PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/12/2013 – The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team has taken steps forward this season. Against the Princeton Tigers they tried to take a major step forward. The Quakers took a 36 – 35 lead over the Ivy League champions with just over 9 minutes to play. It seemed to bring out the best in the Tigers who responded with a 19 – 2 run over the next five minutes to end the upset bid by the Red and Blue 60 – 46 in the Ivy League finale for Penn (16 – 12, 9 -5). Penn Coach Mike Mc Laughlin sees progress being made.
“We can start to see the top, we’re certainly not there, but we can see the top and that is ultimately where we want to go,” McLaughlin said. “This is a process that takes a little bit of time, takes a lot of effort, and takes a lot of commitment. We certainly have done that. I can say we can see it now, and that’s great progress for them.”
The start of the game was like many games before in the recent series. Penn fell behind by a score of 22 – 4 at the 8:42 mark. The Quakers did not fold. The Red and Blue cut the lead to 30 – 20 at halftime. Penn scored 9 of the first 12 second half points to take a 34 – 33 lead on a layup by sophomore forward Kara Bonenberger at the 10:26 mark. After a Princeton layup by Alex Wheatley, Penn answered with a layup by freshman guard Keiera Ray to take their last lead of the game. The Quakers showed resiliency.”We’re always fighting,” said Penn junior guard Alyssa Baron who scored a game-high 16 points and added 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. “We’ve dug holes for ourselves and always found a way to get out of them. We showed that today and in past games. If we do get down, we are going to fight and comeback.”
Princeton started the decisive run of the game with a three-pointer by forward Kate Miller that gave the lead back to the Tigers. Guards Blake Dietrick and Niveen Rasheed scored the next 11 points to give the victory to Princeton. Rasheed scored 13 points and Dietrick added 11.
“They’re (Princeton) such a good defensive team that makes you go one-on-one and late in the shot clock,” McLaughlin said.
Princeton center Megan Bowen had a double-double with 10 and 10 for the 22 – 6, 13 – 1 Tigers. Ray was the only other Penn player in double figures with 10 points.
Penn has shown growth in all areas the team needs. They are climbing back and closing the gap on Princeton.
“It shows how much we have improved as a team,” Baron said. “We have accomplished a lot this season, and that showed in this game.”
It was Senior Day as Katie Davis and Brianna Bradford who played their last regular season game for Penn. They are members of the only class in program history to increase their win total every year of their career. It may not be the final game of their career as Penn is on the bubble for two post-season tournaments, the WNIT and the WBI. The Red and Blue will find if they will receive a bid after the Selection Monday announcements.
Written By: Glenn Papazian