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PRINCETON, N.J. -- Last night at Jadwin Gymnasium, the Penn women's basketball team played the way it needed to. The Quakers (15-5, 7-0 Ivy League) topped rival Princeton (1-19, 1-6), 71-57, as they built an early and substantial first half lead that they would never come in serious danger of relinquishing. The Red and Blue were glad to have a rare conference game in which they did not have to scratch and claw in the closing minutes to either preserve or assume a lead -- especially after a pair of hard-fought victories at the Palestra over Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend. This enabled Penn coach Kelly Greenberg to rest her starters in the final two minutes, which pleased Quakers forward Diana Caramanico. "It's more a goal to beat them up early so everyone can get into the game," said Caramanico, who led all scorers with 29 points on 11-18 shooting from the field. The win, which represents Penn's program-record 14th in a row, was also significant because it marked the first time ever in which a Red and Blue squad opened its Ivy season 7-0. "It feels good," Greenberg said of her team's two record-breaking streaks. "They really should savor the 7 wins and enjoy it these next couple days." Unlike in its previous game against Dartmouth, Penn came out of the box on fire and never looked back. Princeton trailed by scores of 4-3 and 6-5, in the opening minutes. But the Quaker lead would rapidly grow to insurmountable measures, especially for an offensively deficient Tigers team. By halftime, Penn held a 41-24 advantage, as Princeton's main shooting threat, sophomore Maureen Lane, looked to be too little to keep up with the firepower displayed by the Quakers. Lane finished the first half with eight points and would go on to score a total of 23, but Penn's quickness and precision passing in the opening period overpowered the Tigers. "I thought we ran all over them in the first half," said Penn senior co-captain Erin Ladley, who concluded matters with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. And it was fortunate for the Red and Blue that they did dominate so thoroughly early on, since they went ice cold to begin the second half. Penn junior forward Julie Epton's basket with 12:18 remaining was her only her team's first basket of the second half. But because of the Quakers' large lead and Princeton's poor offense, the margin never became closer than 42-34. Penn, which shot 61.4 percent for the game, would then regain its initial 17-point lead at halftime on three other occasions while cruising to a win. And although last night's was a win that came against a Princeton team that has been victorious just once this season, beating their Ancient Eight nemesis is still something special. "Our coach always says that if you can't get up for this game, there ought to be an investigation," Caramanico said. Penn also knew better than to overlook its arch-rival. "We're not taking any team for granted, no matter what their record is, especially a team like Princeton," said Penn senior guard Liz Alexander, a Daily Pennsylvanian photographer. "Just because they only have one win, it doesn't mean they're going to roll out a red carpet for us." The next challenge for the Quakers will arrive at the Palestra this weekend, when they will face the two New York Ivies in Cornell and Columbia. But Greenberg suggested that maybe it is now time for Penn to begin contemplating just what it is accomplishing in what is becoming a very memorable season. Alexander summed it up best. "It feels fantastic that we are creating history as we play."

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