NEW HAVEN, CONN. — Penn women’s basketball turned in its most complete performance of the season in their first postseason game of the year. You don’t need me to tell you that’s a good sign.
What was remarkable was the way they went about doing it. After playing three overtimes in two games — and losing one of them — the Quakers blew Harvard out of the water completely. Their lead increased with each passing quarter. The game was over about halfway through the third quarter.
Offensively, just about everything went right. The Quakers scored more points than they have all season, even more than they did against Division III Haverford. They shot more than 54 percent from the floor, 35 percent from beyond the arc, and 79 percent from the line. Any team that shoots that well is going to win games.
Defensively, Penn limited the Crimson to a 28.6 shooting percentage, and drew 26 fouls.
They won by almost 30. Any number you look at will be impressive.
Penn handled Harvard the same way Sunday’s foe Princeton handled a much worse Cornell team. Unfortunately, Saturday's games don't matter on Sunday.
Which brings me to the Tigers. They should be a little afraid when they see this box score.
It’s a story we all should know by now: Penn versus Princeton for the Ivy League title. The two heavyweights have dominated the conference seemingly forever — and the two co-champions will play again one more time for the NCAA bid for the third straight year.
These two teams split the regular season matchups — with each team winning on the others’ home court. Now, on a neutral site, they’ll play one more game to keep their season alive.
Needless to say, if Penn plays like this, they’ll win on Sunday — it might not even be particularly close. Another obvious statement: Princeton is a much better team than Harvard.
These two teams are as evenly matched as ever. Princeton was the preseason favorite, but Penn has shown throughout the course of the season — and tonight — that it’s a better team than advertised. When Penn plays their A-game they can be unstoppable. Princeton is the same way; as far as I’m concerned, this game is a coin flip.
It will come down to the same factors as always. Can Penn make enough threes to relieve some pressure from its forwards? Can the Quakers offense move the ball cleanly and effectively against Princeton’s swarming defense? Will Penn be able to stop Princeton's two-time Ivy Player of the Year Bella Alarie? And if so, will her teammates pick up the slack?
Both games this season were won by the side that played the more complete team game. In title games, grit and toughness are often enough to push a team over the top. Based on this game, Penn has proven they have it. Do they have more than Princeton? No idea.
If you played this matchup 10 times, Penn and Princeton might each win five.
Who will win it this time? Flip a coin.
THEODOROS PAPAZEKOS is a College junior from Pittsburgh and Senior Sports Editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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