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February Total: 11
Season Total: 33
PHILADELPHIA - Behind four players in double figures, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team extended its winning streak to five games with another decisive victory, 66-48, over Columbia on Saturday night at The Palestra.
Penn (14-9, 7-2 Ivy) eclipsed its overall and Ivy win total from a season ago. For the first time in school history, the Quakers have improved their win total in three straight seasons. Penn's seven Ivy wins are the most in six years and its 14 overall wins are the most since the 2004-05 team won 15 games.
The Quakers are in the midst of their first five-game winning streak since 2004-05 and their first five-game Ivy League winning streak since the 2003-04 title team pulled off the feat.
Junior captain Alyssa Baron had a complete night with 21 points (9-of-11), nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Sophomore Kara Bonenberger (13), freshman Keiera Ray (12) and sophomore Kathleen Roche (12) were also in double figures for the Quakers as they coasted to their seventh win in the last eight games.
The game mirrored the first meeting between these teams. Columbia (3-20, 1-8 Ivy) started strong and Penn weathered the storm before pulling away with a dominant second half.
The Quakers were up 8-3 after Roche hit the first of her four threes on the night, but the Lions scored 10 of the next 12 and led 13-10 at the 13:53 mark of the opening half.
The Lions led by as many as five, 17-12, which was Penn's largest deficit during this current win streak. But Baron hit back-to-back threes and the Quakers were quickly back in front, 18-17.
Columbia led 25-23 with 5:10 left in the half. But that's when Penn took over. Over the next 20 minutes, the Quakers outscored the Lions, 42-11.
Penn finished the half on a 12-4 run - capped by a pair of free throws from junior Kristen Kody - and took a 35-27 lead into the break.
To start the second half, the Quakers slowly built an 11-point lead, 44-33, at the 16:41 mark. Then put the game out of reach with a 21-3 run. The Red and Blue scored 16 of 17 points for a 60-34 lead with 8:51 remaining and then cleared the bench after Allen sunk a three for a 65-36 advantage with 6:27 to play.
Allen added six rebounds to go along with five points. Bonenberger and junior Courtney Wilson each had three blocks for the Quakers. Kody also added three rebounds and a block in 12 minutes off the bench.
For the game, the Quakers were 23-of-53 (43.4%) from the floor, including 9-of-21 (42.9%) from three. It was Penn's third straight game with at least eight threes. Columbia was 19-of-54 (35.2%). They made five of their 10 three-point attempts in the first half, but missed all seven second-half attempts. Penn had just 12 turnovers and forced 13. The Quakers also held the slight edge in rebounding, 33-31.
The Quakers also welcomed back a plethora of alumni to The Palestra on Saturday night. Prior to Penn's fourth straight win over Columbia, the team hosted its annual Red vs. Blue Alumni Game. The Red team avenged a loss from last season with a 63-50 victory.
In 2009-10 the Quakers won just two games, but they have improved each season under head coach Mike McLaughlin. Penn registered a nine-win improvement in 2010-11 with 11 wins - the largest single-season turnaround in school history. Last season, Penn passed that mark with 13 wins.
Next up is the final road trip of the year for the Quakers. It is also the league’s longest trip. Penn buses to Hanover, N.H., to take on Dartmouth on Friday at 7 p.m. The following night, the Quakers will be in Cambridge, Mass., for a 6 p.m. rematch with third-place Harvard.