They can't win if they play like that. They're going to get blown out.
Penn women's basketball eked by Harvard in one of its ugliest games of the season. It was brutal, it was a grind, and it was close the entire way. To put it bluntly, the Quakers just flat out didn't play well.
And there's no way they can even stay close to a Princeton team that has already crushed them this season when they weren't playing their best.
Pick any stat, and the Quakers didn't play to their true potential. They shot 33.3 percent, their sixth-lowest percentage of the season. Two of those other games? The Princeton losses.
They were outrebounded by three, including five on the offensive boards. The last time they were outrebounded? At Princeton in February.
They had 19 baskets, only the third time this season that they made under 20 shots. And, you guessed it, one of those was against Princeton.
The point I'm trying to make here is that Penn has played extremely well for most of the season, but the two Princeton games the Quakers looked like a completely different team. Tonight, they looked like that worse team.
Harvard pushed all the right buttons against this team. They found a way to neutralize some of Penn's best weapons: Parker and Nwokedi each shot just 3 for 8 from the field, and Whitlatch made just one bucket all night. The Red and Blue were stagnant at many moments during this game, failing to produce quality shots.
On the other end, the Crimson set a ton of high screens to give open looks, especially to sophomore Katie Benzan, who torched the Quakers with 20 points, including six threes. The Quakers struggled to rotate all game, even after coach Mike McLaughlin switched junior guard Ashley Russell onto Benzan.
And that was a big part of the formula for Princeton too. The Tigers have a weapon no one else in the Ivy League can replicate in guard/forward hybrid Bella Alarie, but aside from her, a shooting guard rained threes on the Quakers. The first time it was Gabrielle Rush, who poured in four first-half threes. The next game it was Abby Meyers, who led Princeton with three buckets from beyond the arc.
The Quakers have the ability to stop teams from doing that. They've played lockdown defense before, plenty of times this season, plenty of times in Ivy play. And they have the capability to move the ball better than any other team in the Ancient Eight. But not this version of the Quakers.
So it all depends which team shows up tomorrow. If the real Red and Blue surface tomorrow, then it'll be a classic Penn-Princeton battle: physical, intense, and down to the wire. But if this team shows up, it won't even be close.
Jonathan Pollack is a College junior from Stamford, Conn., and is the Senior Sports Editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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