The Penn women's basketball team beat Columbia and lost to Cornell in its final Ivy League weekend of the year. The Penn women's basketball team has had its ups and downs this season. This weekend's games epitomized that unpredictability. The Quakers (11-14, 7-6 Ivy League) split their weekend games, beating Columbia 77-67 on Friday, but falling to Cornell 79-74 on Saturday. "We played very well against Columbia," Penn coach Julie Soriero said. "But against Cornell, we expected to win, they wanted the win." The team's disappointment over Saturday's loss was compounded by the fact that the team was mathematically eliminated from the Ivy League championship race when Princeton beat Brown on Friday. Against Columbia (5-20, 2-12), the Quakers played with the same motivation that they played with in wins against Dartmouth and Harvard last weekend. "We had a different respect for them in this game because of their deserved but unexpected wins against Dartmouth and Yale," Soriero said. "We didn't overlook them at all." The Red and Blue began the game with unmatched intensity, taking a 14-3 lead after hitting their first six shots. Penn extended its lead to 22-5 with just over 10 minutes left in the half. The Quakers ended the first stanza leading 45-28, their highest-scoring first half of the season. Sophomore forward Diana Caramanico's distribution of the ball keyed Penn's first-half run. Caramanico lit up the Lions for 34 points and 17 rebounds in their last meeting so Columbia responded by double- and triple-teaming her on Friday. "By pressuring me, the floor really opened up to everybody else," Caramanico said. "I was able to get my teammates the ball and they responded well." Caramanico had 20 points and 17 rebounds, but Mandy West led Penn with 25 points. Freshman Julie Epton added 10 while co-captain Sue Van Stone netted eight. The second half was very similar to the first, with the Quakers passing the ball well. The big difference, though, was Emily Roller's four three-pointers for the Lions in the last 3:58, which made the final score artificially close. Friday's strong play did not carry into Saturday, as the Quakers came out sluggish and out of sync in the first half of the Cornell (11-15, 5-9) game. The Red and Blue had four traveling violations in the first three minutes and took until the 17:39 mark to score. Despite the slow start, the Quakers kept the game close until Cornell went on a 16-10 run to close the half. "We did not play a good first half," Caramanico said. "Our offensive effort was well-balanced much like the night before. The problem was in our defense." The Quakers erased the first half deficit by going on a 12-2 run to begin the second frame. The Big Red battled back to take a 59-58 lead with eight minutes left in the game. Over the last 7:55, the game saw 10 lead changes. Penn took a 74-73 lead with 1:16 to go, but did not score again as Cornell emerged with a 79-74 win. "We were not aggressive enough on defense," Soriero said. "We didn't put pressure on their post players and turned the ball over at critical times. Cornell was determined and certainly deserved this win. We weren't intense enough." With the loss, the Quakers have no shot at equaling their 1997-98 overall record of 13-13, but, with a win over Princeton on Wednesday, the team can tie last year's Ivy record of 8-6. Soriero expressed disappointment over the lack of improvement in this, her final season at Penn. "You always like to take a team and have them grow incrementally each season," she said. "It's too bad that didn't happen this year. We are a better scoring team, but our defensive and floor games didn't improve as much as I would have hoped from last season." In spite of the disappointment, the Quakers can still play the role of spoiler against Princeton. A Red and Blue win would force the Tigers into a tie with Dartmouth. A win would also put the Quakers in sole possession of third place in the Ivies, while a loss puts them into a tie for third with Harvard. And of course, there's always the Penn-Princeton bragging rights at stake. "I don't think we need any extra motivation for Princeton," Caramanico said. "If we do, we're in bad shape."Comments powered by Disqus
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