Going into the senior’s last weekend at home, the Quakers hoped to capture their first back-to-back wins in Ivy play.
They fell just short.
On Friday night against Dartmouth, Penn firing on all cylinders and handily won, 63-49.
Led in scoring by sophomore Alyssa Baron, who had 20 points along with nine rebounds, the Quakers (11-14, 4-7 Ivy) were ahead by as many as 25, and never trailed the Big Green (4-21, 2-9) in the second half.
Senior captain Jess Knapp had a double-double with a season-high 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Kara Bonenberger continued her strong play, and had a game of sixes — six points, six rebounds and six blocks — which was just one short of Penn’s record for blocks.
The Quakers as a whole assisted on 20 of their 25 baskets, and outscored Dartmouth’s bench, 17-4.
Friday served as a tune up for Senior Night on Saturday, and the seniors would have liked nothing more than to finish their last game at the Palestra with a W.
After playing to a draw almost all game, the Quakers ceded in the final minute and fell, 57-53.
Seniors Knapp and Jourdan Banks, honored before the game for their notable careers, led the team emotionally from the tip, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the victory in the end.
“It’s tough,” Knapp told Penn Athletics. “It’s heart wrenching that we couldn’t pull the win out, and it kills you that this is the last time we’ll be playing here. It’s tough to swallow.”
On Penn’s first possession, Banks grabbed an offensive rebound that led to a Knapp layup.
Baron led the team with 20 points once again, while Knapp scored 10 points and collected eight rebounds.
“Everyone tried to play really hard for Jourdan and I tonight,” Knapp told Penn Athletics. “Emotions were definitely a little heightened.”
The Quakers led, 31-28, at halftime, but were outscored, 29-22, in the second half.
The two teams were almost carbon copies of each other, both shooting 9-for-27 from the field in the second half. Penn had two more points in the paint, one more bench point and two more off of the fast break. Harvard had two more points off turnovers and one more second-chance point.
The difference came in free throws, where Harvard (14-11, 7-4) shot 11-for-13 for the game, including 8-for-9 in the decisive second half, while Penn shot just 3-for-5 for the whole game.
“As coach says, ‘Success comes in different ways, and sometimes winning isn’t one of them,’” Banks told Penn Athletics after the loss.
The Quakers have three games left in the season, and need to win out in order to pull their record to .500.
Their bid starts next Friday at Brown, followed by Yale on Saturday and finally at rival Princeton on March 6.