PHILADELPHIA - A dominating win capped an incredible weekend for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team. Saturday night's 63-40 victory at The Palestra was Penn's largest in 68 all-time meetings with Dartmouth. It also clinched the first weekend sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth in nine years.
Penn has now won five of its last six Ivy games and moved into sole possession of second-place in the Ivy League. Penn's only loss over the last six games came during bizarre circumstances at Yale. The Quakers are 5-2 in league play for the first time since 2004-05 and trail only Princeton (7-0) in the league standings. Penn is 12-9 overall and is one win shy from matching last season's Ivy and overall win total. Dartmouth, which lost to Penn for the fourth straight time, fell to 6-15 on the year and 4-3 in league play.
With the addition of Friday's 77-72 victory over Harvard - which snapped a 17-game and nine-year losing streak to the Crimson - this marks the first sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth since 2004 and marks the first sweep of those two programs at The Palestra since the 2000-01 team won the Ivy title with an unbeaten record.
After Friday's emotional win, the Quakers experienced no letdown. They were sharp from the start. Dartmouth's only lead of the day was 2-0 and Penn jumped out to a 13-8 lead behind seven early points from junior captain Alyssa Baron.
Turnovers were the key to the game. Penn forced a season-high 23 and had just seven of their own - an all-time low in head coach Mike McLaughlin's four-year tenure. Penn, which had 16 assists on 19 baskets, outscored Dartmouth 24-0 off of turnovers.
The first barrage of Big Green miscues led to a 14-4 Penn run. Junior Courtney Wilson hit back-to-back jumpers and freshman Keiera Ray had a layup to put the Quakers up 27-15 at the 5:11 mark of the opening half.
Dartmouth closed to within five, but Ray, who had a game-high 19 points, hit a three to end the half and put Penn up 33-25 heading to the locker rooms.
The visitors scored first to start the second half, but the swarming Penn defense did not allow another point for nearly seven minutes. In fact, in the second half, the Quakers forced 16 turnovers and allowed just 15 points.
The Quakers scored 12 straight points during that Dartmouth drought - capped by a three from sophomore Kathleen Roche - for a commanding 45-27 lead with 14:13 remaining.
When the Big Green finally scored again, Roche promptly drained another from beyond the arc for a 19-point edge.
The Big Green were never closer than 18 the rest of the way. Penn's lead grew to as many as 26, 63-37, on a pair of free throws from junior Kristen Kody at the 2:18 mark.
The 23-point win was the largest margin of victory over Dartmouth since the series began in 1979. It topped an 18-point win from Feb. 23, 1985.
Overall, Penn allowed just 18 Big Green baskets - compared to their 23 turnovers. Dartmouth was 18-of-43 (41.9%) from the field, while the Quakers finished the game at 36.5 percent (19-of-52). Dartmouth was just 1-of-8 (12.5%) from three and Penn was 8-of-23 (34.8%).
Ray was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the free throw line as the Quakers were better than 80 percent from the charity stripe for the third time in the last four games (17-of-21, 81%). Ray, who finished with a combined 50 points over the weekend, also added four rebounds and three assists. Baron finished with 10 points and a game-high six assists - her seventh straight game with at least three dishes.
Penn had three players in double figures for the second straight night as sophomore Kara Bonenberger finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Katy Allen added three points and a team-best six boards. Wilson had seven points and two rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.
Next weekend, a four-game Ivy homestand wraps up with games against
Cornell (Feb. 22) and Columbia (Feb. 23) at The Palestra. Both games tip
off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.
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