Penn women’s basketball had a test this weekend: rebound after a disappointing loss to Yale.
And how did it do? Exceptionally well.
Following a weekend in which they saw their undefeated Ivy hopes vanish, the Quakers responded with two stellar performances, dispatching Cornell 47-34 before taking down Columbia 68-59. With the win on Friday, Penn (17-7, 10-1 Ivy) clinched a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.
The weekend was a showcase in Penn’s biggest strength: its defense. The Quakers’ ability to limit opportunities, disrupt possessions, and force tough shots was on full display in both games. The Red and Blue will need to ride their Ivy-best defense for a few more weeks if they are to have a shot at the Ivy title.
This defensive domination was especially true on Friday, where Penn played arguably their best defensive game of the year. The Red and Blue held Cornell (13-11, 3-8) to just 34 points on 23.5 percent shooting, both season lows for the Quakers.
“Defensively we came out here and we knew that everything was going to have to be 100%,” junior forward Michelle Nwokedi said on Friday night. “I think we came out here and set the defensive tone, and we were able to get the win because of that.”
The night was also special for Nwokedi, who became the 22nd player in program history to record 1,000 total points. The milestone shot came in the midst of a great first half performance, where the junior put up 16 of her team-leading 18 points. She also added 10 rebounds to record her 10th double-double of the year.
On an emotional Senior Night the following night, the Quakers were able to send their seniors off in style against Columbia (13-12, 3-9). Following a pregame ceremony honoring their achievements, all three seniors started and got on the board, including Jackie Falconer, who made her first career start.
“It was amazing,” Falconer said on the day’s festivities. “With all the celebration it was really nice but we knew that we still had to get down to business and get the win, so it was really exciting. I’m glad that everyone got to come together for this.”
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