February Total: 11
Season Total: 36
ITHACA, N.Y. - Senior Jess Knapp's buzzer-beating three-pointer fell just short and so did a valiant comeback by the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team Friday night in a 45-42 loss to Cornell at Newman Arena.
Penn, which fell to 9-13 overall and 2-6 in Ivy play, trailed by as many as 13 with less than nine minutes remaining, but rallied to tie the game in the final minutes.
A great defensive effort kept the Quakers within striking distance in spite of a poor shooting night that included an 0-for-19 start from three-point range.
Penn forced 24 Cornell turnovers - 10 more than the Quakers - and Penn outshot the Big Red, 68-32. Penn had 25 offensive rebounds in the game, while the Big Red had just 33 total. But the Big Red were more efficient from the field (50 percent) than the Quakers (22.1 percent), and that was the difference.
From the start, it was clear that it would be a defensive battle throughout. Penn liberally used a full court press, while Cornell (10-12, 4-4 Ivy) employed a 2-3 zone throughout most of the game. Both worked extremely well.
Each team managed just one basket through the first four minutes.
Knapp had four of Penn's first six points to put the Quakers up three before Cornell scored eight of 10 to go up, 11-8 at the 9:52 mark.
Then, sophomore Meghan McCullough had a steal in the backcourt off the press and passed to sophomore Alyssa Baron, who made a layup and was fouled. McCullough got the ensuing rebound and immediately passed to a wide-open Brianna Bradford for a one-point Penn lead.
The Quakers led 14-13 with 5:05 left until intermission, but the Big Red scored the last 11 points of the half and led by 10 at the break.
To start the second half, the Quakers closed the deficit to 28-22 with buckets from Baron and Knapp, but the Big Red scored seven straight to take a 13-point lead with a little more than nine minutes remaining.
But Penn's offense awoke. After 19 straight misses from beyond the arc, the Quakers hit two straight and made four of their final seven.
Baron and freshman Kathleen Roche connected on the first two and sparked an 8-0 run that had the Red and Blue down just five, 35-30, with 6:55 left.
After an aggressive drive and lay-in from Roche, the deficit was just three, 37-34 with 4:49 remaining.
The Quakers continued to chip away. Another Baron three made it a one-point game, 40-39, with 3:22 to go.
Finally, the deficit was completely erased when Roche buried another trey to tie the game, 42-42, at the 3:04 mark.
Two minutes later, Cornell broke the stalemate with a free throw. Penn had a chance to take the lead in the final minute, but a shot clock violation turned the ball back over to the hosts.
Cornell made both free throws with 11.1 seconds left and then Knapp's game-tying attempt from the top of the key hit the front of the iron.
Baron led all scorers with 18 points. Roche was second on the team with eight. Freshman Kara Bonenberger finished with a team-high 11 rebounds. The Quakers had 11 assists on 15 baskets and finished with a season-high 14 steals.
Saturday night the Quakers will be in New York City to take on Columbia. Tip off from Levien Gymnasium is at 7 p.m.