5. Empire State of Mind: After starting 0-1 in Ivy play, Penn proceeded to lose two straight games to Big 5 opponents. In desperate need of a big weekend, the Quakers headed to New York to take on Cornell and Columbia. First up were the Lions, who took a four-point lead into the half at Levien Gym. But after scoring 31 points in the first half, Columbia could only score nine more. The Red and Blue held the Lions to just two field goals in the final 20 minutes while Alyssa Baron led Penn on a 20-5 run to finish off a win.
Next up was Cornell, where Penn also trailed at the half. But this time, it was Penn’s offense — led by 30 points combined from Keiera Ray and Kara Bonenberger — that bailed out the Quakers en route to their second Ivy win.
4. 18 points is nothing: Using a 22-3 run, the Quakers fought back from 18 points down in the final eight minutes of the second half against St. Francis (N.Y.). Penn turned to Baron, who drove the ball for a game-winning layup with just 6.4 seconds left. The Quakers defense didn’t allow the Terriers to get off a final shot and Penn walked away with its biggest comeback in program history. It was also the largest comeback ever for an Ivy League team and the Quakers’ first road win of the season.
3. Fourth Place is so preseason: With Penn beginning its first home Ivy weekend with a 3-2 conference record and in fourth place, the Quakers took on two teams ahead of them – Harvard and Dartmouth. What came next was Penn’s most impressive game of the (regular) season, as the Red and Blue upset Harvard at the Palestra, 77-72, behind a career-high 31 points from then-freshman Keiera Ray. The Quakers followed it up with a 63-40 win over the Big Green, once again led by Ray, who scored 19 points.
2. There’s a first time for everything: After finishing the regular season with a 16-12 record, Penn was selected to play in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The Quakers pulled out the first postseason victory in program history as they defeated Howard in the first round of the tournament. While the squad led by 11 with under seven minutes to go, the team barely held on for a five-point win. The victory was sparked by senior guard Brianna Bradford, who hit five three-pointers and led Penn with 16 points.
1. Always Alyssa: With just eight seconds left in the WBI quarterfinal match against No. 3-seeded Fairfield, Alyssa Baron dribbled the ball the length of the court and buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to defeat the Stags. The shot gave Penn just its second win ever in postseason play, and its 18th win on the season, a feat only accomplished three times in school history.
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