PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Junior Kara Bonenberger finished with a season-high 22 points and freshman Sydney Stipanovich added her fourth straight double-double to power the University of Pennsylvania women's basektball team to a 70-54 Ivy League road win at Brown's Pizzitola Sports Center on Friday night.
Penn improved to 18-6 on the year to equal the second-highest win total in school history -- that matches last season's team and the 1999-00 squad. The Quakers have posted back-to-back 18-win seasons for just the second time in program history. In addition, at 8-2 in the Ivy League, the Quakers have clinched their first back-to-back winning seasons in Ivy play since an eight-year run from 1998-2005, and remain alone in second-place -- one game behind Princeton.
The Quakers jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first three minutes. But Brown (8-17, 2-9 Ivy) ranks 11th in the nation in three-point percentage and the Bears were well above that Ivy League-leading average in the first half. They hit 6-of-10 (60.0%) from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes and scored 18 of the next 23 points for a 20-14 advantage midway through the half.
Penn's man-to-man defense started to take away the three and that led to a near-nine minute drought between Brown field goals. The Bears were just 2-of-10 (20%) from inside the arc in the first half.
Against the Brown zone defense, the Quakers used some textbook teamwork. Penn had 14 assists on 15 first-half field goals -- senior captain Meghan McCullough finished with a career-high eight helpers -- and the Quakers held a double-digit edge at the break, 36-26.
Penn started the second half on a 10-2 run as Stipanovich and Bonenberger combined for six more points. Baron's lay-in put Penn up 46-28 with 16:03 to go.
However, at that time, Stipanovich picked up her fourth foul and the Bears made a run with the Ivy League blocks leader on the bench. Brown closed to within nine, 50-41, at the 11:23 mark.
On the ensuing possession, Bonenberger scored to recapture the double-digit lead. But moments later, Bonenberger picked up her fourth foul and Penn's entire starting frontcourt was on the bench in foul trouble.
In addition, junior Katy Allen was sidelined with an injury. So head coach Mike McLaughlin turned to senior captain Courtney Wilson and freshman Stephanie Cheney. Both filled in and never relinquished Penn's double-digit lead. Wilson finished with two points, three rebounds and a block in 12 important minutes, while Cheney added season highs with eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes.
When Stipanovich returned, Penn led 60-49 with 5:59 left. She scored on two straight possessions and the Quakers cruised to victory in the closing minutes.
Inside the Numbers
It was Penn's 10th victory in the last 11 games and a program-record fourth straight win in Providence. The Quakers have now swept Brown in three of the last four seasons.
For the game Brown made seven two-pointers and nine three-pointers. The Bears were 16-of-46 (34.8%) overall and 9-of-19 (47.4%) from three. Penn improved to 13-0 this year and 31-1 over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent. The Quakers finished 24-of-59 (40.7%) overall, 4-of-19 (21.1%) from three, and an impressive 18-of-21 (85.7%) from the free throw line.
Stipanovich had 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and pulled in 13 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Bonenberger was 9-of-13 from the field and finished two rebounds shy of a double-double. Baron filled the box score with nine points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Junior Kathleen Roche was the third Quaker in double figures. She had two of Penn's four threes and was 4-of-6 from the floor. Busch finished with five points.
The Quakers dominated the boards with a 47-25 advantage and 28-7 edge in second-chance points. Penn outscored Brown, 26-12, in the paint.
Another tough road test awaits the Quakers in New Haven. Penn takes on Yale Saturday night at Lee Amphitheater at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.