Another strong scoring effort for Alyssa Baron. Another block party for Sydney Stipanovich. And another dominant defensive effort by the Red and Blue.
In other words, it was a typical Ivy weekend for Penn women’s basketball.
In a game that was over well before halftime, the Quakers dismantled Brown, leading by as many as 37 points before beating the Bears, 78-51.
“We were really hyped after beating Yale,” junior guard Kathleen Roche said. “Penn doesn’t beat Yale very often historically so getting that win was really important, and we wanted to cap the weekend with another sweep going into Harvard [next weekend].”
The Red and Blue (16-5, 6-1 Ivy) came into Friday’s game with the nation’s sixth-best shooting percentage defense, and they did not disappoint this weekend. After holding Yale (10-12, 4-4) to 28 percent shooting on Friday in a 62-50 win, Penn held Brown (8-14, 2-6) to a mere 21.7 percent shooting in the first half.
“We were in a zone press between zone and press into a zone after a make,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “I thought we did really good job matching up with their key players on the perimeter.”
And after Brown senior guard Lauren Clarke kept her squad in the game with eight early points, the Quakers took off, turning a 9-8 lead into a 27-8 blowout, taking Brown’s hopes of pulling an upset away early on.
“Their offense really runs through [Clarke],” Baron said. “She was on fire in the beginning, but once we contained her, they struggled to score.”
Baron led the charge for Penn’s offense. The Quakers’ senior captain shot lights out in the first half, going five-for-five on her way to 17 points while adding four assists. Those 17 points were enough to outscore the Bears as the Quakers led, 43-15, at the half.
“I kind of just tried to get the last game out of my mind,” Baron said after dealing with foul trouble against Yale on Friday. “There is always new officiating so it is [about] coming with the same mindset and attacking the basket.”
But it wasn’t just Baron making things happen. Penn’s first two baskets came from Stipanovich, the Quakers’ freshman sensation in the frontcourt. And she didn’t let up, putting up eight points, six rebounds and two blocks for good measure in a strong opening half.
Meanwhile, junior guard Renee Busch picked up where she left off against Yale, making three triples to contribute off the bench.
Brown put up a fight in the second half, going on a 15-0 run after falling behind, 59-22. But coachremoved ‘Mike’ bc his name was already stated McLaughlin brought his starters back in, letting Baron and company finish off the Bears.
“Alyssa just wants to win,” McLaughlin said. “What I really liked about her performance today was that she made the extra pass.”
Baron finished with a game-high 22 points while Stipanovich posted a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. To top it off, Roche added 15 points to help Penn pick up an easy win.
All in all, it was another strong weekend for the Quakers. The two victories marked Penn’s third straight Ivy weekend without a loss, giving the squad an eight-game winning streak, its second such streak of the season.
And with Harvard and Princeton both sweeping their two Ivy opponents this weekend, Penn remains in a virtual tie with each squad for first place in the Ancient Eight.
But that tie won’t last for long as the Tigers and Quakers travel up to Cambridge next weekend for a season-defining set of games.
“We’ve been through the league once,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll use some of what we did the first time against [Harvard] … and then it’s on to Dartmouth.”
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