Women’s Basketball: Penn Shuts Down Highlander

Junior forward Kara Bonenberger paced Penn with a game-high 18 points leading four double-figure scorers in an 84-48 victory over visiting NJIT Saturday evening at The Palestra.

Penn has won its last two games, improving to 10-5 overall closing out the non-conference portion of its schedule while the Highlanders dropped their third straight contest falling to 5-18 on the season.

Bonenberger, a 6-foot-1 forward, led the way for Penn scoring 15 of her game-high 18 points in the first intermission. The junior finished 4-of-6 from the field and 10-of-14 from the free line.

Freshman center Sydney Stipanovich recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while setting a new single-game program record with eight blocked shots.

Junior guard Renee Busch added 11 points off the bench for the Quakers while Kathleen Roche and Katy Allen chipped in 10 points apiece. The Quakers out-rebounded the visiting Highlanders on the boards, 44-to-30, paced by Stipanovich’s game-high 10 rebounds.

The only player to reach double-figures for NJIT Saturday was senior forward Uju Nwankwo, who matched her season-high with 17 points while grabbing a team-high 8 rebounds. Nwankwo made 8-of-16 field goal attempts, including three blocks.

In the opening six minutes, both teams got off to a slow start with the score being knotted at 7-7 until the Quakers went on a 13-2 run behind five points from freshman guard Melanie Lockett and a pair of buckets from Stipanovich. Penn’s Busch capped the run with a three-pointer to put the home team ahead, 20-9, with 8:18 left in the first period.

The Highlanders closed the Quakers gap to within eight on two occasions, the final with 4:12 remaining in the opening half after five straight points for the visitors for a 27-19 score.

Penn’s Bonenberger responded with five straight points of her own to extend the lead back into double digits, 33-19, with 3:13 left to go, and the Quakers holding a 12-point advantage, 37-25, heading into the locker room.

Trailing 37-25 to open the second half, the Highlanders cut the Quaker deficit to 10, 46-36, after an old-fashion three-point play by junior guard Martina Matejcikova. Penn answered by netting 13 straight points pushing the Quaker lead to 23, 59-36, with 11:10 left to play in the contest.

In the final 6:24, Penn went on a 16-4 spurt closing out the contest and cruising to an 84-48 victory.

NJIT will return to action on Wednesday when the Highlanders visit first-time opponent Maryland-Eastern Shore at 6pm. UMES enters Wednesday’s contest having dropped its previous 10 contests while standing at 3-13 overall, 2-2 at home.

Courtesy of NJIT Athletics

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