Incredible Comeback Carries Women's Basketball, 61-60
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - Junior Alyssa Baron capped the largest comeback in school history with the winning basket with 6.4 seconds left. The University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team trailed by 18 with 7:29 to play, but finished with a 22-3 run, including the game's final 15 points to win at St. Francis (N.Y.), 61-60, Wednesday night at the PPE Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The win tied for the 19th-largest comeback in NCAA history and the 12th-largest second-half comeback in NCAA history. It was the all-time largest comeback for an Ivy League team as the Quakers (3-3) won for the third straight game
and the first time on the road this season. All six of their games this season have been
decided by single digits. The Terriers fell to 2-4 on
Sophomore Kathleen Roche set a school record for threes in a half. All six of her treys (one off the Penn single-game record) came in the second half as the Terriers - behind a near school-record setting three-point performance of their own - had built a 14-point lead at the break.
St. Francis (N.Y.) led 57-39 at the 7:29 mark. Penn made a quick 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 11, but the Terriers scored three straight and held a comfortable 60-46 lead with 5:17 remaining. They never scored again.
Freshman Keiera Ray immediately responded with a three-point play and the Quakers used the free throw line to carve into the deficit. Over the next three minutes, Penn went 5-for-6 from the line and trailed 60-54 with 2:05 left.
The Quakers forced a turnover and Roche hit her sixth three of the half. For the first time since it was 4-2, the Red and Blue were within a possession. After a defensive stop, Baron missed a three, but Ray was there with the rebound and a tough putback to close to within one, 60-59, with just 49 seconds to go.
The Quakers forced yet another turnover - one of 20 by the
Terriers on the night - and set up Baron's game-winning drive and
lay-up. Baron, who played much of the second half with four fouls, took a handoff at the elbow from Ray and drove straight to the basket. The game-winning bucket marked Penn's first lead of the day. St. Francis (N.Y.) had a chance to win it, but a baseline jumper
came up short and the Penn bench erupted in celebration.
It was a slow start offensively. The Red and Blue missed on seven of their first eight shots and turned the ball over seven times in the first eight minutes. Sophomore Kara Bonenberger had Penn's only field goal in the first 9:35. Meanwhile, St. Francis Brooklyn couldn't miss. The Terriers were 8-of-13 (61.5%) from beyond the arc in the first half and went on a 15-1 run to go ahead, 19-3.
Penn made a run of its own. Led by two threes from senior captain Brianna Bradford, the Quakers scored 13 of 16 points to get within, 22-16.
But three straight threes gave St. Francis Brooklyn its double-digit lead back and the Terriers went into the half with a 33-19 advantage.
The Quakers trailed 38-22 before making another run. Roche and Bonenberger combined for all of Penn's points in a 13-2 stretch. Roche's third three in that run closed the deficit to 40-35 with 13:17 to go in the game.
Once again, St. Francis Brooklyn pulled away. A 14-1 run gave the Terriers their largest lead of the game, 57-39, with 7:29 to go. That's when the Red and Blue made a seemingly improbable comeback to win in the final seconds.
Roche finished with a career and team-high 20 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. All of her shot attempts were from beyond the arc where she was 6-of-11 (54.5%) from three. Her six threes were the most for a Penn player in nearly six years (Joey Rhoads vs. Brown, 3/4/06).
Baron finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Bonenberger had 12 points and seven rebounds. Ray led the Quakers with a career-best six assists in addition to eight points.Penn was 12-of-26 (46.2%) in the second half after shooting just 6-of-22 (27.3%) in the first 20 minutes. Penn was 7-of-14 from three in the second half and 10-of-23 (43.5%) overall. Penn held the rebounding edge, 37-32. The Quakers had 13 assists and 19 turnovers, while St. Francis (N.Y.) had 17 assists and 20 turnovers. Both teams struggled from the free throw line as Penn shot 58 percent (15-for-26) and the Terriers were 54 percent (7-for-13). Penn is back in Brooklyn on Sunday. The Quakers return to the Big Apple to take on LIU-Brooklyn at 2 p.m.