PHILADELPHIA - Any momentum that the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team had coming off its first win didn't last long. La Salle took a big lead early in the first half en route to a 67-51 win over the Quakers Saturday at Tom Gola Arena.
La Salle (5-9, 1-1 Big 5) jumped out in front early. Sophomore Jess Knapp's put back gave the Quakers (1-10, 0-2 Big 5) an early 2-1 lead, but the Explorers scored the game's next seven points over a four-minute span for an 8-2 advantage. When junior Jerin Smith got the Quakers back in the scoring column, La Salle scored eight more in a row to take go ahead 16-4 with 13 minutes to go in the half.
The deficit grew. La Salle then scored eight of the next 11 points and led 24-7 just past the midway point of the opening session. La Salle led by as many as 18 at 33-15 with 4:56 to play, but Penn scored six straight. Senior Amy Donovan hit a jumper from just inside the three-point arc, then hit two free throws on the next possession. Shortly after, junior Kim Adams went coast-to-coast, pulling the Quakers to within 33-21 with her layup at 3:30.
La Salle went into the half up 41-25 - the most points Penn had given up in the first half this year. But Penn scored four points in the first 40 seconds of the second half. Senior Caitlin Slover knocked home a deep jumper and Knapp's layup made it 41-29.
The new-found momentum was short lived. La Salle went on an 8-0 run and the Quakers were back down by 19. Penn managed just two free throws over a nine-minute drought and La Salle pushed the lead to 58-33 with 11:45 remaining.
Despite trailing 62-38 with 7:20 to go, Penn continued to fight. They held the Explorers without a single point for the next 4:55. In the meantime, they found some consistency on the offensive end. They closed the gap to 62-46 with 3:12 remaining, but the teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way.
Senior Sarah Bucar led the Quakers in scoring with 12 points in addition to her season-high five steals. Knapp finished with a near double-double, scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds, while Nicholson finished with eight points and a team-high four assists. Smith had seven points and six rebounds.
Penn, who outrebounded La Salle by four, struggled from the floor, shooting just 18-for-60 (30.0%) in the game. The Quakers had more trouble from beyond the arc, going just 3-for-21 (14.3%). La Salle on the other hand, was impressive. The Explorers shot 51 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three-point range.
Up next for the Quakers is a date with Lehigh on Tuesday. Tip off at The Palestra is at 7 p.m.
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