The Quakers need to finish 5-0, while other top teams lose, just to have a shot at winning an Ivy title. The Penn women's basketball team is living on the edge. Another loss and the Quakers' already slim chances at the Ivy League championship will be reduced to nothing. The team's uphill climb begins tonight at the Palestra at 7 p.m. when the Quakers (8-13, 4-5 Ivy League) face Harvard (8-12, 5-4) and continues tomorrow when second-place Dartmouth (14-7, 7-2) comes to town. "I'd like to be in a position where we can control our own destiny," Penn coach Julie Soriero said. "Unfortunately we aren't, but we can only worry about us playing well down the stretch." Soriero added that even if Penn does not win the title, playing well is still important because the team is young and can gain from the experience. Furthermore, the team still has the chance to play the role of spoiler. Before worrying about help from other teams, Penn must improve its own play to have a shot at winning its final five games. The team has been focusing on fundamentals to achieve the victories. "Basics like boxing out are so important and something we haven't been doing," sophomore Diana Caramanico said. "We'll have a sequence where we play great defense but we won't box out and they'll get another look at the basket when there's only one second left on the shot clock." A few things the Quakers once had under control have also emerged as problem areas. "We started out the season very strong in the rebounding department and that has since gone down," Soriero said. "We have to get that back on track and make sure that our opponents get only one shot at the basket." One component of the game that Soriero does see improving is the team's foul shooting. In the Quakers' win against Yale last weekend, Penn shot over 87 percent from the foul line. Despite beating Yale, Penn still finished last weekend 1-1 after a loss to Brown. The Bears defeated the Quakers 74-65, thanks in part to Penn's 28 turnovers -- 11 of which came in the first 10 minutes of play. The Red and Blue recovered from the sloppy start to pull within 11 at the half, but more turnovers in the beginning of the second frame put the game out of reach. The Quakers were able to recover for the next day's game against the Elis, winning 73-62. Penn had a five-point lead at halftime and led by 10 with 2:23 left in the game. The Quakers' strong foul shooting put Yale away in the closing seconds, giving Penn its first win in four games. The Quakers' field goal percentage of 47.5 percent helped their cause as well. The Quakers hope to play as well against Harvard and Dartmouth as they did against Yale this weekend. "Against the Bulldogs, we ran our offense very successfully," Caramanico said. "We didn't panic." Penn knows that Harvard and Dartmouth will be tougher tests than Yale was, however. The Quakers were swept by their New England foes two weeks ago in a pair of close games. Harvard's season has been similar to Penn's, as the Crimson are only up one game on the Quakers in the Ivy Standings. In spite of Dartmouth's strong record, its confidence might be shaken due to an upset at the hands of lowly Columbia last weekend. Dartmouth will also be coming off a huge game against Princeton the previous night, which could lead to a letdown against the Quakers. "We allowed Dartmouth to get on a long, sustained run in the second half when we played them," Soriero said. "We have to be careful that we don't allow that to happen again." The games against the Crimson and the Big Green are also significant because they are the Quakers' last at the Palestra this year. As such, the games are Soriero and senior Sue Van Stone's last home games. Soriero announced her resignation in the middle of the season after coaching at Penn for 10 years. It also means that the Quakers have to go on the road for their last three games of the season. This fact, coupled with the fact that Penn has not had a five-game winning streak since 1994-95, makes the Quakers' uphill climb to the top of the Ivies even steeper.Comments powered by Disqus
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