ITHACA, N.Y. - Four Quakers scored in double figures and sophomore Erin Power collected her first career double-double as the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Cornell, 79-70, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 3,047 at the Newman Arena Saturday night.
Power set career highs with 11 points and 13 rebounds as the Quakers (4-15, 1-4) logged their first Ivy win of the season. Seniors Katarina Lackner, Carrie Biemer and Anca Popovici also scored in double figures as the Quakers defeated Cornell (7-11, 3-3 Ivy) for the second time in three years in Ithaca.
Penn played nearly perfect on the offensive end in outscoring the Big Red 55-35 in the second half. The Quakers shot 73 percent (16-for-22) in the half, including 81 percent from the free throw line (17-for-21) and 60 percent (6-of-10) from three-point range. The second half three-point surge started early as Biemer hit two on Penn's first two possessions to push the halftime deficit to just five. Biemer, who finished with 27 points, hit all of her career-tying five three pointers in the second half.
Minutes later, Popovici scored two of her season-high 11 points with a layup to cut the lead to two, 42-40. A possession later, two Power free throws completed Penn's largest comeback of the year, to tie the score at 42-42. Power, just a 35 percent free throw shooter coming into the game, was 7-for-10 from the charity stripe.
With the score tied at 46-46 with 9:46 to go, Power rebounded a missed free throw, proceeded up the court and handed off to Biemer. Biemer promptly gave the Quakers their first lead of the half with yet another three, 49-47. Cornell then tied the game with just over eight minutes remaining, but Penn did not trail the rest of the way.
With Penn leading 56-55 with 5:41 to go, the seniors stepped up. Popovici, who was perfect from the floor (4-for-4) and free throw line (3-for-3) on the night, scored on four of the next five possessions and single-handedly outscored the Big Red 7-5 in that stretch. Her free throw with 3:50 left, gave Penn a 65-60 lead. Biemer hit a three the next time down the floor for an eight-point edge. After a Cornell basket, Lackner hit a layup of her own to maintain the advantage with 2:33 to go. A free throw from Cornell was followed by the third three of the game by senior Kelly Scott and Penn had its largest lead, 73-63 with 1:30 to go.
Junior Sarah Bucar came off the bench to ice the game for the Quakers. She was 4-for-6 from the free throw line in the game's final minute.
A barrage of three pointers gave Cornell its halftime advantage. The last of which came as the first half buzzer sounded and gave the Big Red its largest lead of the game, 35-24. Cornell made an astounding 70 percent of its three-point attempts in the first half. Penn led early with baskets on its first three possessions and had a 13-9 advantage eight minutes in. However, an 8-0 run gave Cornell a lead that they held for the rest of the half.
In the game, Penn had a heavy advantage on the boards, 34-23, and in the paint, 26-12. Lackner, who made her first start of the season, finished with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Next weekend the Quakers host Brown and Yale. Tip-off with the Bears is on Friday at 7 p.m., while the matchup with the Bulldogs is the annual "Pinkzone" game. All ticket proceeds from that game will go toward the fight against breast cancer.
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