Women's Basketball Stumbles at Columbia, 61-54

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February Total: 10
Season Total: 46

VIDEO: Baron pulls Penn within two

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A late second half rally fell short for the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team in a 61-54 loss at Levien Gymnasium Friday night. Columbia went on a 15-1 run to go up 13 and seemingly put the game away with five minutes left, but the Quakers battled to within two with a minute left.

The Quakers lost for just the second time in five games and fell to 10-14 overall and 4-6 in Ivy play. Columbia improved to 6-19 on the year and 5-6 against the Ivy League.

Freshman Alyssa Baron hit a jumper with 1:47 remaining to cap a 13-2 run and pull the Quakers within two, 56-54. On Penn's next possession, sophomore Brianna Bradford had a chance to give Penn the lead with a three, but it was long.

Columbia was fouled and made both free throws to go up four. Penn turned it over with 18 seconds left and the Lions sealed the game from the charity stripe.

One minute in, senior Caroline Nicholson had the game's first basket with a turnaround hook. Baron had Penn's next eight points, followed by seven straight from freshman Courtney Wilson.

During that span, Columbia held a brief lead at 6-5, but Baron's stretch gave the Quakers a 10-8 advantage six minutes into the contest. Wilson helped extend that lead to 15-8. However, the Red and Blue went five minutes before scoring again. Wilson hit a baseline jumper to stop a 9-0 Columbia run and tie the game, 17-17, with 6:26 to play in the opening half.

The teams exchanged baskets until intermission with the Lions taking a 24-23 lead into the locker room.

The second half went back and forth for the first 10 minutes - the lead changed hands six times in that span.

Back-to-back baskets from junior Jess Knapp gave the Quakers a 30-28 lead. Columbia scored the next five and led 33-30. Then Penn scored seven straight. Freshman Meghan McCullough hit a three in between baskets from senior Jerin Smith and the Red and Blue led 37-33 with 12:35 to go.

Two possessions later, the Lions led by one, 38-37, but Bradford hit a three on Penn's ensuing possession. But it would be the final lead of the game for the Quakers.

Columbia held Penn without a field goal for the next six minutes and went on a devastating 15-1 run that the Quakers never fully recovered from. At the end of that stretch, the Lions led 54-41 at the 5:20 mark.

The Red and Blue didn't go down without a fight though. McCullough and Bradford each hit a three and senior Erin Power converted a three-point play to close the deficit to 56-52 with 3:06 remaining. Then Baron closed it to two before Columbia closed it out during that final stretch.

Baron finished with a game-high 18 points, while Power had a season-high 12 rebounds and six assists. Wilson finished with a career-high nine points in 22 minutes of action with Bradford adding eight. Power and Nicholson led the team with two blocks apiece.

Columbia shot 47 percent from the field in the second half and finished at a 40.7-percent (22-for-54) clip for the game. The Quakers were 19-of-55 (34.5%). The Lions had just 10 turnovers compared to Penn's 21, but the Red and Blue held the rebounding advantage at 45-29.

The Quakers head to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on Cornell Saturday. Tip off from Newman Arena is at 7 p.m.

Download: 24-Columbia.pdf