PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania outscored the University of Maine 17-3 to open the game, building the foundation for a convincing 69-48 women’s basketball victory at The Palestra.
Coach Cindy Blodgett’s Black Bears (1-7) spotted the Quakers (3-5) a 36-15 halftime advantage and were never able to make any kind of a serious threat.
UMaine, which has lost six straight, hurt its chances by committing 23 turnovers and being whistled for 28 personal fouls. Penn outscored the Bears 20-12 from the foul line.
“For whatever reason, I felt like we looked sluggish and sort of a step behind,” Blodgett said.
The Quakers shot 40 percent from the floor and also dominated the boards, outrebounding the Bears 41-25. The hosts grabbed 19 offensive rebounds.
“Right from the get-go, we had four turnovers and they had five offensive boards in the first three minutes,” Blodgett said. “That’s what contributed to us getting behind early.”
For the third consecutive game, UMaine was without junior forward Samantha Wheeler, who is recovering after suffering a blow to the head in practice on Nov. 28. Wheeler did not make the trip and will miss Sunday afternoon’s contest at Penn State.
Erin Power paced Penn with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Alyssa Baron provided 16 points and Jess Knapp added eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Bears were led by 11 points from redshirt freshman Amber Smith. Freshman Jaymie Druding posted seven points and Corinne Wellington contributed six points and four rebounds. Rachele Burns of Gorham made four steals.
UMaine started poorly, failing to connect for a field goal during the first seven minutes, 12 seconds of the game. The Bears wound up committing 11 turnovers and only three points in the game’s opening 10 minutes.
UMaine finished with 15 turnovers in the half and scored a season-low 25 points. The Bears were outrebounded 25-11 in the first 20 minutes.
“We struggled to score and we just got killed on the offensive glass,” Blodgett said.
Penn extended the lead to 45-17 early in the second half, during which UMaine went almost six minutes without a field goal.
The game marked the collegiate debut of UMaine redshirt freshman Shareka Maner, who hit a 3-pointer, grabbed a rebound and had an assist in her six-minute stint.
“I was searching for energy, that’s really what I was trying to find (by playing her),” Blodgett said.