It was a moment reminiscent, in some ways, of Notre Dame football's come-from-behind victory to "win one for the Gipper." After demolishing Brown the night before, the Penn women's basketball team trailed Yale for the better part of Saturday's game. Penn narrowed the Elis' lead to two points from the Quakers' five-point halftime deficit, but Yale held its own. And then, with just over eight minutes left in the game, Penn coach Kelly Greenberg had to leave the court. The referees had been making an uncommonly large amount of foul calls all night -- 49 fouls were called on Saturday, 18 more than had been called on Friday. And although Yale was whistled for three more fouls than Penn, Greenberg -- along with the Penn fans -- felt the referees were calling more unnecessary fouls on the Quakers. Greenberg had already been issued a technical foul at the beginning of the second half for making a remark to the referee about a foul call. So when Greenberg asked the referee to explain a foul call with 8:16 left to play, the mood between the Penn coach and the officials was not exactly jovial. As the referee was walking away from Greenberg, the Penn coach said something that resulted in her being penalized with a second technical. Greenberg was then given 30 seconds to leave the court. The crowd, already unhappy with the referees, booed in a seemingly unanimous rage. But it soon became clear that the angriest faces in the Palestra were worn by the Quakers. As game play resumed, Penn struck out with heightened intensity against Yale. This was no longer just a regular Ivy League game, this one was for Greenberg. "We said, 'We're doing this for Coach.' We didn't want to let her down," Penn senior guard Erin Ladley said. "So we made a pact that we were going to win." The Quakers' determination was evident in their faces, as Penn's Julie Epton sunk one from the field to bring the Quakers to within one point of Yale. However, the Elis responded with a three-pointer, and by the six-minute mark, Yale had a 64-59 lead. It looked as if Penn might not be able to pull it out. And then, just as they've done countless times this season, Penn pulled ahead when the stakes were at their highest. The Quakers rained down on Yale, turning the tide for good. Penn went on a 6-0 spurt, which ended with Ladley hitting a two-point shot to put the Quakers up one -- their first lead in 20 minutes. Greenberg was in the back room, listening as her brother gave her a play by play of the game. Penn then finished off Yale with a series of clutch shots that left the Elis just out of striking distance for a comeback. And so, the Quakers won their 20th victory in a row in a fitting tribute to a coach who had turned the Penn program around. Greenberg took over at Penn last season. Now, in only her second year, the Quakers are the Ivy League champions for the first time in history, hold the longest active winning streak in the nation and are headed to the NCAA Tournament. "She's been so great for us and she's meant so much for this team," Penn sophomore guard Tara Twomey said. "And we just knew that we had to go out there and win it for her, because she deserves it so much. She's always there for us."Comments powered by Disqus
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