Penn women drop home opener to No. 24 Villanova, 67-41

The Penn women had their home opener Thursday at the Palestra, and an excellent team showed off its talent and consistently fine play.
Unfortunately for Penn, that team was Villanova, which won 67-41.

The Wildcats (3-0) dominated inside and out, showing why they’re ranked 24th in the nation and climbing. And the Quakers (1-3) could do little to challenge them, showing why the nonconference half of their season this year is devoted to trying out players, offenses and defenses and seeing what works.
Against Villanova, nothing much did.
It’s possible that no defense would have worked against Nova’s senior all-everything forward Maddy Siegrist, who was limited to 22 points and 11 rebounds only because coach Denise Dillon didn’t need her on the court anymore. Siegrist shot 9-for-17, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, and had three steals and a block.
Junior guard Maddie Burke went 4-for-5 on threes for 12 points for Nova, which hit half of its 16 three-point attempts.
The Quakers, by contrast, were futile from deep and not much better in close, shooting 3-for-16 (18.8%) on threes and 22.4% overall. No Penn player broke into double figures. Senior guards Kayla Padilla and Mandy McGurk and sophomore guard Stina Almqvist each had eight points.
Penn actually started well and stuck with Villanova for the first quarter, staying within a point of the lead into the second period. But the Quakers hit a scoring drought and fell behind by as much as 17 before the half. And that was before things got seriously bad. Penn’s scoring in the third quarter consisted of one jumper and two foul shots by McGurk, and Villanova led by 27.
Now, it’s true that Nova has been dominant in this series: Penn has three wins and 45 losses. (The last Penn victory came in a squeaker in January 2018.) And it’s true that Nova was coming off a 10-point win over Princeton, the team to beat for the Ivy title. But no outcome is a foregone conclusion in a Big 5 game, and this was the worst Penn blowout against Villanova since another 26-point loss in the 2014-15 season.
Four games into their season, the Quakers are shooting an anemic 31% from the field, including 22% on threes. They’ll have a few days to regroup on the road, facing San Francisco (2-1) on Monday and Southern California (3-0) on Wednesday.

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