BOSTON, Mass. - With first-place in the Ivy League at stake, the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team rose to the occasion. The Quakers extended the program’s second-longest winning streak, ended Harvard’s 21-game home winning streak and won at Lavietes Pavilion for the first time in 10 years, 63-50, on Friday night.
Penn (17-5, 7-1 Ivy) leaped over Harvard (17-6, 7-2 Ivy) in the Ivy standings with its ninth straight win. Harvard’s only Ivy losses are to Penn, who swept the Crimson for the first time in 13 years. The Quakers are now tied atop the league with Princeton (16-6, 7-1 Ivy), who plays at Harvard on Saturday night while the Quakers are at Dartmouth.
Harvard was primed to tie a school record for consecutive home wins, but Penn pulled away late in the second half and became the first visitor to win in Boston in more than two years.
In a fast-paced start, both teams were at the top of their game. The lead changed hands four times in the first four minutes before Harvard scored five straight to go up 15-11.
The Crimson led 17-14 at the 13:43 mark, but Penn scored 12 straight behind some hot shooting from senior captain Alyssa Baron, who scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the first half. Baron had seven points in the first big run of the game and the Quakers led 26-17 with 8:18 left in the half.
The lead remained at nine after another Baron bucket with 4:55 left, but Harvard scored six of the last seven to get within 31-27 at the break.
There was a completely different pace to the second half. Penn’s defense, which ranked fourth in the nation entering the game, held Harvard to just two field goals over the first seven minutes.
In that time, the Red and Blue slowly built their advantage into double digits behind their frontcourt duo of Sydney Stipanovich and Kara Bonenberger, who both finished with double-doubles. Over an 11-minute span, they accounted for 17 of Penn’s 19 points.
The lead was only 34-29 at the 16:29 mark, but with the combination of defense, Stipanovich and Bonenberger, the Quakers gained a 43-32 lead with 11:39 remaining.
A three-point play got Harvard within eight, but the defenses dominated the next five minutes as each team managed just a pair of buckets. Eventually, Harvard closed its deficit to 47-41 with 6:55 to play and the home crowd was on its feet.
However, Stipanovich and Bonenberger tipped the game into Penn’s favor for good with the game’s next six points. That gave Penn a commanding 53-41 advantage with 4:53 to go.
Baron iced the game with a three from the wing just in front of Penn’s bench. It put Penn back up 12, 58-46 with 1:35 to play.
Inside the Numbers
Bonenberger’s third double-double of the season came with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Stipanovich became the first Quaker since Jennifer Fleischer in 2004-05 to record seven double-doubles in a season. The freshman had 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in addition to a pair of blocks .
Baron became the third Quaker and 11th Ivy Leaguer to eclipse 1,700 career points and now has 1,710. She also added six rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists.
Senior captain Meghan McCullough, who landed from a job interview in North Carolina just four hours prior to tip off, had eight points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and had no turnovers in 39 minutes. Junior Kathleen Roche added seven points and four boards. Senior captain Courtney Wilson contributed three rebounds and two blocks off the bench.
Penn was 23-of-68 (33.8%) from the field and 6-of-20 (30.0%) from three. Harvard was held to 20-of-65 (30.8%) shooting and 2-of-19 (10.5%) from three.
Harvard is second in the Ivy League in scoring (73.1 ppg), field goal percentage (43.6%) and three-point percentage (36.3%). In two wins over the Crimson, the Quakers held Harvard 33-of-136 (24.3%) overall, 7-of-47 (14.9%) from three and 44.0 points per game.
The Crimson won the rebounding battle, 51-47. But Penn forced 21 turnovers and had just 11 miscues of its own.
- The Quakers have won 17 of their last 20 games.
- Penn's 17 wins are tied for fourth-most in a season in school history.
- Penn has won 17 games in back-to-back seasons for just the second time (1999-00 and 2000-01).
- Penn's 35 wins over the last two seasons is the most in a two-year span for the program since a school record 40 wins between 1999-00 (18-10) and 2000-01 (22-6).
- This is Penn's second eight-game winning streak this season. Prior to this year, the only win streak of eight or more games was the school record of 21 set in 2000-01.
Penn returns to the floor in less than 24 hours. The Quakers will be in Hanover, N.H., to take on Dartmouth at Leede Arena. Tip off is set for 7 p.m., and the game can once again be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Fan Tweet of the Game