VILLANOVA, Pa. - Expectedly low scoring between two defensive teams, Villanova's stout defense was just a little bit better, handing the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team their second straight loss to start the season, 44-28, Wednesday night at the Pavilion.
Penn (0-2, 0-1 Big 5) got off to a quick start. On the team's first possession, junior Caroline Nicholson immediatley knocked down a three from the top of the key for a 3-0 advantage. After trailing for the entire game in the season opener at Drexel, it was the first lead of the young season for the Quakers.
Penn held that lead throughout much of the first half. Three different Quakers scored Penn's next three baskets as the two teams alternated scores through the first three media timeouts. In that time, Penn never led by more than three, but never trailed.
That trend continued until Villanova's Maria Getty hit a three to tie the game at 11-11 with just under four minutes to play in the half. Villanova (2-0, 1-0 Big 5) then took its first lead, 13-11, on the next possession. They would add two more baskets in the final two minutes for a 17-11 halftime lead.
Sophomore Jess Knapp scored the first bucket of the second half, but Villanova scored eight of the next ten points to take a 25-15 lead with 15 minutes left. Though junior Jerin Smith hit a lay up a minute later to close to within eight, Villanova opened up its largest lead of the game at 30-17 midway through the second half.
Penn made its run over the next two minutes with a Knapp lay up and a three-point play from senior Sarah Bucar to get to within 30-22. But on the very next possession, the Wildcats hit a three to squash all momentum.
Penn scored next as Smith put in two more of her team-high 12 points, but once again, the Wildcats hit from beyond the arc to take a 36-24 lead with 6:28 remaining.
Penn never again broke Villanova's double digit lead. With the score 39-28 with 2:10 remaining, Villanova scored the game's final five points.
Smith nearly finished with a double-double for the Quakers as she also grabbed nine rebounds. Bucar was second on the team with five points and six rebounds, while Nicholson's four assists were a team and career high.
Penn shot just 5-of-19 in the first half (26%) and was 13-of-41 for the game (32%). It was the fewest points for the Quakers since a 66-26 defeat in their last visit to the Pavilion in 2007.
On Saturday, the Quakers open their home schedule with a 3:30 p.m. matchup with Duquesne at The Palestra.
Download: Rave Report.pdf