PHILADELPHIA - Four Quakers scored in double figures as the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team opened up a 17-point first-half lead and then cruised to its third straight win, 71-53, over Dartmouth on Friday night at The Palestra.
The Quakers (11-5, 1-1 Ivy) won for the 11th time in the last 14 games and for the sixth straight time over the Big Green, who fell to 3-14 overall and 0-3 in league play. That sets up a Saturday night showdown at The Palestra with first-place Harvard (13-4, 3-0 Ivy), who won at Princeton on Friday to remain unbeaten in Ivy play.
Dartmouth jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the first five minutes. But the Quakers found a rhythm on both ends of the floor. Freshman Sydney Stipanovich, who has made three consecutive starts and has recorded a double-double in each of them, started a 15-0 run over the next seven minutes. Five different Quakers combined to score during the run and Penn defense held the Big Green scoreless for 8:15. Freshman Melanie Lockett's fastbreak layup put Penn up, 20-8, at the 8:42 mark.
The lead closed to 27-17 with 3:05 until the half, but junior guard Kathleen Roche knocked down her third three of the opening half and then sunk a pair of free throws. Moments later, senior captain Alyssa Baron stepped in front of a pass and went coast-to-coast for a 34-17 lead. The Quakers led 34-19 at the break.
It was a high-tempo start to the second half and both offenses gained momentum. Ultimately though, it was Baron who took advantage. She poured in 13 points within the first seven minutes.
When Dartmouth closed to within 42-30 at the 17:01 mark, Baron scored 10 of the next 12 for the Quakers and her three with 13:24 to play had Penn up, 54-35. That propelled a 20-6 run that all but put the game away by the midway point of the half as the Quakers led 60-39.
The lead grew to as many as 25, 66-41, after a pair of free throws from junior Renee Busch with 5:51 left. Dartmouth closed to within 66-51 with 2:50 to play, but Busch drained a three to silence any comeback and cap the scoring.
Inside the Numbers
Four Quakers scored in double figures for the second straight game. Stipanovich finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds to record her third straight double-double and fifth of the season. She also had two blocks as did Bonenberger, who added 10 points, six boards and four steals in 29 minutes. With 20 points, Baron was two rebounds shy of a double-double and also had a team-high five assists. Roche was 4-for-5 from three-point range and finished with 14 points. Senior captain Meghan McCullough added three assists to her league-leading total. Katy Allen added six points off the bench.
Penn finished with just 10 turnovers compared to 15 assists. The Quakers improved to 8-0 this year when shooting better than 40 percent at 26-of-59 (44.1%). Dartmouth was held under 30 percent from the field in the first half, but finished 22-of-58 (37.9%), including 8-of-19 (42.1%) from three - where Penn was 7-of-14 (50%).
- Penn also held the rebounding edge, 37-35, and has now won 21 of its last 22 games when outrebounding its opponent.
- Penn has scored more than 70 points in three straight games and had never before eclipsed 70 points in back-to-back games under head coach Mike McLaughlin.
-The Quakers are 14-1 all-time under McLaughlin when scoring more than 70 points (only loss was in double overtime at Harvard, 88-84 in 2011).
-This six-game winning streak over Dartmouth is the longest since an eight-game stretch from 2001-04.
Penn hosts Harvard (12-4, 2-0 Ivy) on Saturday at 7 p.m. FREE t-shirts to the first 100 kids and FREE pretzels to the first 50 students on Saturday. In addition, the Quakers will welcome their alumni back to The Palestra this weekend with the annual Red vs. Blue Alumni Game on Saturday. Last year, the Red team avenged a 2012 loss with a 63-50 victory.