Women's Basketball Held Off by Princeton, 56-45

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PRINCETON, N.J. - In a matchup of the two top defenses in the Ivy League, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team fell just short of ending Princeton's 15-game home winning streak in a 56-45 loss Saturday night at Jadwin Gym.

Other than the opening minutes of the second half, Penn (5-6, 0-1 Ivy) went basket-for-basket with the Tigers (12-3, 1-0) and nearly ended their arch rivals 19-game conference win streak - fourth-longest in the nation - in the Ivy opener for both teams.

Princeton hit a three on its first possession, but Penn held the Tigers without a point for the next four minutes. However, it took the Quakers more than five minutes to score on the Ivies second-best defense and it was another two minutes before Baron had Penn's first basket to pull within 5-3.

But that got the Quakers going. The next time down the floor, senior Jerin Smith knocked down a baseline jumper to tie the game. Freshman Alyssa Baron hit a runner in the lane on the next possession and followed that up with a three to cap a 10-0 run to put Penn up 10-5 at the midway point of the half.

Princeton broke a six-minute drought against Penn's league-leading defensive unit with back-to-back buckets to pull within 10-9, but in her first collegiate game in return from injury, freshman Lauren Kraemer scored her first career points to put the Quakers back up three.

The Tigers regained the lead with six of the game's next seven points, but freshman Meghan McCullough hit a three from the top of the key with 5:15 to go in the half and the Quakers led 16-15.

Penn led 20-18, but Princeton tied the game in the waning seconds of the half. Princeton's 20 first-half points was its lowest output of the season.

However, the second half was literally all Tigers for the first nine minutes. Princeton scored the first 18 points and the Quakers did not get on the scoreboard until Baron hit a running jumper along the baseline at the 10:50 mark.

That was the first of four straight baskets. When sophomore Brianna Bradford's three went down with 8:12 to play, the Quakers had cut the 18-point deficit to 42-29.

With the Tigers leading 50-36, McCullough hit two free throws, Bradford drained a three from the top of the key and Baron buried a jumper to pull the deficit to seven with just 1:45 remaining.

The Tigers knocked down a three on the next possession though and held off the Quakers for the 11-point win.

Princeton was held to its second-lowest offensive output of the season (56) and its second-lowest field goal percentage of the year (33.9%). Penn was 17-of-46 (37.0%) from the floor, including 4-of-11 (36.4%) from beyond the arc. The Quakers, who entered the game tops in the league in rebounding margin, were outrebounded 39-31 and were outscored, 24-14, in the paint. Both defenses combined to force 34 turnovers (20 for Penn, 14 for Princeton). Overall, the score was tied on four occassions and there were four lead changes.

Baron finished with a team-high 15 points in her first Ivy action, while Bradford was one shy of a career high with 14 points on a perfect night from the field (5-for-5) in just 15 minutes of action. Baron added four rebounds and two steals, while Smith and senior Erin Power each had a team-high seven rebounds. Power also had a game-high two blocks.

Penn, which still stands at 399 all-time wins in program history, will attempt to reach No. 400 on Wednesday in a Big 5 showdown at The Palestra against Villanova. Tip off against the Wildcats is at 7 p.m.

Download: 11-Princeton.pdf