Women's Basketball Outdone in Title Game, 51-37


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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - In the 2011 Surf 'N Slam championship game at Viejas Arena, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team fell to tournament host San Diego State, 51-37, Friday afternoon.

Sophomore Alyssa Baron and senior Jess Knapp were named to the All-Tournament team. Baron led the team in scoring for the second straight night after securing her first career double-double Thursday. Knapp had a near double-double Thursday and was responsible for both Penn baskets Friday before an injury forced her out.

Despite the loss, the Quakers still own the best 10-game start in program history at 7-3. San Diego State improved to 5-1 at home this year and 8-4 overall.

It was a tough start for the Quakers. A few missed shots, but more importantly, Baron and Knapp each left with injuries in the first six minutes. Baron soon returned, but Penn's senior captain did not.

It was quickly 6-0 in favor of the home team. Penn struggled throughout the game on offense. So it was an energizing defensive effort that kept the Red and Blue in the contest.

For the first 16 minutes, San Diego State had just 16 points. But nothing was falling on offense for the Quakers and they trailed, 16-8.

Penn's defense frustrated the Aztecs into committing a technical foul and the ensuing free throw from freshman Jackie Kates made it a six-point deficit with 1:28 left in the half.

But the full court pressure flustered Penn into a few turnovers before the half and San Diego State went into the break with a 25-15 lead.

Five minutes into the second half, the lead was down to six, 29-23, after Baron and senior Jourdan Banks - a California native who played in front of an enthusiatic hometown cheering section - combined on a 6-0 run.

It was a six-point deficit with 12 minutes remaining in the championship game, but San Diego State went on a 12-2 run to stretch its lead to a game-high 16 with 7:45 left.

The Quakers tried to chip away. With three minutes left, they were within nine, 44-35, after a three from freshman Katy Allen - the only one of the game for the Red and Blue - and a pair of free throws from Baron.

But the Aztecs, who reached the Sweet 16 in 2010, kept Penn at bay for the remainder.

Baron finished with a team-high 15 points and added three rebounds and two steals. Freshman Kara Bonenberger had eight points and a team-high five rebounds. She and freshman Katy Allen led the Quakers with two assists apiece. Allen also contributed five points and four rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench.

San Diego State, which topped No. 18 DePaul this season, utilized its advantage in size and length. They outrebounded the Quakers, 49-24, and outscored Penn, 28-6, in the paint and 15-4 off second-chance points.

The Aztecs also forced Penn into its worst day offensively this season. The Quakers shot just 25 percent (12-of-48) from the floor, including 1-of-16 (6.3%) from beyond the arc.

The Penn defense was impressive though. The Aztecs weren't much better on their home floor as they shot just 31.5-percent (17-of-54) from the field and 1-of-10 from three. Penn forced 15 turnovers and gave it up 14 times.

San Diego State and Penn each topped UNC-Greensboro earlier in the week to set up the tournament's undefeated showdown. The Quakers beat the Spartans, 47-36, Thursday.

Penn returns home to Philadelphia to resume its Ivy schedule next weekend. The Quakers open the league slate with two-time defending champion Princeton. Tip off from The Palestra, where the Quakers are 5-0 this season, is set for 7 p.m., on Jan. 7.

Download: 10-San Diego State.pdf