Quakers rally falls short as Princeton defeats Penn, 60-44
The Tigers' 19-2 run late in the second half finished off the Red and Blue's upset bid
March 12, 2013, 7:17 pm·
Zoe Gan | DP
The day before the game, senior captain Katie Davis stressed the importance of a strong first 10 minutes for the Quakers to upset Princeton.
Needless to say, when Penn (16-12, 9-5 Ivy) was down 18 points only 11 minutes into the opening half, the Quakers found themselves in an unenviable position.
But the Red and Blue stormed back against Princeton, riding an Alyssa Baron-led 16-8 run into halftime before taking their first lead of the game midway through the final half.
Yet, reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Niveen Rasheed turned it on at the end of the contest, as the Tigers (22-6, 13-1) went on a 19-2 run to finish off Penn’s upset bid.
For a while, it looked like the Quakers could pull off the upset as they received contributions from many players, with seven of Penn’s players scoring during the team’s 32-13 run spanning the two halves.
“We’re always fighting,” Baron said. “We’ve dug ourselves some holes before and we’ve been able to find a way to get out of that.”
The early deficit played out as an almost worst case scenario, as the Red and Blue began the game just 1-for-15 from the field and starting forward Kara Bonenberger quickly racked up three fouls.
Additionally, the team continued to struggle from beyond the arc, going just 1-for-10 from three in the first half before making just two treys for the remainder of the game.
But the leadership of junior Alyssa Baron, who had her fourth career double-double, gave the Quakers a glimmer of hope just before halftime.
Baron made every play for the Quakers, including an impressive off-balance, turn-around jumper that cut Princeton’s second half lead to just one and brought the sparse crowd into a frenzy.
“Alyssa has made so much progress in her overall game,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “I don’t think we’d be talking about how Alyssa could guard Niveen last year. And she is always going to score. She is naturally gifted.”
After the Quakers rose out of their early deficit, Princeton’s seniors responded by stealing the spotlight on Senior Night. Rasheed scored 13 points to lead the Tigers, and Kate Miller’s three-pointer with less than nine minutes to go put Princeton up for good.
“I thought down the stretch was really key,” McLaughlin said. “Kate made a couple really important threes.
“But I thought Alyssa did a good job guarding Niveen. She is really good and I said to Alyssa in [the locker room] that you may have played one of the better kids to ever play Ivy League basketball.”
The Red and Blue finish the regular season still hoping for a postseason bid. But more importantly, the team has finished with a winning record overall and in the Ivy League for the first time since the 2004-05 season.“Coach was saying to us in the locker room that a couple ago we were on the bottom of the league and now we’re close to seeing the top,” Baron said. “It is definitely something to look forward to next year that we have taken strides in the right direction and next year, we’ll definitely be a team to look out for.”