The Bulldogs Made the Plays Late in 74 – 68 Win
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/3/2024 –
The University of Pennsylvania missed a chance to sweep an Ivy League weekend at home, that would have helped to solidify their spot in the standings. A back and forth game in which the Quakers had a five-point lead with just under two minutes remaining in regulation. In the last possession of the first forty minutes, a scramble by Yale saw the ball get to guard Klara Astrom. She let the ball go at the buzzer, it found nothing but net to send the game into overtime.
“We had our opportunity,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “She had a hack of a shot at the end of regulation there, thought we defended it really well, a loose ball situation.”
In overtime it was the Quakers who fought from behind and got to within one at 69 – 68 on a layup by Stina Almqvist as 38 seconds showed on the clock. The Eli took a 71 – 68 lead with a half minute to play, then iced the game late on a steal by Nyla McGill and a fast break three-point play by Brenna McDonald.
Yale had their second Ivy League win of the season. A tough loss for Penn.
Emotions Going Into Overtime
A victory was within reach. But the Astrom three-pointer sent the teams to be bench to strategize. The Quakers felt good about going into an extra period, and took the lead on two free throws by Jordan Obi. But they only got three more points the rest of the way.
“Anytime something like that happens, at first a little frustrating, but I think our team did a good job of staying together,” said Penn guard Lizzy Groetsch.
Another Fast Start for the Red and Blue
The Quakers started well taking a 22 – 13 lead after one quarter. But they could not sustain that as the Bulldogs pulled to within 35 – 33 at halftime. Penn did not sustain that start.
“I think at times, like the energy on defense,” Groetsch said. “They got a lot of offensive boards. Then sometimes playing together on offense, just flowing the ball.”
The pace of the slowed considerably as Penn committed 7 fouls in the second quarter. For the game Penn fouled 21 times, Yale had 16. But the whistles on both sides made for choppy play and did not allow a consistent flow.
The Energy Returned for Penn in the Fourth Quarter
Trailing by two after three quarters the Red and Blue scored the first seven points of the stanza and led by 54 – 49. Penn did sustain that and a Mataya Gayle three-pointer at 1:56 put Penn in front 63 – 58.
Both teams had opportunities, but neither cashed in. The foul line was a perfect example as Yale made 3 of 10 from one second in the third quarter to the end of regulation. Bulldogs point guard Jenna Clark, a 78% free throw shooter was good on only 2 of 8 in that stretch.
In the overtime Penn only converted 1 of 10 field goals. The basket from Almqvist came with 38 seconds remaining.
“I don’t think we got into our actions,” McLaughlin said. “Sometimes the ball got stuck.”
What the Numbers Say
Almqvist led the Red and Blue with 20 points. She played in front of her family who made the trip from Sweden for the games. Obi contributed 17 points, while Gayle counted 18.
Yale was headed by Clark who scored a game-high 25 points and 9 assists. McDonald scored 19 points and took down 10 rebounds. McGill had 13 rebounds and 10 points.
Penn hosts league leading Princeton next weekend. Then will go to Brown and Yale for the Ivy Weekend return trip.
The Quakers are 3 – 4 in the Ancient Eight and remain a game behind Brown for fourth place. We are only halfway through the Ivy schedule. Lots of basketball to be played.
“We had a good weekend other than tonight’s resolve,” said McLaughlin. “I thought we were growing as a group last night. This is a really difficult one. I’m not going to hide. This is a tough one for that unit in there. And it’s a tough one for us as a coaching staff. It’s part of the game. They have to stand up, do what we do, and get back at it.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian