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Women's basketball cheers on their teammates during the game against Columbia on Jan. 7. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

While not many would think that a game where the victor extended its win streak from eight to nine an upset, Penn women’s basketball’s win over Columbia certainly counts as one. When the team entered the Palestra on an early January Saturday night, the Lions were 13-2 and had just defeated Princeton, the team that would ultimately go on to win the Ivy League Championship. The Quakers swiftly halted the Lions' momentum, though, defended home court and emerged with a 71-67 victory. 

But it wasn’t an easy win for the Quakers, who trailed for over 30 minutes, including much of the fourth quarter. Early on in the game, the Red and Blue miscues hurt the team, as Columbia scored 11 points off turnovers in the first quarter alone. However, shooting kept the Quakers in the game, as they shot 54% from the field, including 4-10 from long range in the first half. 

The second half was a game of runs, with Columbia jumping out to a lead but Penn regaining an advantage with a 13-3 run to end the third quarter. But the Lions remained pesky, and led by four with three minutes left to play. It was now, though, with the pressure at its highest, that the Quakers’ stars — especially senior guard Kayla Padilla and junior forward Jordan Obi — shone the brightest, hitting clutch shots and making their free throws. 

Despite the offensive production from these two, it was Penn’s defense that sealed the victory as the Quakers got the clutch rebounds, finished the game on an 8-0 run, and held Columbia to just 2-15 shooting to end the game. Regardless of how their seasons ended, on that night, the Quakers emerged from the Palestra victorious.

Read about the rest of DP Sports' End of the Year Awards for the 2022-23 season here.