PHILADELPHIA - Coming off its longest break of the season, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team couldn't shake off the rust in a 60-48 loss to Mount St. Mary's at The Palestra Tuesday night.
The Red and Blue nearly set a school record with their nine blocks, but it was an off-shooting night for the Quakers (0-9) as they made just 26.7 percent of their shots. Meanwhile, the Mount (4-6) shot 43.8 percent from the floor.
Penn struggled to get on the board in the early going. Luckily, so did the Mount. The Quakers only trailed 4-2 when, returning from injury, junior Jerin Smith broke Penn's scoreless streak with a put back with 15:52 to go. But the struggles on the offensive end continued. The Quakers missed 10 of their first 11 shots and Mount St. Mary's built a 12-2 lead nine minutes in.
The Red and Blue were within seven, 14-7, when senior Amy Donovan knocked down a short corner jumper at the 8:41 mark. But Mount St. Mary's slowly increased its lead for the rest of the half. The Mount scored five straight for a 19-7 lead. Penn got the lead down to 21-12, but a short 8-2 run gave the Mount their biggest lead of the half, 29-14 with 1:38 to go and led 31-16 at the half. Penn made just five of its 28 shots (17.9%) the first half.
The lead grew on the Mount's first possession of the second half when a three bounced high off the rim and in for a commanding 34-16 advantage.
But Penn made its push. The Quakers scored nine of the game's next 11 points and trailed just 36-25 after junior Kim Adams' three-pointer. The Mount was held without a basket for more than four minutes and after sophomore Jourdan Banks knocked home two of her career-high four points, the Quakers were within 37-27 with more than 14 minutes to play.
After the Mount finally got another basket, Smith scored the game's next three points and Penn was within single digits again, 39-30, midway through the half.
It didn't last long. Mount St. Mary's responded with six straight to extend its lead to 45-30 with eight minutes left in the contest. The advantage grew to 49-33, but that didn't last long either. Penn then scored six straight to pull back within 49-39 with just over four minutes to go.
Four quick points in the next minute extended the Mount's lead to 14. Senior Caitlin Slover then hit her third three of the game (tying a career high) to pull within 53-42, but that would be as close as Mount St. Mary's would let them get down the stretch.
Penn's nine blocks were two short of the school record of 11 which was set twice and last accomplished against Lafayette on Jan. 20, 2004. Banks and junior Caroline Nicholson set career-highs with three blocks apiece. Sophomore Jess Knapp blocked two and Adams had the other.
Slover led the Quakers with a season-high 16 points, adding three assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Senior Sarah Bucar was also in double figures with 10 points to go along with three assists. Adams led the team with seven rebounds, while Smith had six off the bench.
There won't be much time to rest. The Quakers are back in action on Thursday for a New Years Eve matchup with St. Francis (N.Y.) at The Palestra. Tip off is at 2 p.m. and admission is free.
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