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The Penn women's basketball team saw a four-game winning streak snapped with two tough Ivy losses. The Penn women's basketball team saw its four-game winning streak end this weekend when it lost at Dartmouth and Harvard by scores of 77-62 and 70-68, respectively. Perhaps that wasn't the only thing that ended for the Quakers. It also may have crushed their hopes for an Ivy League title. "It makes it very hard to finish atop the league, which has been our goal from the beginning," senior forward Sue Van Stone said. In a weekend that featured play between the Ivy League's four top teams -- Penn, Princeton, Dartmouth and Harvard -- the Quakers knew victories were vital if they were to seize first or second place in the Ivy League. Since they were visiting some of the conference's elite, this weekend's sweep of the Quakers was largely a result of stellar play by the opposition and not a breakdown of Penn's recent success. Penn opened the weekend against Dartmouth (13-6, 6-1 Ivy League), which held second place in the Ivy League entering Friday's game. The Quakers (7-12, 3-4) came out strong against the Big Green and played an even first half. In a half that featured eight lead changes, the biggest edge was five, belonging to Dartmouth at 27-22. The Big Green took a 37-35 lead into halftime thanks to a Samantha Berdinka three-pointer to close first-half scoring. The game proved to be a tale of two halves, though, as the Big Green never relinquished their halftime lead. "I panicked in the second half when they went into a box and one," Penn junior guard Mandy West said. By disrupting Penn's rhythm and limiting West's offensive prowess, Dartmouth shut down the Quakers and held them to 27 second-half points en route to a 15-point victory. "I think they're the best team [in the Ivy League]," Van Stone said. "They play well together and feed off their strengths." Although Dartmouth stripped West of her ability to quarterback Penn's offense, she still managed to score eight points in the second half, giving her 16 for the game. But a majority of the Quakers' scoring came from sophomore forward Diana Caramanico, who netted 34 of Penn's 62 points. Coupled with her 13 rebounds, Caramanico recorded another double-double. "Diana has really good footwork, so if you take away the baseline, she'll go to the center on you," Penn coach Julie Soriero said. "Also, Erin [Ladley] and Mandy are giving her good passes." After a game that saw West and Caramanico score over 80 percent of Penn's points, the Quakers had a much more balanced attack the following night at Harvard (7-11, 4-3). Sophomore guard Erin Ladley and sophomore center Jessica Allen both passed 10 in the scoring column, in addition to the usual double-digit performances from Caramanico and West, who had 23 and 17 points, respectively. "Overall, I think I played better against Harvard," West said. "It wasn't as difficult to find the open shots." Free from having to deal with Dartmouth's box-and-one, the Quakers' more balanced scoring attack enabled Penn to see greater success against the Crimson than they did the previous night. The Red and Blue had another see-saw battle in the first half, but this time it was the Quakers who went into halftime with the two-point lead. Unlike their game in Hanover, the Quakers came out strong in the second half and increased their lead to eight with less than eight minutes remaining. Penn's lead had been reduced to two, but Erin Ladley's three-pointer with 4:57 remaining put the Quakers up 62-57. Then came the Crimson fireworks. Although Harvard was only 9-of-21 from behind the arc in the game, the Crimson went 4-of-4 from downtown on four consecutive possessions to take a 69-64 lead with under two minutes left on the clock. "A four or five point lead is never enough against Harvard and neither is a 10- or 12-point lead for that matter," Soriero said. The Quakers still had some fight left in them, as they cut Harvard's lead to 69-68. Ultimately it was to no avail, as the clock was Harvard's ally. Time ran out on the Quakers after Harvard's Sarah Russell sank a free throw to put the Crimson up 70-68. "The biggest difference was rebounding," Soriero said. "It's not so much the numbers, but what the rebounds led to. They had many second opportunities, which was really costly." Penn's two losses this weekend make winning the Ivy League championship difficult. However, Penn is only halfway through its Ivy League schedule and no member of the Ancient Eight remains unbeaten after this weekend's action. Although the Quakers will need help from other teams, they still have an outside shot at the title if they can run the table.

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