Women's Basketball Suffers First Defeat, 58-47, at La Salle

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Box Score

PHILADELPHIA - Freshman Kathleen Roche came off the bench and hit the first four three-point attempts of her collegiate career to help erase a 13-point deficit for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team. But La Salle pulled away in the final minutes to hand the Quakers their first defeat of the year, 58-47, Tuesday night at Tom Gola Arena.

In the Big 5 opener for both teams, the Explorers (2-3) jumped out to a big lead in the early going, but the Quakers (2-1) came all the way back and took the lead, 36-34, midway through the second half. La Salle, however, caught fire from the field and a 21-4 run put the game out of reach for the Red and Blue down the stretch.

La Salle (2-3) used a full-court zone defense that stifled the Quakers at the start. Despite the offensive struggles, the Penn defense was up to the task and it was just a 7-2 deficit through the first 8:30.

Penn, which remained winless in seven tries at Tom Gola Arena, continued to have turnover trouble and La Salle stretched its lead to as many as 13, 20-7, with 6:08 to go in the opening half.

But Roche hit her first three, senior Jess Knapp converted a three-point play and a nifty move and lay-in by freshman Jackie Kates capped an 8-0 run to make it a five-point game.

La Salle though, extended its edge to 27-19 at halftime.

A young Quakers team, which was aiming for the best start in the 42-year history of the program, was down, 32-23, with 16:28 remaining. But they responded in their first road game of the year.

For the second time in the game, Roche sparked an 8-0 run. The River Forest, Ill., native sandwiched a pair of threes between a Knapp lay-up and the La Salle lead was quickly down to one.

Trailing just 34-33, Roche connected on another from beyond the arc to give the Quakers their first lead of the game with 11:29 to play.

However, La Salle fought back on its home floor. The Explorers held the Quakers to just four points over the next 9:45 to pull ahead by as many as 15.

Roche led the team with 12 points. She also added five rebounds and two assists. Knapp was also in double digits with 11 points in addition to five rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Freshman Kara Bonenberger had a team-high seven rebounds and three steals to go along with five points.

Sophomore Alyssa Baron, the Ivy League's leading scorer and two-time reigning Ivy Player of the Week, was held in check with just six points on 2-of-15 shooting.

Penn was 17-of-55 (30.9%) from the field for the game, while La Salle was 22-of-58 (37.9%). Roche was 4-of-7 from three, while the rest of the Quakers were 0-for-12 from that range. La Salle was 4-for-10 as a team. Penn was 9-of-10 from the free throw line, but was outrebounded 40-35. The Quakers had a season-high 26 turnovers and forced 22.

The second game of Penn's back-to-back road tilts will require a much longer bus trip. The Quakers leave the city of Philadelphia for the first time when they travel to Western New York to take on Niagara Sunday at 2 p.m.

Download: 3-La Salle.pdf