HANOVER, N.H. - #Defend has become the motto for the defending Ivy League champions who pride themselves on defense. The University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team held an opponent under 40 points for the second straight game and stifled Dartmouth on its home court, 55-39, on Friday night. It was the program's all-time largest margin of victory at Leede Arena.
How it Happened
Dartmouth (10-7, 1-2 Ivy) scored first and led for the first 35 seconds. Penn (10-6, 1-1 Ivy) never trailed again. The Quakers jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first three minutes with three scores inside the paint - a pair from sophomore Sydney Stipanovich and another from senior Kara Bonenberger.
Dartmouth came back to tie the game, 8-8, at the 11:33 mark, but the Penn defense held the Big Green to just one basket over the next eight minutes. Meanwhile, freshman Anna Ross sparked a 12-3 run with six points in that stretch for a 20-11 advantage.
After the Big Green snapped that bucketless streak, Stipanovich scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Quakers a 24-14 lead at the break. It marked the third straight half the Quakers allowed 15 or fewer points.
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second half and Dartmouth trailed by nine, 31-22, with 14:23 to play. But once again, the Penn defense shut down the Big Green to the tune of one basket over the next seven minutes.
In that time, a three-point play from senior Kathleen Roche, five points from freshman Michelle Nwokedi, two jumpers from Bonenberger and a three from freshman Beth Brzozowski encapsulated a 15-3 run that put Penn up 44-25 with 7:43 to go.
Shortly after, Roche added five straight points to give the Red and Blue their largest lead of the night, 51-28, with 5:30 remaining.
Dartmouth closed to within 15 in the final minutes, but was never closer than that.
Inside the Numbers
Stipanovich finished one rebound shy of a double-double with a game-high 16 points. Stipanovich also added three blocks and moved up two spots on the Ivy League's all-time career blocks list. She is now tied for 12th in Ancient Eight history with 147 career rejections.
Bonenberger was one point shy of a double-double as she had a game-high 10 rebounds. Brzozowski led the Quakers with four assists, while Ross added three helpers. Nwokedi had a team-high three steals in 11 minutes off the bench.
Penn was 21-of-47 (44.7%) from the field and outrebounded the Big Green, 44-28. The Quakers held Dartmouth to just 15 baskets and forced 16 turnovers. In all, Penn held Dartmouth to 15-of-56 (26.8%) from the field and 3-of-18 (16.7%) from three.
Other Fun Facts
The program's largest win at Leede Arena prior to tonight was a pair of 13-point victories in 2004 and 2010 (head coach Mike McLaughlin's first-ever Ivy League win).
Penn has won 19 of the last 20 games and is 37-2 over the last three seasons when shooting better than 40 percent. The Quakers have also won 34 of the last 36 games when they outrebound their opponent.
A national audience on ESPN3.com will look on as Penn vies for its first back-to-back wins in Lavietes Pavilion since 2000-01. Tip off at Harvard (8-9, 1-2 Ivy) is set for 6 p.m.
Fan Tweet of the Game
@PennWBB that's... um... Really good defense— Steven Tydings (@StevenTydings) January 31, 2015
Download: 16 - Dartmouth box.pdf