PHILADELPHIA - Eight straight. Again. For the second time this season, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team has won eight in a row. They did so in commanding fashion. The Quakers buried Brown in a 28-point hole at the half and cruised to a 78-51 win at The Palestra on Saturday night.
Penn (16-5, 6-1 Ivy) matched the second-longest winning streak in school history - set earlier this year. Prior to this season, Penn had just one win streak of eight or more games in its entire history. This also marks just the second time Penn has ever posted back-to-back 16-win seasons.
At Penn's annual Pink Game where proceeds go toward the fight against breast cancer, the Quakers gave the pink-clad home crowd plenty to cheer about.
The Bears entered the game ranked eighth in the nation in three-point percentage and quickly knocked down their first two attempts. The Ivy League's leading scorer, Lauren Clarke, scored the first eight points for Brown and had the visitors within 9-8 at the 16:25 mark.
However, the Quakers entered the game with the nation's sixth-best defense and it engulfed the Bears for the rest of the half. Brown, which had 14 turnovers in the first half, missed 12 straight shots and went nearly 10 minutes without a point.
Penn capitalized with 19 straight points. Junior Renee Busch was a spark off the bench once again. She drained a pair of threes in that stretch. Senior captain Alyssa Baron, who moved into 11th-place on the Ivy League's career scoring list, added eight points during the run and capped it off with one of her four threes on the night. That put Penn up, 27-8, with 7:07 left in the half.
Brown ended its drought with four straight points, but Penn poured in 13 of the next 15 and ended the half on a 16-3 run. Penn's 43 points at the break were a season-high and the 28-point halftime lead was the largest in the Coach McLaughlin era.
Junior Kathleen Roche took over at the outset of the second stanza. She scored the first six points of the half and the Quakers led 49-15 with 18:41 to play.
The Quakers removed their starters and Brown whittled away at its deficit. The Quakers went nearly 10 minutes without a field -- connecting on five free throws in that span -- and the Bears closed to within, 63-43 at the 6:11 mark.
But freshman center Sydney Stipanovich, who finished with her sixth double-double of the season, scored the next three points and Baron hit her last three of the night to put the Quakers back up 27 with just over four minutes to go.
Inside the Numbers
Every Penn player either had scored or had a rebound. Stipanovich finished with 13 points, and 10 rebounds in addition to five more blocks. She now has 82 this season and that ranks as sixth-most in a single-season in Ivy history. Baron netted a game-high 22 points and added seven assists.
For the game, Penn had 19 assists on 23 buckets and connected on 47.9 percent (23-of-48) of its shots. Brown was 19-of-57 (33.3%) from the floor and finished 9-of-21 (42.9%) from beyond the arc. The Quakers bettered one of the national leaders from downtown as they connected on 10-of-18 (55.6%) three-point shots. Penn outscored Brown in the paint (22-8), off turnovers (28-12) and off the bench (25-18). The Red and Blue also won the rebounding battle, 41-30.
The only other time the Quakers won 16 games in back-to-back seasons was 1999-00 (18-10) and 2000-01 (22-6).
A four-game road swing awaits the Quakers as Penn will make two trips through New England in the next two weeks. The Red and Blue are at Harvard (Feb. 21) and Dartmouth (Feb. 22) followed by trips to Brown (Feb. 28) and Yale (March 1).
Pink Tweet of the Game: