There aren’t too many better words to describe Penn women’s basketball’s weekend. Coming off of a disheartening loss to Villanova, the Quakers rebounded en route to a 68-49 victory over Yale and a 66-49 win over Brown.
Penn (14-3, 3-0 Ivy) parlayed strong defensive effort into success on the other end in both games, stifling its opponents to a combined 33 percent shooting.
Friday’s rout of Yale (11-10, 2-2) was coach Mike McLaughlin’s 100th win with the Red and Blue.The honor was just another in an already long list for McLaughlin, who earned his 500th career victory as a head coach earlier this season.
“He’s a great coach and that just shows how great a coach he is,” junior captain Sydney Stipanovich said. “He works hard each and every day to get us better and it’s awesome for him, we’re really excited.”
Early on, Penn’s game against Yale was anything but certain. The two teams battled back and forth through the 13 minutes, before the Quakers gained separation with a 10-0 run to take an 11-point lead with 5:18 to play in the second quarter.
From there, the Red and Blue never looked back. 13 second-half points from sophomore guard Anna Ross helped put away the Elis, who trailed by 24 with 1:29 to play. Ross finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists in one of her stronger games of the season.
“I loved their energy, I loved their aggressiveness,” McLaughlin said. “We hung in there, we really played solid defensively the entire night.”
Against Brown (12-6, 0-4), Penn jumped out to a much quicker start. Despite falling behind 7-5 early in the first quarter, the Quakers put together one of their most effective stretches of basketball all season, keying a 38-7 run to jump out to a 43-14 lead with 5:57 to play in the third. The run featured a nearly nine-minute scoreless stretch for the Bears as Penn stifled Brown on every one of its attempts.
The Bears mounted a slight rally late in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points in the final four minutes against Penn’s bench, but it was too little too late. Brown guard Jordin Alexander led the team in scoring with 19 points, but struggled early on, with only four points coming in the first half.
In the end it was another dominant night for Stipanovich, who finished the weekend with a combined 35 points, 30 rebounds and seven blocks. It was the continuation of a hot streak for the first team All-Ivy center, who has averaged 15.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game over her past six games.
“Sydney’s been great. She’s playing the best basketball I’ve seen her play and that’s pretty good after the first two years,” McLaughlin said. “The roll she’s on right now ... she’s been really good.”
Three games into the Ivy League season, Penn is perfect, though the 14-game tournament still has many more twists and turns to go. Princeton matched the Quakers this weekend in similar routs of Brown and Yale to improve to 2-1 in the league, while Cornell and Harvard also sit a game back of the Quakers with 3-1 records.
Next weekend will feature the team’s first Ivy League weekend roadtrip of the season, as the team heads north to take on Harvard and Dartmouth and hopes to maintain its perfect conference record.
“Anyone in our league can beat anyone,” McLaughlin added.
“We only really worry about what we do, and if we compete hard and we defend hard, we’re going to give ourselves a shot every time out whether it’s at home or on the road.”
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