Strong Blue Hens squad blows out Quakers for second year in a row
As Penn floundered, Delaware fortified its position in the most recent
women's basketball rankings last night, as the Blue Hens left the
Palestra with a decisive 73-49 victory.
A year after being blown out in Newark, Del., 78-34, the Quakers
entered the contest with confidence. Unfortunately for them, the Blue
Hens (5-1) have been riding high ever since upsetting No. 20 Kentucky
Nevertheless, coach Pat Knapp said that losing this game "was probably more frustrating because we felt that we had a shot."
The Quakers (2-2) hung tough on the scoreboard in the opening minutes,
even briefly pulling ahead 7-6. It was only a matter of time, however,
before Delaware's suffocating zone and aggressive play would prevail.
The Blue Hens eliminated their host's perimeter game, holding point
machine Joey Rhoads and Lauren Pears to just 10 points combined.
"We're a little diminutive around the perimeter. We play with a lot of
length," Knapp said. "They played a good zone. They played it smart.
They just had to stand there with their hands up."
Monica Naltner's play in the high post was the only thing going the
Quakers' way. The 5-foot-11 forward led all scorers with 25 points, and
contributed a team-high seven rebounds. Nevertheless, Knapp does not
want to see his team become forced into the one-dimensional play he saw
"We would like to execute better against the zone," Knapp said. "Some
of that is individual ball handling. Some of that is toughness inside.
Some of that is passing."
Seeing that the game was well out of reach, Knapp benched his three
senior leaders with over four minutes remaining. Sophomore Katarina
Lackner and junior Kimberly Franklin each posted five points off the
bench, and freshman Caitlin Slover showed promise with three of her own.
While Knapp was pleased with their contributions, he was far from satisfied.
"We didn't play up to our expectations," Knapp said. "We need other
people to step up, to play aggressively and shoot the ball. We had too
many missed plays. Nobody else on our team shot well."
The Quakers' effort was negated by their opponent's dominant physical
play. Delaware brought down more offensive rebounds than the Penn
defense (21-18), and dominated the boards overall, 40-27.
The Red and Blue turned the ball over a whopping 25 times compared to 12 for the Blue Hens.
Back at .500, Penn returns to the Palestra hardwood Sunday afternoon against Villanova for its second Big 5 bout of the season.
Having already lost to La Salle, the Quakers are still trying to tally their first Big 5 win since 2004.