January Total: 2
Season Total: 23
PHILADELPHIA - Offensive struggles have plagued the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team throughout a current five-game losing streak and they continued Tuesday night as the Quakers couldn't keep up with Big 5 rival Villanova at The Pavilion, 52-30.
Villanova won the 2011-12 Big 5 title with a perfect 4-0 record against the city rivals. The Wildcats are now 12-6 overall this year. Penn fell to 7-7 on the year and 0-3 against the Big 5.
The Quakers got off to a great start. The defense held the Wildcats to just two points over the first 5:24. And on the offensive end, freshman Katy Allen had a layup before sophomore Brianna Bradford made a free throw, picked off the ensuing inbounds pass and dished to freshman Meghan McCullough for a three. That gave Penn a 6-2 edge.
The Big East conference foe scored seven of the next nine, but freshman Kathleen Roche hit a corner three to put Penn up 11-9 near the midway point of the first half.
A few minutes later, Allen hit a three to stop a 7-0 Villanova run and pull the Quakers within 16-14 with 7:48 until intermission.
But Penn struggled offensively from there. The Quakers, who haven't reached 50 points during the current losing streak, only managed a layup from freshman Kara Bonenberger for the remainder of the half.
Meanwhile, Villanova scored 14 during that stretch to take a 30-16 edge into the locker rooms.
Against a Villanova program that is known nationally for its defense each year, Penn was just another victim. In fact, Tuesday night marked the first time since December of 2005 in which the Quakers reached 30 points at The Pavilion. Senior Jourdan Banks had the only basket for the Quakers in the first eight minutes of the final half and the home team built a 40-18 lead.
The Wildcats are also historically known for their three-point shooting and made seven of them -tied for the most by a Penn opponent this season. But the Penn defense, which entered the game ranked seventh in the nation in three-point defense (23.3%), did play well. The Wildcats were just 7-of-29 (24.1%) from that range. And Villanova was just 20-of-56 (35.7%) overall.
But the Quakers couldn't keep up. Penn was just 12-of-46 (26.1%) from the field, including 5-of-22 (22.7%) from three-point range. Villanova outrebounded the Red and Blue, 36-34, and owned a 21-6 edge in points off turnovers as they forced 23 Penn miscues.
Sophomore Alyssa Baron, who led the Ivy League in scoring entering the contest, was shut out for the first time in her collegiate career. Her previous career low was seven points on two occasions, which included Saturday afternoon at Saint Joseph's. However, she led the team with seven rebounds and four of the team's nine assists. Senior Jourdan Banks led the team with a season-high nine points and Bradford had a team-best three steals.
Just one more Big 5 game remains before Ivy weekends get underway. The Red and Blue cap off the 2011-12 non-league slate with a trip to Temple’s McGonigle Hall Saturday at 3 p.m.