PHILADELPHIA - A hot shooting effort from Drexel once again doomed the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Despite a 10-point lead in the second half, the Quakers lost for the ninth straight time at the DAC and dropped the 25th edition of the Battle of 33rd Street, 67-58.
This is the shortest road trip in all of Division I college basketball.As is tradition, the Quakers walked to the opposing gym from The Palestra. The Penn and Drexel campuses are seperated by 33rd Street and the annual matchup serves as neighboorhood bragging rights. The home team has won each of the last six games in this series dating back to 2008 and Drexel now leads the all-time series, 14-11.
How it Happened
Penn opened the scoring with six straight points, but Drexel responded with the next nine to take a three-point lead after the first seven minutes of play.
Senior captain Kathleen Roche buried the first of her three first-half threes to stop Drexel's run and break a scoring drought of nearly four minutes. It didn't take long to score again as Roche nailed another three from the same corner on Penn's next possession for a 12-9 advantage at the 12:05 mark.
Penn led 17-13 before Drexel scored eight straight. However, it was Roche, once again, who ended the Dragons run and stopped another extended scoring drought. Another three pulled Penn within 21-20 and sparked a 13-3 run that freshman Anna Ross capped with a long jumper just before the buzzer to give the Quakers a 30-23 halftime lead.
The Quakers pushed their lead to 10 in the opening minutes of the second half. Senior captain Renee Busch was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws. She then hit a three from the opposite corner of the team's bench to give Penn a 36-26 edge with 17:14 to play.
Unfortunately for the Red and Blue, that would be their last basket for the next seven minutes. Drexel added 17 points in that span to go back in front, 43-36, with 10:36 left.
Senior captain Kara Bonenberger, who became just the fifth Penn player in program history with 100 career blocks, broke Penn's scoreless streak at the 10:13 mark to get within five. Roche, who finished with a team-high 17 points, added another one of her five threes, which was immediately followed by a three from Ross. That pulled Penn within 46-44 with 8:35 to play.
Drexel's offense took over from there. A driving layup by Roche closed the gap to 48-46 at the 6:54 mark, but the Dragons did not miss another shot after that point. The neighboorhood rivals were 6-for-6 from the floor the rest of the way and even went 9-for-10 from the free throw line in that span. The Quakers could not keep up with that pace and fell short of their first win at the DAC since 1977.
Inside the Numbers
Drexel finished the game 23-of-44 (52.3%) from the floor and 20-of-26 (76.9%) from the free throw line. Penn was 22-of-44 (50.0%) and 8-of-15 (53.3%) from three. There were not many misses, but Drexel held the slight rebounding edge, 25-22. Penn had 18 assists on its 22 field goals, but did have 19 turnovers. Drexel had just 11 miscues and outscored Penn 23-8 on turnovers.
Roche was 6-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from three and also added a season-high three steals. Freshman Beth Brzozowski finished with a career-high six assists which marked the most for a Penn player since Meghan McCullough had as in a win at Yale on March 1, 2014. Ross added five assists and nine points, while freshman Michelle Nwokedi led the team with five rebounds in 10 minutes off the bench.
Another extended break for the Quakers. The team will be off for the holiday until a home matchup with UMBC on Dec. 29. The Quakers tip off with the Retrievers for the first time since 2003 at 7 p.m. It is a quick turnaround after that as the Red and Blue welcome King’s College (Pa.) for a 1 p.m. tipoff on New Years Eve.
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