PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/8/2019 – For the University of Pennsylvania it was their initial Ivy home weekend. First up was the Brown Bears.
Brown averages 75 points per game and have four starters who are double-digit scorers. Penn gives up just over 50 per game. So, it looked like the Penn defense vs. Brown offense. The defense stymied the Bears offense, and the Quakers got rolling on the offensive end to earn a 83 – 43 complete effort win at the Palestra. And when the defense plays well, so does the offense.
“We played well in the beginning, we made some shots especially in the second quarter, said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “When the ball goes in like that it helps you emotionally. It gave us separation.
The game started out close. Then the Red and Blue forced 5 turnovers by the Bears in the last 4:27 of the first quarter to take a 19 – 14 lead. The trend continued in the second quarter. Brown had another 5 miscues over 6:26 of that 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the Quakers found the range from distance as 6 of the last 7 baskets by the Red and Blue were from beyond the arc to take a 43 – 20 lead at intermission. Penn won the quarter 24 – 6 and took the third quarter 21 – 10.
“We had a nice cushion at halftime, but we really played well in the third quarter,” said McLaughlin.
In the contest the Quakers made 33 of 72 (45.8%) and hit 11 three-pointers. Ashley Russell and Princess Aghayere scored 13 apiece. Eleah Parker added 12 points. No Quakers starter played more than 30 minutes. Emily Anderson came off the bench to score a career-high 10 points, and set her collegiate-best with 6 rebounds.
“Emily helped us in the middle,” McLaughlin said about the performance of Anderson. “This is her third year at Penn and defensively, she was terrific.”
Russell had 4 steals, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. Kendall Grasela also had 4 steals, a career-best, and 8 assists, also a career-high.
On defense Brown was limited to 26.2 % (17 of 65), and committed 19 turnovers that resulted in 23 Penn points. None of the Brown starters broke double figures. Erika Steeves scored a team-high 8 points.
“We worked a lot on pushing them to certain spots on the floor,” said McLaughlin. “I thought our guards were terrific on defense. We worked hard on it and played it well.”
The Bears are on a 4 game skid and will go to Princeton on Saturday.
This was the fifth straight win, fourth in the Ancient Eight, by the Red and Blue (14 – 3) who will host Yale to end the weekend slate.
“We got some of there guys off their feet,” said McLaughlin about resting the starters. This game is played with the emotional part, the physical part, the mental part. We worked hard with them understanding that.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian