The lead changed on seemingly every possession over the first several minutes.

The largest lead for either team over the first 12 minutes was just five points and Penn nudged ahead, 28-25, at the 7:37 mark.But then senior captainKathleen Rocheswished a three. And then another. And another. And another. She made four straight in a 19-4 run, and was 5-for-5 from three-point range in the first half. Freshman Beth Brzozowski assisted on most of those and had eight of her game-high 10 assists in the first 20 minutes.

That gave Penn (12-7, 3-2 Ivy) a 47-29 lead with 3:39 left in the half. When sophomore Sydney Stipanovich hit a jumper at the buzzer, the Quakers led the Lions, 53-33, at the break -- one off the school record for points at the half.

Bonenberger scored back-to-back buckets to give the Red and Blue their largest lead of the game to that point, 67-39, with 10:45 to go. Just over a minute later, she made history with a layup. Her 1,000th career point put Penn up 69-44 with 9:21 remaining.

Penn led by as many as 30 when freshman Michelle Nwokedi, who finished with her second straight double-double and a career-high 19 points in her first career start, hit a free throw to put Penn up 78-48 with 3:49 left. Columbia scored the last nine to end the game.

Inside the Numbers
Four Quakers scored in double figures, led by Nwokedi, who also had 10 rebounds and was three blocks shy of a triple-double. Bonenberger was one rebound short of a double-double and finished with nine points and a pair of blocks.

Stipanovich had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Roche finished with 15 points and three assists. Seniors Renee Busch and Katy Allen added six and five points, respectively.

Penn finished 26-of-54 (48.1%) from the field, including a blistering 8-of-16 (50%) from three and an impressive 18-of-20 (90%) from the free throw line. Columbia was 20-of-57 (35.1%) overall and 3-of-13 (23.1%) from beyond the arc.

More Fun Facts
- Brzozowski is the first Penn player since Erin Ladley on Feb. 10, 2001 to record 10 or more assists in a game. Ladley had 13 against Dartmouth that night en route to Penn's first Ivy League championship later that month.

- The program record for first-half points is 54 against Loyola-Chicago on Dec. 4, 1999.

- Roche is just the seventh player in school history with 130 career three-pointers and now has 133. Her five first-half threes were one off her school record of six threes in a half.

- Nwokedi is just the fourth player in school history to record seven blocks in a game, which ranks as fifth-most in a game at Penn.

- Penn has won seven of the last eight at home against Ivy League opponents, and remains undefeated in regulation under head coach Mike McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points (22-0).

Up Next
Its the only road trip of the month for the Quakers, who visit Yale on Friday the 13th at 7 p.m., and Brown the following night at 6 p.m. Both games can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Fan Tweet of the Game

Congrats @K_Bonenberger22! Proud of you-watched online:)

— Kara Cassidy (@karacass11) February 8, 2015

#FightOnPenn

Download: COLUMBIA.pdf