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Junior guard Sydnei Caldwell fights for possession of the ball during the first half of the game against Cornell on Feb. 5 at the Palestra. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Women’s basketball fell to the Yale Bulldogs in a 68-58 home loss. The team fought from behind through the entire game after falling behind 26-11 in the first quarter and, despite solid defensive pressure and offensive surges afterward, were never able to retake the lead. Sophomore forward Jordan Obi and junior guard Kayla Padilla led the team with 16 and 15 points, respectively, while senior forward Kennedy Suttle put up nine points and eight rebounds.

The first quarter started slow for the Quakers, who were outscored 17-2 in the opening five minutes. While scores and assists from Padilla and junior guard Sydnei Caldwell were able to establish some momentum — including a tough and-one layup from Suttle — a combined 14 points from Yale players Jenna Clark and Camilla Emsbo led the Bulldogs to a 15-point lead to finish off the first quarter. The Red and Blue shot 5-for-16 from the field and 0-for-4 from the three in the first ten minutes. The Bulldogs went 10-for-16 from the field and scored 26 in the same period.

“I just didn’t think we came out of the gate really good,” head coach Mike McLaughlin stated about the first minutes of the game. “When you’re immediately down 15 to two on your home floor, it’s a tough hill to climb.”

Yale’s lead expanded to 20 early in the second period, but the Quakers overcame their rough start and closed their deficit to five by halftime, scoring 21 and ending the quarter with an 11-point run. Padilla, who scored 11 and shot 4-for-8 in the first half, led the charge. The team’s shooting improved from 31% in the first period to 50% in the second.

“I thought we gained the flow of the game back,” McLaughlin said about the second quarter. “The pressure on the ball did a really good job, it got us flowing.”

Penn opened the second half with a layup from Obi off of a sharp assist from Suttle. After the Red and Blue closed their gap to one point, the Bulldogs answered with nine unanswered points, coming on three shots from downtown. After those shots, the Quakers’ scoring struggles came back, and the team only put up ten points in the period.

The offensive momentum initially reached a drought in the final period, with Penn scoring no points until a pair of Obi free throws five minutes into the quarter. The points started a run of 11 that would bring Yale’s lead down to eight. Despite the late energy, Penn had only a minute left and couldn’t bring the deficit back, ending the game with a ten-point loss. Yale’s four double-digit scorers led the Bulldogs to a victory that brought their record to 14-9.

“We need to just leave this one here and hopefully get our win tomorrow,” McLaughlin said. “This one hurt a little bit, and I think they understand it… we just had far too many breakdowns.”

Penn's record falls to 9-13 (4-6 Ivy) with another home game against Brown (6-17, 1-10 Ivy) on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m.