In the penultimate home weekend of the season, the Penn women’s basketball team was swept away, dropping a 72-60 decision to Yale on Friday and falling, 59-55, to Brown in overtime Saturday.
Against Yale (12-8, 4-2 Ivy), senior captain Jess Knapp played in her third straight game since returning from a severe knee injury. She chipped in seven points in 14 minutes and contributed to the Quakers’ recent offensive surge.
But the Red and Blue (8-11, 1-4) could not clamp down on the defensive end in the second half, as the talented Bulldogs exploded for 47 points, seizing control of the game before hanging on for the win.
Yale jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead as Penn turned the ball over several times. The miscues on the offensive end came as the Red and Blue attempted to establish freshman forward Kara Bonenberger in the post.
After trading baskets for the next few minutes, the Quakers went on an 8-0 run to take a 14-7 lead, their largest of the evening.
But the Bulldogs steadily worked their way back into the game, taking advantage of some sloppy Penn play, including an uncharacteristic five first-half turnovers from sophomore Alyssa Baron.
Both teams pushed the pace early, but the speed of the game caused more errors than points.
“I think we were trying to go a little bit too fast sometimes,” Baron said. “We needed to just slow down and take a breath, but that tends to happen when you have four or sometimes five freshmen on the floor.”
The Red and Blue appeared to have captured some momentum at the end the first half, when junior Brianna Bradford hit a jumper to give the Quakers a 27-25 lead heading into the locker room.
Then Yale began the second half on fire, opening on a 15-3 run.
“I thought we defended really well in the first half, [but] I think we didn’t come out with the same defensive intensity in the second half,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “Then the score got too high for where we can win — we aren’t built to win games in the 70s.”
The Red and Blue did not help themselves either, turning the ball over 18 times.
“We were trying to make plays when there weren’t plays to be made,” McLaughlin said. “Those [turnovers] are emotional backbreakers.”
The Red and Blue briefly stopped the bleeding, cutting the lead to five. But Yale continued its offensive onslaught, scoring the next eight and building what proved to be an insurmountable 13-point lead.
Penn looked to Baron, the team’s leading scorer, for offense, even playing her at the point on several occasions. But Baron had a tough day from the field, going 3-for-22 for 11 points. With her shot not falling, however, she contributed in other ways, as she racked up seven assists and a career-high 13 boards.
Saturday night against Brown (12-8, 3-3) in the team’s annual Play 4Kay game, the Quakers came within a long Baron floater of winning at the buzzer before falling in the extra session.
The sophomore guard again struggled from the field against the Bears, scoring 16 points on 5-for-20 shooting, but added eight rebounds for the Red and Blue.
Freshman forward Katy Allen finished second for Penn in scoring with 12 points and also pulled down eight boards. Both were career highs.
Next weekend, the Quakers travel to New England to face Harvard on Friday night and Dartmouth on Saturday night.
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