PRINCETON, N.J. - It was a tall task for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team as they went on the road to take on a nationally-ranked and unbeaten opponent seeking revenge from a loss to the Quakers in the de facto Ivy League championship game last season. The Quakers hung with No. 22 Princeton throughout the first half on Saturday, but a big second-half run anchored an 83-54 win for the Tigers at Jadwin Gym.
The final scored is nearly identical to last season's Ivy opener. Last year, the Tigers beat Penn 84-53 at The Palestra. Two months later, the Quakers won at Princeton by 16 to break a first-place tie with the Tigers and clinch the Ivy League championship.
How it Happened
Princeton jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the opening minutes. Senior captain Kara Bonenberger sparked a 7-0 run with a layup, and fellow senior co-captain Kathleen Roche drained a three to cap the run and close the Penn deficit to 14-12 with 12:08 to play in the opening half.
The Tigers, who entered the game as the nation's top three-point shooting team, responded with six in a row, but Roche hit another three and Bonenberger scored inside again to get the Quakers within 20-17 at the 7:50 mark.
Princeton (17-0, 1-0 Ivy), who is off to the best start in league history, answered with five straight and eventually extended its lead to 13. Penn got within 10 at the break, 35-25.
The game was decided in the opening minutes of the second half. Princeton opened with an 18-4 run to open up a 53-29 lead. The Quakers were never within 20 the rest of the way and fell to 0-2 against ranked teams this season.
Inside the Numbers
Bonenberger led the Quakers with a season-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, and a team-best seven rebounds. Roche contributed eight points, three assists and matched a career high with a team-best four assists. Senior Renee Busch also added eight points with a pair of threes. Freshman Michelle Nwokedi had four points and five rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench.
Penn was 21-of-50 (39%) for the night, but the Tigers, who were sixth in the country in field goal percentage, finished 33-of-66 (50%) overall. The best three-point shooting team in the NCAA improved upon their season percentage with a 9-for-18 (50%) effort against the Quakers. Penn was 3-of-10 (30%) from beyond the arc.
Non-conference play concludes with a trio of games, including one final Big 5 contest. First, the Quakers host Richmond on Wednesday at 7 p.m. A week later, Villanova visits The Palestra for a 5:30 p.m. start—the first game of a doubleheader with the men, who tip off against Monmouth at 8 p.m. Penn then wraps up its non-league schedule with a road contest at NJIT on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.