PHILADELPHIA - Despite three members of the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team scoring in double figures, and career efforts from sophomore Jess Knapp and junior Kim Adams, the Quakers couldn't catch Navy in a 65-51 defeat to the Midshipmen in Alumni Hall Sunday.
Penn's defense was spectacular to start the contest. Nine minutes into the game, Navy (7-3) had just one basket. The only problem was that the Quakers (0-7) had just three themselves. Senior Amy Donovan, who earned her first start of the season, jump-started the scoring on Penn's second possession with a bucket from the baseline. Shortly thereafter, Navy hit a three to take the lead at the 17:30 mark. They would not score again until the 11:06 mark.
In the meantime, the Red and Blue got a fastbreak layup from Knapp and another layup from Adams. When Navy broke its scoreless streak, senior Sarah Bucar responded with a three for a 9-5 lead and the offenses started to kick in.
Navy got to within 11-10 and the team's started to share baskets. The lead changed hands three times within a minute, ending with a 14-13 edge for the Midshipmen with 5:12 to go in the half.
Navy nearly doubled their score in the final five minutes, going on a 13-2 run for a 25-15 lead with two minutes left. The deficit was 27-17 when Bucar went coast-to-coast in the final seven seconds, floating in a shot at the buzzer.
The Quakers were quickly within five to start the second half. Donovan's three and a layup by sophomore Caroline Nicholson were squeezed between a Navy basket, making the score 29-24 two minutes in. However, Navy scored the next seven points and 11 of the next 13 for a 40-26 lead at the 14:15 mark.
Four minutes later, the Navy lead was 49-34, the largest advantage of the game for the Midshipmen. But Penn started to chip away. They scored back-to-back baskets to get within 11. Then, down 12 with 6:28 to play, they once again scored four straight points and trailed 53-45 with just over five minutes left.
That was as close as they would get. The Quakers were down nine with 2:53 left, but the last five points of the game went to the Midshipmen.
Knapp finished with a career-high 16 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks. She also matched a career high with four assists. She led the team in all five of those categories. Adams had a season-best 11 points and career-best nine rebounds in addition to the first two blocks of her career. Bucar was also in double figures, adding three assists to her 11 points. Junior Jerin Smith was injured early in the second half, finishing with four points and five rebounds in just 15 minutes of action.
As a team, the Quakers shot 38 percent (21-of-55) from the floor, but were under 50 percent from the free throw line (6-of-13). Navy was just 2-of-7 from three-point range in the first half, but shot 44 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. The Midshipmen went 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Penn outscored Navy in the paint, 24-20, but were outrebounded 37-35.
Penn is off until next weekend when they host Rider on Saturday at The Palestra. The Quakers will tip off with the Broncs at 2 p.m. and will then be off for the next 16 days before hosting Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 29.
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