PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/4/2016 – The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball kept their share of the Ivy League lead beating the Big Green of Dartmouth 65 – 50 at the Palestra. Penn improves to 11 – 1 in the Ancient Eight and stays tied with Princeton for the top spot. While the season finale at Old Nassau looms large, the Red and Blue are staying focused on the task at hand, game by game.
“They get it, they understand there are two games left for the year,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “They understand the value of tomorrow in trying to get to Tuesday. I don’t want that to be what this is about. We want to keep in playing the same way, and enjoying the process.”
Princeton is also 11 – 1 defeating Harvard at home 79 – 69.
The Quakers showed great offensive balance as each member of the starting five scored in double figures, led by Michelle Nwokedi who posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. It was her 11th twin double in the last 13 games. Her front-court mate Sydney Stipanovich also had a double-double getting 10 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, the 27th in her career. Guard Lauren Whitlatch scored 14 points making 4 of 6 from three-point land. Anna Ross and Kasey Chambers added 12 and 10 points each. Each player contributing makes the team very effective.
“It makes it easier because no one puts pressure on themselves, and it makes it harder for other teams to guard us,” said Nwokedi. “They don’t know who is going to step up.”
“We all stepped up as a team and it was very successful.”
After a close game early, Penn erased an 18 – 17 deficit with a 16 – 0 run taking a 33 – 18 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Quakers took control behind a 14 – 4 run early in the third quarter taking a 49 – 30 lead. Keeping the Dartmouth offense limited in stretches was a key.
“We turned them over and ran out on those turnovers,” McLaughlin said. “That’s what this group needs to do, score more in transition. Our defense dictated our offense.”
Dartmouth committed 9 turnovers, as did Penn.
In the quarter Dartmouth was staying in contention until Whitlatch hit a three from well beyond the arc to give Penn a 45 – 30 lead. Chambers followed with a layup, the Red and Blue were in control.
Daisy Jordan led Dartmouth with 14 points and Kate Letkewicz had 10 points and a team-high 7 rebounds.
Next up is Ivy game number 13 against Harvard on Saturday, important because it is the next game on the schedule
“We are focused on tomorrow,” Nwokedi said. “Harvard is a really good team, so we know we have to be mentally sharp and not make little mistakes. We have to be on our A-Game.”
“Tuesday is coming, and hopefully we are in a position to do something,” said McLaughlin.
It will be Senior Night for Brooklyn Juday and Keiera Ray.
Written By: Glenn Papazian