PHILADELPHIA - Senior captain Alyssa Baron became the program's third all-time leading scorer, freshman Sydney Stipanovich set the school's single-season blocks record, junior Kara Bonenberger was two rebounds shy of a double-double and junior Renee Busch came to the resue late in the second half. All that led the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to its seventh straight win, 60-52, over Yale on Friday night at The Palestra.
With the win, Penn (15-5, 5-1 Ivy) clinched its second straight winning season -- the program's first back-to-back winning campaigns since 2003-04 and 2004-05. The Quakers also snapped a four-game home losing streak to the Bulldogs (10-11, 4-3 Ivy), who had won eight of the previous nine meetings.
Penn jumped out to an 11-4 lead behind five points from Baron. Her three gave the Quakers the seven-point edge at the 14:55 mark and moved her into third-place on Penn's all-time career scoring list. She finished with 14 points -- her 89th career game in double figures -- and ranks 14th all-time in Ivy scoring with 1,667 career points.
However, on the next defensive possession, Baron picked up her second foul and had to head to the bench. The Quakers maintained that lead though, with help from the bench. Junior Katy Allen and senior Courtney Wilson combined for six points and Penn led, 24-17, with 8:23 until the half.
Yale went on a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to take its first lead of the game, 29-26. But Penn scored the last six of the half. It would have been eight, but Baron's bucket at the buzzer was waved off when she was called for a charge - her third foul. So Penn held a 32-29 advantage at the break.
Yale scored on the first possession of the second half. The Bulldogs then went six minutes without a point. Meanwhile, Bonenberger and Baron took over. They combined for 11 points in a 13-0 run and put Penn up, 45-31, with 13:05 to go.
During that stretch, Stipanovich rejected several Yale shot attempts. She finished with eight for the game and now owns the single-season school record. Katarina Paoulsen held the Penn standard for 20 years with 72 blocks during the 1993-94 season.
The Bulldogs regrouped with their second 12-2 run of the game. That pulled Yale within 47-43 with 7:57 remaining.
Enter Busch. She has been a sniper off the bench this season, shooting a team-best 40 percent from beyond the arc. She displayed more of that prowess at just the right time on Friday. She swished a three just in front of Penn's bench to end a stretch of nearly six minutes without a field goal.
Just two minutes later, Busch was at it again. From the opposite wing, she swished another three and put the Quakers up 55-43. On the next possession, Stipanovich converted a three-point play and capped a 12-0 run. That gave Penn a 58-43 edge with 4:07 to play.
Yale was never within 10 again.
Inside the Numbers
Stipanovich had a near triple-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks on 6-of-10 shooting. She has now had three games with eight or more blocks. Prior to this season, no Penn player had ever recorded more than seven blocks in a game.
Bonenberger had a game-high 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks on 6-of-9 shooting. Baron added a team-high four assists. Senior captain Meghan McCullough had a game-high four steals and added four rebounds. In addition to her six points, Busch had three rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes. Wilson finished with four points, three rebounds and a block in seven minutes.
Penn improved to 29-1 over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent. The Quakers were 22-of-48 (45.8%) from the field and 3-of-11 (27.3%) from three.
Outside of allowing 25 offensive rebounds, the Quakers defense -- which ranks sixth in the nation -- stifled Yale, which shot just 7-of-35 (20.0%) in the second half and 20-of-71 (28.2%) for the game. The Bulldogs were 3-of-15 (20.0%) from downtown. Yale held the overall rebounding advantage, 43-41.
On Saturday, Brown will visit the Cathedral of College Basketball for Penn’s annual Pink Game—fans will receive FREE pink t-shirts, pink moustaches and pom-poms in addition to free strawberry milk courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.
Fan Tweet of the Game:
IT'S AN AM-BUSCH!— Penn Band (@PennBand) February 15, 2014