PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/2/2019 – The University of Pennsylvania clinched a berth in the Ivy League Tournament last night. The Quakers look to get the highest seed possible, with the top seed as the prize. That would require no stumbles. The Big Green of Dartmouth wanted to provide a stumble. Penn got by Dartmouth on Senior Day 56 – 52 at the Palestra.
“It was a grind, a typical Ivy League game,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “We got good defensive stops late. We found a way, and now they understand what it takes. For many parts of the game Dartmouth had us on our heels, but we responded well.”
The Quakers got offense from the front line as senior Princess Aghayere scored a game-high 22 points and Eleah Parker added 19 to lead the Red and Blue to the win. Senior Kristen Daley set a season-high with 5 points in her final Ivy League game at the Palestra. For most of the season the forwards supplied the offense, it manifested itself in this game.
The Quakers took the lead for the last time on a Katie Kinum three-pointer with 4:31 left. The advantage would stretch to 51 – 46 when Aghayere drained a three from the top of the key. The Big Green cut the gap to a single poins behind back to back baskets by Isalys Quinones, who had a team-high 13 points. Penn turned up the defense down the stretch. In the last minute and a half the defense forced a turnover, a shot clock violation and a stop. The Red and Blue needed it.
“It was tough in the beginning trying to get my shots to fall, but we found other ways to score,” said Parker. “Going after the rebounds so we could turn our defense into offense.”
Dartmouth falls into fifth place in the Ancient Eight, a game behind Yale for the last tournament berth. The final bracket will come down to the last game of the last weekend.
Penn remains tied with Princeton for the top spot with each having a 10 – 2 record. The Tigers have the first tiebreaker at this time, a 2 – 0 record over Harvard and there are two games on the regular season schedule. That could change.
“We’re just going to play,” said McLaughlin. “Last night we talked about it. We qualified for the tournament. We have one weekend to go. We’re going to go for it. Win, they know what that means and we are not going to hide from the fact and embrace it, but we’ll have to step up to the challenge.”
“We have two more games, so we have to tough it out,” Aghayere said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian