NEW YORK, N.Y. - Senior Alyssa Baron scored 25 points to lead the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to a hard-fought, Ivy League road win, 70-63, over Columbia on Saturday night at Levien Gymnasium.
Penn won its sixth straight game and for the 14th time in the last 17 games. The Quakers improved to 14-5 overall and are off to their first 4-1 start in league play since 2003-04.
It was a great atmosphere with a large, rowdy and pink-wearing crowd on hand for Columbia's Play 4Kay game. But the Quakers tamed the fans at the start with some hot shooting out of the gate.
Penn made seven of its first nine shots, including two threes from junior Kathleen Roche and led by as many as 11, 24-13, with 7:54 left in the half.
The Lions, who wore pink uniforms and pink sneakers for the occasion, trailed by 10 with 5:11 before intermission, but went on a 10-3 run in that span and closed the gap to three, 33-30, at the break.
Columbia (4-16, 1-5 Ivy) opened the second half with four of the first five points to tie the game, 34-34, with 18:31 to play. However, that's when junior forward Kara Bonenberger, who finished one rebound shy of a double-double, ended Penn's extended scoring slump with back-to-back buckets. That sparked a 10-1 run. Junior Katy Allen capped that stretch with a strong bucket underneath and Penn led, 44-35, with 14:40 to play.
The teams traded baskets for the next seven minutes until the Quakers went up 12, 54-42 at the 7:57 mark. Then the Lions scored seven of the next eight to close within six, 55-49 with 5:59 to go.
A few minutes later it was a four-point game, 57-53, with 3:44 left. But Baron scored four straight and put Penn up 61-53 with 2:45 remaining. Then with 1:14 to play, Allen pulled down an offensive rebound and the putback gave the Quakers an eight-point edge. Columbia had to foul from then on and Penn put it away with 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line, including 5-of-6 from senior captain Meghan McCullough.
Inside the Numbers
Penn finished 21-of-43 (48.8%) from the field and was 4-of-6 (66.7%) from three. Columbia was 22-of-50 (44.0%) and 2-of-6 (33.3%) from beyond the arc. The Quakers got to the line 38 times, but made just 24 (63.2%). The Lions held a slight rebounding edge, 32-30.
Baron, who had 28 points in Friday night's win, moved into 16th-place on the Ivy League's all-time scoring list and now has 1,653 for her career - three away from matching Kirsten Brendel for third on Penn's all-time scoring list.
Bonenberger had 16 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting. Freshman Sydney Stipanovich had four blocks (she's had at least that many in five of the last six games) and also contributed three points and six rebounds. Roche finished with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting. McCullough had eight points and two assists.
Penn returns home to wrap up the first half of Ivy play. Yale will serve as Penn’s Valentine with a matchup at The Palestra on Feb. 14. The following night, Brown will visit the Cathedral of College Basketball for Penn’s annual Pink Game—fans will receive free pink t-shirts and pom-poms. Both contests will tip at 7 p.m.