Women's Basketball Rides Early Lead to Victory, 60-45

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Box Score

Postgame with Head Coach Mike McLaughlin

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - A strong start led to a 14-point halftime lead and that was enough for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to hold off Rider, 60-45, on Tuesday night from Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Freshman Meghan McCullough had a perfect night from beyond the arc, going 4-for-4 from three-point range and finishing with a team-high 17 points. With its first road win of the season, Penn improved to 2-1 on the year, while Rider dropped to 0-4 on the season.

Rider scored first, but a three from McCullough and four consecutive made shots from senior Caroline Nicholson gave Penn an early 11-2 lead.

Following a Rider timeout, the Broncs came back behind seven straight points from Shereen Lightbourne to close to within 11-9 with 13:36 to go in the half. Penn responded with a 13-2 run, capped by a put-back from senior Jerin Smith with 8:37 remaining in the half. Following three points from the Broncs, Penn scored eight more in a row for a commanding 32-14 edge at the 2:38 mark of the first half.

Rider scored six of the final eight points of the opening half, but Penn went into intermission with a 14-point lead. The Red and Blue's 34 points at intermission were more than they had all game at Drexel on Friday.

Freshman Alyssa Baron scored the first four points of the second half for Penn and junior Jess Knapp scored the next four as the two teams shared baskets through the first nine minutes of the second half. Up 12, McCullough hit another three and Smith followed with a layup on the next possession to give the Red and Blue a 47-30 advantage with 8:47 to play.

A smaill 7-3 run got the Broncs back to within striking distance with 4:17 remaining. Following a Rider free throw and three-pointer, the Broncs were suddenly within single digits for the first time since early in the first half.

A young Penn team remained poised on the road. McCullough drove the lane and knocked home a runner as the shot clock expired to give the Quakers an 11-point lead, 53-42, with 2:32 left. The Quakers then made six straight free throws to keep the home team at bay, sealing a 60-45 victory.

Knapp had a season-high 12 rebounds to lead the Quakers in addition to her eight points. Senior Erin Power collected nine rebounds and had a team-best five assists. Baron was second on the team with 15 points and grabbed four rebounds. Nicholson had six rebounds and scored all eight points in the first half.

The Quakers held Rider to just 27.8 percent shooting (15-of-54) from the floor, including just 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from beyond the three-point line. In comparison, Penn shot better than 40 percent from the floor and outscored the Broncs in the paint 24-18.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Quakers are back on the road again. Penn heads to Newark, N.J., to take on NJIT Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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