PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/12/2018 – The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team was looking for a bounce-back win, and did not take long in establishing themselves in a 68 – 48 win over the Cornell Big Red at the Palestra. Penn gets win number one in the Ivy League.
“The first half was terrific and we were ready to play better this week,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin.
The Quakers (7 – 5, 1 – 1) started fast especially on the defensive end of the floor. The Big Red was held to 20% shooting in the first quarter and were held without a field goal for nearly a nine minute stretch, Meanwhile, the Red and Blue made almost half of their shots to go in front 22 – 8 after one. The lead would extend to 38 – 18 at halftime.
“Learning from the Princeton game we weren’t playing the defense we know we can play,” said Penn forward Michelle Nwokedi who had career-highs in blocked shots with 6 and assists handing out 7. “This whole week we emphasized every little thing on defense which helped the offense.”
If Cornell had comeback hopes, they were dashed when Penn scored the first 13 points of the third quarter in a four minute span. However, the Big Red behind the play of guard Samantha Clement, who scored a game-high 23 points, won the third quarter.
Penn limited Cornell to 39% shooting, 23% in opening two quarters, and stole the ball 12 times, 8 in the first half. Guard Beth Brzozowski set a new mark with 3 steals. Leading Big Red scorer Samantha Widmann was held to 3 points.
Eleah Parker led the Red and Blue with 15 points and 10 rebounds, her second double-double of the season. Guard Lauren Whitlatch scored 11 and Nwokedi contributed 9 points. As a team the Quakers made 25 of 56 shots for 46.4%.
“We need to turn defense in to offense and we did that,” McLaughlin said. “We need to continue to stress that and stay out of the half court. We have to find ways to do that.”
Cornell (4 – 10, 0 – 1) was led by guard Samantha Clement who scored a game and career-high xx points.
No time to rest as Columbia visits the Palestra on Saturday in the first weekend of Ivy League basketball.
“We came out ready to play and set the tone they way we played tonight to carry over to tomorrow,” McLaughlin said.
It’s up to the seniors to teach the younger players.
“We try to lead by example,” Nwokedi said. “Show the younger players that everyone needs to be ready when their name is called.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian