PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/23/2019 – The last Big Five women’s game of the season. The championship was not on the line, but a 3 – 1 city series record is an accomplishment which goes to the University of Pennsylvania who defeated the Temple Owls 71 – 62 at the Palestra.
“With this coaching staff, we didn’t win for seven years in the Big Five,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. ” Two other times we won the Big Five we were 3 and 1, that’s what we were again today, so there is a lot to celebrate. I want them to celebrate what we did.”
“We were talking in the locker room how much pride Penn has in the Big Five, said senior co-captain Ashley Russell. “It is a big deal that we have gone 3 – 1 the past two years. Years ago getting one win in the Big Five was big. This year we asserted ourselves. Finishing with a win against Temple, who is a good team, was really huge for us.”
The Quakers beat the Owls at the Palestra for the first time since 2015 leading from start to finish. They did so playing a very efficient game on offense. Penn had 18 assists on 28 of their made field goals. The Red and Blue had 1.076 points per possession.
“We have been working on our transition offense and making sure the ball is reversed,” Russell said who scored a team-high 18 points. “It makes our efficiency so much higher when the ball goes from one side to the other.
Also scoring in double figures were the Penn forward Eleah Parker, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season and 31st overall, and Princess Aghayere who also had 14 points. Russell handed out 7 assists and pulled down 9 rebounds. Kendall Grasela dished out 5 assists.
Temple rallied in the fourth quarter getting the deficit to single digits, but late in the final ten minutes. They were led by freshman guard Marissa Mackins who scored a game and career-high 19 points. She went 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, also a new career-high. Mia Davis scored 15 points and led the team in rebounding with 7, on the offensive glass she had 5.
Temple falls to 4 – 14 and will return to American action hosting ECU on Saturday.
Penn improves to 10 – 3, and will play Haverford on Sunday before heading into the Ancient Eight part of the schedule. They will head into the conference with a good city series record behind them.
“You can build off that, but we are in for a grind in our league,” said McLaughlin. “It’s a challenge physically and mentally. After Sunday, our eyes are on one prize, to get to Yale for this tournament. We have enough built in stuff that we can learn and carry over that will get us prepared.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian