PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Junior Caitlin Slover had a career day in leading the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team past a motivated Brown squad and its crowd on Senior Day at the Pizzitola Center Saturday night, 55-48 in overtime. Just 24 hours after setting a career-high with 10 rebounds, Slover finished with her first collegiate double-double as she had career bests with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
At intermission, Penn had made just six of its 24 field goal attempts (25 percent) and just one of its nine three-point attempts (11 percent). The Quakers had turned the ball over 11 times and had yet to lead at any point. Yet, they trailed by just one, 20-19. It was a swarming defensive effort that forced Brown into eight first-half turnovers and held the Bears without a three-point basket.
On the offensive end, Slover was keeping the Quakers in the game during the first 20 minutes. In coming off the bench, she pitched in nearly half of Penn's 19 points as she finished just shy of a double-double in the first half with eight rebounds to go along with nine points.
It was a frantic ending to regulation. Brown had the ball with the shot clock turned off and the game tied at 44-44, but Slover drew a charge with five seconds left. On the ensuing inbound, Penn lost the ball at halfcourt and the Bears picked it up and heaved a 25-footer at the buzzer. It was off the mark and the game went to the extra session.
The Quakers never trailed in overtime, scoring on their first three possessions. Senior Carrie Biemer scored on the team's first trip, but Brown responded on its first possession to tie the game at 46-46. The next time down the floor, sophomore Erin Power knocked down two free throws and after a missed three by the Bears, senior Kelly Scott connected with a wide-open Slover under the basket for an easy two and a 50-46 advantage with 3:05 to go.
The score stuck until the final minute. Brown found the bottom of the basket with 35 seconds left to pull within two. Slover was then fouled while bringing the ball up the floor and hit both free throws to push the lead to 52-48 with 31 seconds to go. Slover then stole the ball on Brown's next possession and hit two more free throws for an insurmountable six-point lead. The Southhampton, Pa., native added another free throw for good measure with five seconds left.
Penn was down 14-6 at the halfway mark of the first half and was down 18-11 four minutes later. At this time, Slover grabbed an offensive rebound and hit the put back to spark a quick 6-0 run. Senior Katarina Lackner had the last four points in that stretch to put the Quakers down just one, 18-17 with 1:13 remaining. Each team added a basket in the final minute for the halftime score.
Biemer, who was one rebound shy of a double-double with 17 points, was forced to sit all but six minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. However, the Haddonfield, N.J., product was imposing early on in the next stanza. Biemer scored the first six points for the Quakers in less than two and a half minutes, giving Penn its first lead of the day at 25-23. Brown tied it on the next possession, but Penn broke the press and senior Kelly Scott immediately gave the Quakers the lead back, 27-25, with a 15-foot jumper.
Following that bucket, the two teams went five minutes without either side denting the scoreboard. Biemer finally broke that stretch with a pair of free throws and after Scott drained a three, Penn had its largest lead of the game to that point, 34-29 at the 9:41 mark.
However, Brown wouldn't go away in its home season finale. The Bears scored five straight to tie the game and after freshman Tyler Cumbo gave Penn the lead with a driving layup, the home team took the lead with a three, 37-36 at 5:47.
Scott scored the game's next four points, giving Penn a 40-37 edge when Cumbo stole the ball, pushed the ball up the floor and connected with Scott for the fast break layup.
Penn's lead was still three, 44-41, three minutes later with 2:24 left in regulation. Then, Brown's Sadiea Williams sunk a layup and was fouled. She hit the free throw to tie the game, leading to the frenetic ending.
Slover, who also led the team with her three assists and her two blocks and her four steals, became the third Penn player this year to post a double-double. Penn outrebounded Brown by nine and had a season-best 11 steals. Scott, who played all but two of the game's 45 minutes, had nine points. Cumbo played some big minutes down the stretch and had four points and six rebounds.
Penn held Brown to just 9-of-34 shooting in the second half and overtime, a 26-percent clip. On the other hand, the Quakers went 11-for-26 in that span for a 42-percent clip.
Penn will play its final three games of the season - all of which are at The Palestra - in a span of five days. The Quakers meet Cornell Friday at 7 p.m. and will play Columbia on Senior Day Saturday night at 8 p.m. The season finale with Princeton begins at 5:30 p.m. on March 10.
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