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Long Island University Blackbirds, 40, University of Pennsylvania Quakers, 54

Coach: We have to do a better job guarding 3-point shots

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The Long Island University Blackbirds women’s basketball squad has found its kryptonite: 3-point shooters.

The team’s Achilles heel became quite apparent on Sunday when the team suffered a 54–40 non-league loss to the University of Pennsylvania Quakers at the Wellness Center on Sunday afternoon — thanks mostly to the nine 3-pointers the ivy-league school dropped in.

“We have to do a better job guarding the 3-point shooters,” said Blackbirds coach Gail Striengler. “It feels like every time we play one, somebody hit threes that don’t really hit threes.”

The Quakers shot 54.5 percent from behind the arc in the first half to open up a 32–20 lead it would not relinquish.

Alyssa Baron led the way for the University of Pennsylvania with 17 points, including three 3-pointers and Kara Bonenberger had 12 points. Honor Duvall paced the Blackbirds with 10 points and seven rebounds and Krystal Wells has nine points and five boards. The Blackbirds shot just 28.3 percent from the game, a stat that’s just not good enough, Striengler says.

“We’ve got to find a way to score,” said Striengler.

Things did improve in the second half. The Quakers air-balled its first trey attempt and Wells connected on three straight shots from behind the arc.

She later found Duvall for an open layup that pulled the Blackbirds as close as 41–33 with 11:04 left in the game. The Quakers answered by ripping off an 8–0 run that included a Baron 3-pointer to put the game out of reach.

“In the second half I hit a few shots and the momentum changed,” Wells said. “And then we made a turnover and then they put it back to 10.”

The Blackbirds, who fell to Rutgers on Dec. 6, get a 12-day break following the consecutive losses. They return to host Ohio on Dec. 21.

Wells believes her young team, which lost the bulk of its offense from a year ago, will need to stay focused on improvement and not get lax before getting back on the court.

“I think it gives us a chance to rest our legs and get in work on a lot of shooting because we are not shooting well right now,” Wells said. “We need to continue to get better.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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