The Red and Blue made career win No. 600 for coach Mike McLaughlin a night to remember, proving once again they are a forced to be reckoned with in the Ivy League.
Penn women's basketball traveled to Providence, R.I. on Friday night to take on Brown. Dominant from start to finish, the Quakers won, 85-73, for their fourth consecutive conference victory.
It was the familiar contributors who powered the Quakers (14-5, 4-2 Ivy) on offense. Junior center Eleah Parker had another monster performance with 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting — her sixth double-digit output in the last seven games — and also added 17 rebounds and four blocks.
After a quiet game last week against Cornell, freshman guard Kayla Padilla bounced back to score 18 points for the Red and Blue, and sophomore forward Kennedy Suttle notched 13 points off the bench.
Of all those starring for Penn, there’s no question that Parker was instrumental in securing the ultimate result.
“I think that the big thing tonight was that Eleah Parker was dominant," McLaughlin said. "When we needed a good offensive position or a basket we had someone to go to. That’s how dominant she was. She played like a top couple of players in our league tonight.”
The dominant duo of Parker and Padilla didn't take long to get going on Friday night. The pair combined for 15 of Penn's 22 points in the first quarter, including a run of nine straight from the rookie alone.
Through the entire game, Brown (7-13, 1-6) was left to chase Penn’s lead, although they kept it close for some time. After the first quarter, the Bears hung in and only trailed 22-19. When the home side opened the second with a 9-0 run to steal the lead, the Quakers relied on Parker once again to lift them out of the six-point rut. Senior guard Phoebe Sterba also came to the team’s rescue, nailing a three-pointer from the wing to see Penn into a 44-35 halftime advantage.
The game remained tense as Brown crept back a run to open the third quarter, making it as close as 46-44. It looked as though the Red and Blue might surrender the lead again until Parker and senior guard Kendall Grasela combined for an offensive burst to stretch the lead to 63-57 at the end of the third.
Once again, Brown wouldn't be shaken so easily, cutting the lead to one before Penn pulled away for good behind Parker and Padilla. Although Brown had two offensive weapons in Justine Gaziano and McKenna Dale, the Bears ran out of steam by the end and could not keep up, falling by a final score of 85-73.
Racking up another career milestone on Friday, McLaughlin says he’s proud of the team’s performance and is looking forward to another challenging weekend of consecutive Ivy games.
“We really did play well as a group," McLaughlin said. "There were periods of the game where we looked really good on the offensive side. There were a lot of flows in the game, a lot of runs. I was really proud, it was good to get a road win.”
“I think the whole group is reliable. Kennedy Suttle really played her best game in a while and I thought Kendall was very good again, but tomorrow it could be someone else," he added. "It’s a new game, a new team, we’ll be back at it with the same five to start and we’ll do it again.”
Fresh off the court and already chasing down its next Ivy League win, the team is continuing on to New Haven, Conn. for its Saturday matchup with Yale.