HANOVER, N.H. - A wild, back-and-forth finish ended when Penn's buzzer-beating attempt sailed wide right and the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team fell at Dartmouth on Saturday night, 53-50.
The loss snaps the second-longest winning streak in school history and drops the Quakers out of first place in the Ivy League. With its first loss in the last 10 games and just the fourth loss in the last 21 games, Penn is now 17-6 overall and 7-2 in the Ivy League. That is one game behind Princeton (17-6, 8-1 Ivy) for the league lead.
The lead changed hands just twice on the night -- both in the final minute of play.
Penn trailed by two with freshman Sydney Stipanovich at the free throw line and just 46 seconds remaining. She made the first, but missed the second. On the rebound, the ball bounced around before junior Katy Allen scooped it up and found herself wide open underneath the basket. She converted the layup and Penn had its first lead of the game, 50-49, with 43 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Dartmouth regained the lead with a driving lay-in with 21.7 seconds to play. Penn turned it over and the Big Green converted a lay-up. But the Quakers had one last chance to tie.
The ball was inbounded at midcourt with 3.2 seconds left. Senior captain Alyssa Baron took the ball to the top of the key and attempted a leaning three that went wide right and handed Penn its first loss to Dartmouth in three years.
It was an ominous start. The Quakers went the first seven minutes without a field goal. Dartmouth took a 12-3 lead before senior captain Meghan McCullough ended the drought with a three.
But Penn continued to struggle to find the bottom of the net. The Big Green pulled further ahead over the next seven minutes and led 22-11 with 6:42 to play in the half.
It was still an 11-point deficit before senior captain Courtney Wilson hit a pair of free throws to close the gap to 26-17 at the break.
Dartmouth led 29-18 at the 18:56 mark before the Quakers strung a few buckets together and held the Big Green in check. The hosts went four minutes without a point and Stipanovich hit a deep jumper, McCullough finished off a breakaway layup and Baron connected on a pair of free throws to bring Penn within 29-24 with 14:49 to play.
However, one minute later, Dartmouth had its largest lead, 36-24, with 13:20 to play.
Penn refused to let it slip away. The Quakers scored five straight points, including a layup from sophomore Keiera Ray, who returned after missing the previous nine games with an injury. Then after a Dartmouth bucket, Penn added six more and the 11-2 run had the Quakers within 38-37 with 6:16 to play.
Again, Dartmouth (4-20, 1-9 Ivy) responded. A quick 6-2 run gave the Big Green a five-point lead with 4:34 left. But junior Kara Bonenberger hit a turnaround jumper and then Stipanovich, who finished with her eighth double-double of the season, connected on another jumper and Penn trailed by just one again, 44-43 with 2:15 left.
Dartmouth hit two free throws and Stipanovich responded with one. The Big Green then connected on a running floater in the lane to go up four, 48-44, at the 1:12 mark.
On Penn’s ensuing possession, Renee Busch hit a three from the wing just in front of Penn’s bench to close the gap back to one once again. And after Dartmouth made just one of two free throws, it set up Stipanovich’s free throws and Allen’s near game-winner.
Inside the Numbers
Baron led the Quakers with 12 points and added five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Stipanovich finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in 39 minutes. Allen led all bench players with seven points, while Busch finished with six points and four rebounds.
Penn made just 22 percent of its shots in the first half and 34.0 percent overall (17-of-50). The Quakers were 4-of-20 (20.0%) from three and 12-of-18 (66.7%) from the free throw line.
Dartmouth outscored Penn, 30-10, in the paint and won the rebounding battle, 36-32. The Big Green were 21-of-52 (40.4%) overall and 2-of-8 (25.0%) from three.They were 9-of-111 (81.8%) from the charity stripe.
The four-game road swing continues. Penn will make its second trip through New England in as many weeks. The Red and Blue are at Brown (Feb. 28) and Yale (March 1).