PHILADELPHIA - A valiant effort fell short for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team against No. 13/13 Princeton at The Palestra. The Tigers held off the Quakers, 55-42, in the season finale on Tuesday night.
Penn (20-8, 11-3 Ivy) has earned the Ivy League's automatic berth to the WNIT with a second-place finish in Ancient Eight play. It will markPenn’s third straight trip to the postseason—a school record.Princeton (30-0, 14-0) takes over for the Quakers as Ivy League champions and will advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Though the loss snapped the second-longest winning streak in school history (nine games), the Quakers finish with the first back-to-back 20-win seasons in program history.
How it Happened
Freshman Anna Ross scored Penn's first four points, but Princeton led 8-4 at the first media timeout. The Quakers scored 10 of the next 14 -- freshman Michelle Nwokedi and sophomore Sydney Stipanovich combined for nine of those 10 to give the Quakers a14-12 lead at the midway point of the half.
However, the Tigers went on a 9-0 run to go up, 21-14 at the 5:12 mark. It was a lead they did not relinquish. But not without a fight from Penn over the final 25 minutes.
Senior Kathleen Roche buired a three to stop the run and the Quakers eventually closed to within five of their arch rival, 26-21, at the half.
In front of another big Penn crowd at the Cathedral of College Basketball, the Quakers had them on their feet with the first four points of the second half. Nwokedi, who recorded her seventh double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, hit a pair of free throws and the Red and Blue were within one, 26-25.
It was still a one-point game with under 15 minutes to play and it was just a 31-29 with 14:10 to go.
But Princeton scored six in a row and 11 of the next 13 to push its advantage into double digits for the first time, 42-31 with just 8:54 to play.
A few minutes later, senior Kara Bonenberger and Stipanovich hit back-to-back jumpers to get the Quakers within 44-37 with 6:14 to go. It remained a seven-point, 46-39, deficit when freshman Beth Brzozowski sunk two free throws with 4:20 remaining.
That was as close as Penn would get though. The Tigers hit a three on the ensuing possession and never let the Quakers back within single digits.
Inside the Numbers
Stipanovich matched Nwokedi as Penn's leading scorers with 13 apiece. Stipanovich also added five rebounds and three blocks. Ross led the Quakers with four assists to bring her season total to 104 -- the most for a Penn player since Alyssa Baron had 119 in 2012-13.
Penn held the league's top offense to just 24-of-61 (39.3%) shooting, including 4-of-19 (21.1%) from three. The Quakers struggled from the field though at 16-of-54 (29.6%) overall and 1-of-15 (6.7%) from three-point range.
With a second-place finish in the Ivy League, the Quakers have clinched the league's automatic berth to the WNIT. The Quakers reached the WBI and the NCAA Tournament in the two previous seasons. Selections for the WNIT are announced shortly after the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Monday, March 16. The first round of the WNIT would be played March 18, 19 or 20th at The Palestra or the home court of Penn’s opponent.