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March Total: 1
Season Total: 34
HANOVER, N.H. -Senior captain Brianna Bradford poured in a career-high 17 points to lead the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team to their sixth straight win. With the 55-45 victory over Dartmouth at Leede Arena on Friday night, the Quakers moved to within one game of first place.
Penn (15-9, 8-2 Ivy), which clinched its first winning season since 2004-05, now controls its own destiny toward the program’s first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2003-04. Princeton lost on Friday night at Harvard—Penn’s Saturday night opponent—but remains one game ahead of the Quakers in the Ivy standings. However, Penn and Princeton meet in the season finale on Senior Day at The Palestra on March 12. The Quakers, who have matched the most overall and Ivy wins for the program since 2004-05, remain one game ahead of the Crimson for second-place.
Penn moved closer to the top of the league standings with its fifth straight win over Dartmouth. The Quakers got off to a slow start offensively—they made just three of their first 16 shots. But another strong defensive effort kept the Big Green close. In fact, Dartmouth never led by more than two.
The Big Green led 16-14 with less than four minutes to play in the opening half. But the Quakers used their defense to produce points. Baron took a steal coast-to-coast to tie the game and then Bradford hauled in a rebound and beat everyone down the floor for another fast break layup and an 18-16 lead. Sophomore Kathleen Roche connected with classmate Katy Allen for a layup to close the half and put Penn up 20-16 at the break.
For the fifth straight game, Penn never trailed in the second half. Dartmouth was within two, 25-23, until Bradford took over. She sunk her second three of the night for a five-point cushion. After freshman Keiera Ray pick-pocketed the Dartmouth point guard for an easy fastbreak layup, Bradford connected from downtown again.
A little more than a minute later, Bradford pulled down a rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and found a wide-open Roche, who drained a three. On Penn’s next possession, Bradford, of course, hit another three. In all, it was a 14-5 run for the Quakers, who pulled out to a 39-28 lead with 12:32 remaining.
Dartmouth scored the next four, but Bradford squashed any momentum for the home team with a drive and lay-in. The Big Green eventually pulled within seven again, 46-39, with 2:56 left, but the Quakers made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch to keep Dartmouth at bay.
To start her final Ivy road trip, Bradford scored her 17 points in just 25 minutes off the bench. She topped her previous career high of 15 points in a win over Columbia in 2010. Sophomore Kara Bonenberger pulled down 15 rebounds, which was the most for a Quakers since Jerin Smith did so against Princeton on March 9, 2010.
Junior captain Alyssa Baron played just 24 minutes due to foul trouble, but had 14 points and moved into the top five in career scoring at Penn. She now has 1,273 points and is just 20 points behind Dionne Anthon (1989-92) for fourth place. Ray finished with 13 points and two steals. Roche had a game-high three assists and added three points and three rebounds.
The Quakers were 17-of-56 (30.4%) from the floor. Bradford was 3-for-6 from three-point range, while the rest of the team combined to go just 2-of-19. Dartmouth was 2-for-9 (22.2%) from beyond the arc and 16-of-49 (32.7%) overall. The teams both had 38 rebounds. Penn had 12 turnovers and forced 18.
Penn’s six-game winning streak is it’s longest since 2004-05. The Quakers also clinched their first winning Ivy season since that year.
Penn returns to action on Saturday night. The Quakers will be in Cambridge, Mass., for a 6 p.m. rematch with third-place Harvard. The winner of that game will be in the drivers seat toward clinching a postseason berth.