When over half of the shots go in, it’s probably safe to say it’s been a good night.
Penn women's basketball cruised to a routine 66-55 win over Yale on Saturday night at the Palestra, recording a season-high 52 percent shot accuracy from the field.
With the result, the Red and Blue (8-4, 2-0 Ivy) extended their win streak to five and kept their spot at the top of the Ancient Eight standings as they head into their matchup with Brown tomorrow.
This is Penn’s seventh straight victory over the Bulldogs (9-5, 0-1), who have now started their Ivy campaign with a loss.
The first quarter was the closest of the affair. The two sides appeared evenly matched with Penn only leading 14-13 as play ended.
It wasn’t until the second quarter that the Quakers came alive and Yale struggled to keep up. An unanswered eight-point run gave Penn a 27-18 lead in the middle of the second. Junior guard Anna Ross and sophomore forward Princess Agyahere led the way for the Quakers in the quarter with eight and six points, respectively.
“Once [Princess] started rolling and scoring the ball off the bench, we’ve been a better basketball team,” McLaughlin said of the sophomore's recent performances.
When the game entered the second half, it was junior guard Lauren Whitlatch who had the team’s hot hand. After a quiet first half, the sharpshooter dropped a trio of three-pointers on the Bulldogs in the third quarter as the Red and Blue pulled away from the visitors.
“I don’t think we closed the first half well as we should have," McLaughlin said. "[But] I thought we came out in the second half. I was really happy with the way we played.”
All night long, Yale had its fair share of open shots, but couldn’t bring the firepower to punish the Quakers.
Senior guard Lena Munzer provided a bright spot for the Bulldogs as the game’s leading scorer with 19 points, but the team was still no match for its hosts, who looked dangerous on every drive down the court.
The Red and Blue entered the final quarter with their largest lead of the night at 19 points. Yale managed to chip away at the gap but ultimately failed to surmount the deficit, as the game ended 66-55.
Penn’s duo of Michelle Nwokedi and Sydney Stipanovich both had strong games, never ceding control of their frontcourt. After being named co-Ivy Player of the Week last time out, Nwokedi ended the night with 11 points and eight boards. Her senior partner recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 10 rebounds, 13 points and the game’s sole block.
Despite Penn’s upcoming game with Brown tomorrow, McLaughlin’s starters continued to play hard well into the fourth quarter even with the comfortable buffer.
Chambers was active all night, running the court, breaking presses and sinking the occasional three. The senior guard left the game with 11 points in 37 minutes played, the most of anybody on the court.
“I know Sydney had a nice five-minute run where she sat the first half, but yeah, I was thinking about [the Brown game tomorrow],” McLaughlin said. “I wanted to try and draw some momentum into tomorrow. I didn’t want to stumble to the finish line.”
But the eighth-year Penn coach was quick to follow up with a smile. “I kept them in there maybe a minute or two longer than I really wanted to, but I was aware of it for sure.”
The Quakers return to action tomorrow against the Bears (10-4, 1-0).
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