Penn Downs the Columbia Lions 71 – 67 in an Ivy League Thriller

The Quakers Winning Streak Reaches Nine Games


For many years the Ivy League women’s basketball standings the top spot would come down to the University of Pennsylvania or Princeton University. Recently another team has come along to claim a spot in the upper echelon of the league, the Columbia Lions. Last night Columbia defeated Princeton in overtime for their tenth consecutive win. They were looking to sweep an Ivy weekend Jersey / Philly road trip for the first time since February 2008. The Red and Blue downed the Big Red of Cornell to set up an important early season game in the Ancient Eight. And it lived up to expectations. Penn defeats Columbia in a game that Lions Coach Megan Griffith summarized as “Wow.”

The Penn winning streak is at nine, and snaps the Columbia ten-game streak.

“A great college basketball game, the best venue to do it and it was exciting,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “It was a little bit of everything, ebbs and flows.”

Jordan Obi scored a game-high 24 points and took down 13 rebounds for her second consecutive double-double and third of the season. She made 9 of 13 free throws in the game, and an important 6 of 9 in the final ten minutes. Kayla Padilla added 21 points.

For Columbia Kaitlyn Davis and Paige Lauder got a team-high 14 points. Davis grabbed 12 rebounds. Abbey Hsu contributed 12 points.

“I think we made them feel comfortable in their home gym, that’s a very hard thing to do with any team,” said Griffith. “I think we were a little lackadaisical tonight.”

Back and Forth Battle That Came Down to the Final Minutes

There were 8 lead changes and 3 ties.

Columbia got out to a 49 – 39 lead, their largest, at the 6:18 mark of the third quarter. Penn began a comeback that would eventually put them ahead. The teams alternated having a lead that the Quakers took into the fourth quarter on a steal and layup by Padilla. It marked a turning point the Red and Blue needed.

“A big turning point,” Padilla emphasized. “Basketball is a game of runs. So as short as we can keep theirs and start ours, I think it’s always our mentality. It was a total game changer.”

The fourth quarter saw six lead changes. Midway through the final ten minutes the Lions appeared to be in control with a 67 – 63 lead on back-to-back three-pointers by Lauder and a jumper by Jaida Patrick with 3:43 to play. That would be the Lions last points.

Penn finished the last 1:56 with a 8 – 0 run keyed by a traditional three-point play by Padilla, cutting the deficit to 67 – 66, and four Obi free throws to seal the deal.

Over the last two minutes the gap would be one-point as each team battled for go ahead. Obi sank two from the charity stripe with just under a minute to play giving Penn a 68 – 67. Both teams fought as time clock would down. The Lions looked for the go-ahead basket. The ball would up in the hands of guard Kitty Henderson who took it to the basket. Penn forward Floor Toonders turned in the defensive play of the game with a block.

“I feel like our defensive game was really good,” said Toonders. “We were guarding the arc really well. I focused really well on staying inside of the paint guarding the basket. I was able to step up and block a shot. I was really happy about that. But I think it’s also because the guards run the players off the line so they had to take hard shots.”

So Many Turning Points

It would be difficult to pick out which play or sequence decided the outcome.

Griffith felt the difference was fouls in the fourth. Penn went to the line 14 times and made 8. Columbia did not get to the charity stripe in the quarter.

“Fouling,” simply said by Griffith. “We fouled them about a gazillion times not for a sequence, for the whole quarter.”

Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin felt it was the work on the boards and the effort of Jordan Obi.

“That’s what makes Jordan special,” said McLaughlin. “She was battling against the size and athleticism. She was hitting almost eighty minutes for the weekend. And she didn’t have a whole lot left to give. She was really special tonight.”

The Ivy League Standings

Penn is on top with a 3 – 0 record. Harvard and Yale are tied for second at 2 – 1 along with Columbia. Princeton, Brown, and Cornell stand at 1 – 2. Dartmouth is 0 – 3. There is plenty of basketball to be played.

What ultimately matters is the four qualifiers for Ivy Madness in March. It will be a wild ride to the finish.

For the Red and Blue, take some time to enjoy as the streak rolls on, the second longest in program history.

“They just feel good about what they’re doing, and I want to stay out of the way when they’re rolling because I want them to enjoy this,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a challenge for them every day to do this. and they need to celebrate the wins because winning is not an easy thing to do. They’re in there celebrating because they deserve it.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Kayla Padilla With a Jumper

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