All the Penn women's basketball team had to do was win its three remaining games, hope for a Dartmouth loss on the last day of the season and the Quakers would have won their first-ever Ivy League Championship in addition to earning the right to play for the league's tournament berth. Instead, the Quakers (17-10, 8-5 Ivy League) dropped both of their games this weekend, and -- after spending much of the season on top of the league -- have slipped to third in the standings behind Dartmouth and Harvard. The Quakers have lost five out of their last seven games since defeating Harvard on February 11 to take the league lead. "It was terrible," sophomore forward Julie Epton said. "On both nights, each team came out more intense and motivated than we were." In Providence, R.I., on Friday night, the Quakers led Brown (9-19, 4-10) for most of the game before falling in overtime, 92-83. Both teams exceeded 45 percent shooting in the first half, and Penn led at the break, 43-36. The Quakers had built a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes left in the game. Brown then began a 9-0 run over a two and a half minute span to pull within one point, 62-61. The Quakers also hurt themselves by shooting a horrendous 7-of-31 from the floor in the second half. "We kept huddling, saying, 'Let's go, let's get it done, let's make a run and end it,'" Penn senior guard Mandy West said. "But we didn't have that competitive edge or that spark in us to do it. Then they got the refs and the crowd behind them, and it made it difficult." The Bears found their competitive edge just in time, as they took their first lead of the game with 2:02 remaining. Nineteen seconds later, the Bears had a four-point lead. West and her fellow tri-captain Diana Caramanico each hit two free throws to knot the game at 74 and send the game to overtime. For the first two minutes, neither team scored. West hit a three-pointer with 1:24 left to give the Quakers their final lead of the game, as they were outscored by the Bears 18-9 in the extra period. "Even when we were up, I felt like we didn't have that attitude," Epton said. "We sort of felt like Brown had the momentum, even though we were leading." West led the Quakers with a career-high 35 points. Caramanico scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for her 11th consecutive double-double. It's 100 miles from Providence to New Haven, Conn., so the Quakers had about two hours to ponder the Ivy title that was rapidly slipping out of their grasp. Dartmouth won on Friday night, so Penn was two games back with two to play. However, the Quakers claim that the only thing on their minds was their showdown with the Elis. "We came out with the attitude that we really needed to win this game," West said. Indeed, Yale and Penn went back and forth throughout the night, but unlike Friday, the Quakers were trailing for most of the game and were never really able to overtake the Elis, as they fell 82-81. The Quakers took a 14-12 lead with 12:19 left in the first half, but the Elis took advantage of six Quakers turnovers to go on a 19-2 run and take their biggest lead of the game at 31-16. The Red and Blue clawed back -- despite the fact that Caramanico spent 11 minutes on the bench with three fouls -- and trailed at halftime by five. "Our forwards especially got into [foul] trouble really early on," West said. "Which is really bad because then you start playing tentative on defense." The Quakers grabbed their final lead of the game, 81-80, with 23 seconds left. After allowing a layup by Elis forward Alyson Miller, the Quakers were unable to score in the game's final seconds. While Caramanico managed to score 20 points in 28 minutes, the Quakers were led once again by West, who had 34 points on the night. She was 6-of-9 from downtown and 12-for-19 overall. West finished the weekend with 69 points, but she wasn't pleased. "Obviously, I would rather have half as many points and walk away with two wins," she said. "The fact that I scored didn't really make me feel any better."Comments powered by Disqus
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