It might not be the Big Dance, but it’s still one crazy party for Penn women’s basketball.
In a wild game of runs, the Red and Blue appeared to be cruising to an easy win early, but some hot shooting from Albany has turned an apparent blowout into a ballgame. The Quakers opened up with leads of 18-3 and then 25-9 in the first quarter, but the Great Danes have slowly chipped at the lead, entering the half facing only a 39-32 deficit.
Only seconds into the contest, Penn junior guard Lauren Whitlatch looked en route to destroying her career-high of six three-pointers, as the Quakers seemed to be ready for a blowout. As the Penn (21-8, 11-3 Ivy) offense tore apart Albany’s zone defense with ease, Whitlatch hit three treys in the first 90 seconds, helping the Quakers go up 9-1.
Whitlatch cooled down from there, missing her remaining six downtown attempts of the half, but Penn continued to make mincemeat of Albany (24-7, 12-4 America East), leading by as many as 16 with the help of an active press defense that forced 10 first-half turnovers.
Once the game looked like a reverse clone of last week’s Penn-Princeton blowout, however, the Great Danes made sure their season wouldn’t end without a fight. Albany had its own stretch of hot three-point shooting, hitting three shots from distance in the final 80 seconds of the first quarter — the last of which was a remarkable buzzer-beating shot off the backboard from senior guard Jessica Fequiere.
Ending the first quarter with such momentum, Albany continued its hot stretch from there, taking a 28-27 lead on what amounted to a 19-2 run between the two quarters. But the Quakers settled down from there, continuing to feed Nwokedi inside and ending the half on their own 12-4 run to go up 39-32 entering the break.
The winner of tonight’s matchup will go on to face St. John’s next week at a date to still be determined.
Follow along at @DailyPennSports on Twitter for updates through the remainder of the contest.