Penn women’s basketball has been dominant all year. Now the Red and Blue have an Ivy League title to show for it.
The Quakers came into Saturday's game controlling their own destiny, knowing that they would win at least a share of the title with a win. Coming off a victory against Yale on Friday night, the Quakers travelled up to Providence, R.I. to battle Brown, whom they beat by 40 points last month. Even though they were facing the team at the bottom of the Ivy standings, the Quakers didn’t let up and defeated Brown handily, 75-53.
The Quakers will be the No. 2 seed in the Ivy Tournament, and will battle No. 3 Harvard for a spot in the championship. The title was their fourth in six years.
In the first half, Penn (22-5, 12-2 Ivy) was extremely efficient shooting the ball, shooting 50 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from behind the arc. The opposite was true for Brown (9-21, 1-13) as they shot just 23.5 percent from the field.
Sophomore center Eleah Parker was the star against Yale, and junior guard Phoebe Sterba was one of the key players this time around. She showed her offensive prowess early from behind the arc, with all 12 of her first-half points coming from distance.
Sterba would finish the game with a career-high 23 points, with 21 points courtesy of her season-high seven treys.
“[Phoebe] spread the floor and made some big shots at the right time, she ran the floor hard, she was in the right spots to have the ball skip to her, and she knocked them down,” coach Mike McLaughlin said.
Although the Quakers shined with the deep ball, they also were dominant inside the paint, where they outscored the Bears 18-8 in the first half. This edge would continue throughout the game, as Parker had another productive night and finished with 26 points and eight rebounds to her name.
“Eleah was dominant again, she has just taken her game to another level,” McLaughlin said. “She just wanted the ball down low and was just determined to carry us at times.”
A positive improvement for the Red and Blue was that they were able to stay out of foul trouble. With only seven team fouls in the game, McLaughlin wasn't forced to pull any of his key players, unlike Friday night.
The game was pretty much in hand for the Quakers in the third quarter as they built their lead as large as 22 points. With the game under wraps, Penn was able to sit some of their starters and take some time off the clock.
After the clock ticked down to zero, the Quakers were all smiles and hugs as they waved their Ivy League title banner and celebrated with one another.
“It was awesome. I think it was just a feeling that you get throughout the entire bench, everyone was just really excited and I think that we just knew all of our hard work paid off,” Sterba said. “It was just that final moment and I think all this relief all of a sudden."
“It’s an amazing accomplishment. It’s been an unbelievable journey with this group, they’ve progressed so much from the beginning of the year to where we sit today,” McLaughlin agreed. “It’s the culmination of a lot of effort. It’s that pinnacle, you finally get what you set out to get.”
By halftime in Providence, Princeton had already won its game against Yale, clinching a share of the Ivy League title and the top seed in the Ivy League tournament, where the season continues next weekend.