Second-Quarter Burst Lifts Women's Basketball Over Columbia, 64-54

Penn vs. Columbia Box Score (PDF)

The University of Pennsylvania (12-6, 6-0) used a second-quarter offensive burst to take down the Columbia Lions (12-8, 2-5) on the road Friday, 64-54. The win allowed the Quakers to maintain their two-game lead over Princeton as the race for the Ancient Eight title approaches the halfway point.

The Red and Blue now own a 10-game Ivy winning streak dating back to last year, second in program history to only a 14-0 run through conference play en route to the 2000-01 Ivy title.

Princess Aghayere had a career night, posting five rebounds and a personal best 21 points as Michelle Nwokedi finished a board shy of her eighth double-double of the season (12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks). The game was largely fought in the paint, where Penn outscored Columbia, 38-26. The two teams combined to score just four three-pointers, and so it was the inside game that gave the Quakers an edge — shooting 45% (25-for-56) from the floor compared to the Lions’ 38% (20-for-53).

Sydney Stipanovich logged four blocks on the evening, putting her just one shy of tying the Ivy career blocks record (305).

The frontcourt powered the way for the Quakers early, accounting for all 12 of the Red and Blue’s first-quarter points. A pair of blocks each by Stipanovich and Nwokedi helped stifle the Lions’ offense early, taking a 12-7 lead into the second quarter and allowing just 3-for-13 shooting.

The scoring accelerated in the second stanza, as a 21-point performance gave Penn a 33-15 lead at the break. It was the sophomore class that paced the Quakers in the first half, as Aghayere scored 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting and Ashley Russell logged seven points of her own.

Neither team attempted a trey in the third, and the battle played out in the paint as Penn sought to hold on to its early lead. Aghayere scored 11 of her 21 points in the third quarter — a relatively even frame where the Red and Blue were outscored, 20-15, but maintained a 48-35 advantage headed into the final quarter.

Although Columbia made it a 10-point game with 9:51 to play, the Quakers would cede no more ground. A personal 6-0 run for Nwokedi helped bring the lead back out as the game entered the final minutes and the Red and Blue capped off their 11th straight win over Columbia dating back to 2012.

The Quakers continue with their Ivy weekend with another away game when they travel to Cornell on Saturday, Feb. 11. Game time vs. the Big Red is slated for 5 p.m. and will be a Play4Kay Cancer Awareness game.