PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team made it seven wins in a row on Thursday night, defeating city-rival Temple by a score of 60-54 at McGonigle Hall. The Quakers have now won seven games in a row, and sit at 12-2 on the season.
Inside the Numbers
Michelle Nwokedi was nearly unstoppable for the Red and Blue, going for 22 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. It is her seventh double-double of the season, and fifth 20-point effort. Sydney Stipanovich also tallied 16 boards, to go along with nine points and three blocks.
In addition to Nwokedi’s production, Kasey Chambers (10) and Lauren Whitlatch (13) also reached double figures. Defensively, the Quakers held the Owls to 33.8 percent (22-of-65) shooting from the field, including 3-of-22 from three-point land.
How it Happened
It was the Nwokedi show early on, as the sophomore scored the Quakers’ first six points of the game. Whitlatch halted her teammate’s run with a jumper of her own, and the Quakers climbed out to an 8-2 edge. Brzozowski and Chambers continued Penn’s hot start, helping to build a 13-8 lead. Brzozowski put together a nice move to the rim, while Chambers followed with a three-pointer. Penn’s defense was also strong, allowing Temple to make just three of its first 13 shots. Stipanovich and Nwokedi also combined for five blocks in the first four minutes.
Unlike the opening quarter, Penn looked out of sync offensively in the second. The Quakers either missed or committed a turnover on their first seven possessions. Stipanovich finally knocked down a mid-range jumper at the 5:59 mark. The slow start allowed the Owls to take their first lead of the game early in the second quarter, 18-17. Temple extended that lead to 22-19 with 4:05 remaining the half. Penn reclaimed the edge (24-22) when Anna Ross found a wide open Chambers in the corner for her second three-pointer of the half.
Tied at 26 at the break, Whitlatch sparked a 17-4 run for the Quakers to begin the third. She began by knocking down her first two free-throw attempts of the season, and followed with a pair of three-pointers. Chambers capped off the offensive spurt with a jumper that gave Penn a 43-32 lead with 4:18 left in the period. The Quakers, however, would score only one more basket in the third – opening the door for Temple to chip away at the lead.
The Owls cut the lead to eight to begin the fourth, and kept coming. Feyonda Fitzgerald made a lay-up to slim the edge to just two at 45-43. The Owls would go on re-take the lead at 50-49 after a pair of free-throw makes from Tanaya Atkinson.
It didn’t take the Red and Blue long to strike back, as Whitlatch sank her third three of the second half to give the Quakers a 52-50 edge – a lead they would never relinquish. Nwokedi would go on to score the next six points for Penn – including a one-of-two trip to the free-throw stripe to give Penn a 55-52 lead.
Following a defensive stop on one side, the Quakers had a chance to go up two scores with under a minute to play. Brzozowski chased down her own miss, and tipped out the offensive rebound -- giving the Quakers a new shot clock with 53 seconds left in the game. After a Penn timeout, Nwokedi made a lay-in to put the Quakers up 57-52 with 35 seconds left. Nwokedi would then go on to make a crucial free throw to give the Quakers a four-point lead with 17 seconds left.
Notes: The win tonight was the 11th non-conference victory for Penn this season, marking a new program record. It also signified the third win in the last four meetings with the Owls, and just the fifth triumph at Temple in the 45-year history of this rivalry.
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