Coming into their game against Dartmouth, things were not looking good for Penn women’s basketball. They came into the game on a four-game losing streak, including two against Ivy opponents Princeton and Harvard. Following the tough loss to the Crimson that dropped them to 0-2 in the Ivy League, the Quakers had to travel to Dartmouth and play less than 24 hours later.
With a four game losing skid ending with a flat performance at Harvard, the Quakers could have easily let their disappointing play linger in their next game. However, Penn decided to rewrite the narrative from their last game and dominated the Big Green.
The last 48 hours have shown a lot about this Penn team. The Quakers have proved that they have grit.
Even in their loss against Harvard, the Quakers showed grit. The final 58-51 score against Harvard makes the game seem closer than it was. Penn scored only two points in the second quarter, digging themselves a deficit they were unable to climb out of. But the Quakers still toughed it out and played until the final buzzer. The Quakers were down by as many as 23 points late in the third quarter, but were able to go on several runs to cut the lead down to as little as five points in the fourth quarter.
The Red and Blue didn’t let the large deficit deter them. Instead, they played hard. Their mental toughness and grit from the Harvard game allowed them to come out and play with confidence against Dartmouth. The Quakers shot out to a 21-10 lead in the first quarter before putting the game out of reach at the half with a 44-14 score.
The Red and Blue’s season has been highlighted by a lot of lopsided victories, thanks to their defensive dominance against opponents. Coming into their game against Dartmouth, the Quakers’ 53.7 opponent scoring average was 11th in the nation and second in the Ivy League behind Princeton. Penn has been able to be aggressive on defense and keep their opponents from getting into a rhythm all season. On Saturday, the Quakers grabbed 26 defensive rebounds, limiting the Big Green to only seven second chance points.
Penn's defensive pressure and presence in the paint kept Dartmouth from building any type of steady offense. Meanwhile, the Quakers’ own offense flourished, putting a win out of reach for the Big Green.
While the Red and Blue have shown a lot of toughness up to this point, they’re going to need a lot more of it with only Ivy League games remaining this season. They’re going to need junior center Eleah Parker’s offensive and defensive presence to block shots and grab rebounds. They’re also going to need freshman guard Kayla Padilla to build on her dominant rookie season and to continue putting up double figures.
So far Princeton and Yale lead the Ivy League with three Ivy wins each, while Penn sits in sixth. But luckily for the Quakers, it is still very early in the Ivy season, and they have all of February to work their way to the top.
Hopefully, the team’s first Ivy win will allow the Quakers to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to being the team they were in the opening weeks of the season.
TYIRA BUNCHE is a College junior from New York and a Senior Sports Associate for The Daily Pennsylvanian. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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