Penn women's basketball looks to turn Ivy season around

Quakers head to Cornell and Columbia as the second half of the Ivy season begins

· February 17, 2012, 3:03 am   ·  Updated February 20, 2012, 11:04 pm

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A lot can change in one season. Just ask this year’s women’s basketball team.

After getting out to a blazing 7-2 start, the Quakers have since gone 2-10 and are sixth in the Ivy League, in front of only Dartmouth and Columbia.

The Quakers went 2-5 in the first cycle of Ivy play, losing by an average of 15 points in those losses.

Those games, however, are over and done with — and now it’s time to give the Ivy League another go around.

To open part two of the Ivy season, the Quakers will travel on the road and face Cornell (9-12, 3-4 Ivy) and Columbia (2-19, 0-7). The last time the Quakers faced the teams — Friday Jan. 27 and Sunday Jan. 29, respectively — Penn split the weekend.

Coming off of six straight losses after senior Jess Knapp went down with a torn MCL and ACL in her right knee, the Quakers came into the Palestra and, fueled by their captain’s return, handed the Lions a beatdown, 75-50.

Freshman Renee Busch dropped a career-high 20 points to lead all scorers, and fellow freshman Jackie Kates made her first start in place of sophomore Meghan McCullough.

The Quakers stifled the Lions on the perimeter, holding them to 25 percent on 4-for-16 shooting. Penn shot nearly 50 percent from distance, converting 10-of-21.

Two nights later, however, the Quakers weren’t able to build on their momentum and fell to Cornell, 67-53.

In that game, Alyssa Baron led all scorers with 24 points, but the Quakers simply could not control the tempo and let the Big Red take over.

Knapp’s presence didn’t seem to have the same effect as it had on her first game back, and Penn lacked the overall focus necessary to pull off the weekend sweep.

Currently, Columbia has lost nine in a row, is the doormat of the Ivy League and doesn’t figure to be much of an issue for the Quakers.

Cornell is currently fifth in the Ivy League, just above the Quakers. The Big Red have a 3-4 league record and are coming off of two consecutive losses.

Friday’s game against Cornell will set the tone for how Penn will finish off the rest of the season, for better or for worse.

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