A typical Ivy weekend for Penn women’s basketball involves only two opponents. But this weekend the Quakers battled a third, “non-conference” foe — Nemo.
Traveling into the heart of the blizzard, the Quakers (10-9, 3-2 Ivy) split a pair of games this weekend, losing at Yale (7-13, 2-4) 65-56, before topping Brown (7-13, 1-5), 65-48.
Three feet of snow kept the Quakers in New Haven all weekend, forcing the Brown game to be postponed to Sunday at 5 p.m. Nemo also forced the relocation of the Yale game to the Lanman Center due to leaks in the roof of Yale’s home court.
According to coach Mike McLaughlin, the team bus in New Haven was snowed in and the team had to walk to and from practices.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the group. They dealt with every setback that was given to them,” McLaughlin said. He said he told the team after the Yale game, “They showed unbelievable maturity.”
All the snow provided the team a chance to spend a lot of time together. “[The storm] really brought us closer together as a team,” sophomore Katy Allen said.
One of the bonding activities involved a “Team Olympics” in which they broke up into three teams and competed in events like trivia and charades.
“It was really fun because we are all really competitive,” Allen said with a laugh.
Meanwhile, the Quakers still had two games to play. McLaughlin said he didn’t think the weather had any effect on the court.
Against the Bulldogs, Penn trailed, 33-22, at the half after shooting just 25 percent from the field. The Quakers fought their way back to within three in the second half but ultimately could not climb out of the hole they had dug for themselves.
Freshman Keiera Ray led the Quakers with 13 points.
The Red and Blue had much better success against Brown, leading from start to finish after jumping out to a 14-2 lead.
Four Penn starters finished in double figures. Junior guard Alyssa Baron finished just one rebound short of a double-double, leading all scorers with 19 points, nine boards and five steals. Sophomore Kara Bonenberger nearly had a double-double as well, adding 10 points and eight rebounds.
“I thought our starters played great [against Brown],” McLaughlin said. “Alyssa Baron played her best all year.”
Not only did Baron fill out the box score, but McLaughlin pointed specifically to her role in shutting down Brown guard Sheila Dixon, who McLaughlin called one of the top 10 to 12 players in the league.
Dixon finished with just six points on 3-for-14 shooting.
The Quakers have now won three out of their last four Ivy games — all away from home.
“Road trips are a good bonding experience,” Allen said. “There are really no distractions, so we’re really focused on the road. I think we’re all looking forward, though, to coming back home.”
“[This weekend] is something [the team] will remember for a really long time,” McLaughlin said.
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