Women's Basketball Stuns Miami, 67-66

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Trailing by one in the final seconds, Katy Allen improvised, and her layup with 5.6 seconds left gave the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team its first-ever win over an ACC opponent, 67-66 at Miami on New Years Day.

Penn, which has now matched the best eight-game start in program history (6-2), led by as many as 16 and played from ahead nearly the entire game. But Miami took its first lead with 1:54 to go and led by four with 90 seconds remaining at BankUnited Center.

The Quakers had no timeouts left, but remained poised. Senior Meghan McCullough calmly hit a three from the wing to pull Penn within one with 1:21 to go. Then after a defensive stop, Kara Bonenberger missed a pair of shots, but each time battled for her own rebound against several Hurricanes. Finally, the ball trickled out of bounds and Penn retained possession with that effort with 11 seconds to go.

On the inbounds, the ball was worked around to Allen at the wing, who was set to continue the play with a pass, but saw her defender out of place and headed for the basket. She sunk the layup for the final two of her career-high 18 points and gave Penn the lead back.

Miami (8-5) got off a deep three, but it was off the back iron and the Quakers pulled off their sixth straight win. It matches the longest winning streak under Coach McLaughlin and is currently the program's longest non-conference win streak in 13 years.

"This is obviously a huge win for our program," said head coach Mike McLaughlin, "and it is well-deserved for our players who have put in the time, effort and commitment, and it is an incredible feeling to see them rewarded for that today."

"I have a deep respect for Penn, and I loved watching them on film," said Hurricanes head coach Katie Meier, who has led Miami to three straight NCAA tournament appearances. "At a certain point, Penn was playing so well and...the team that wanted it more and was playing their guts out was Penn. That team won.”

The storyline leading into this one was the Homecoming of senior captain Alyssa Baron, who is a Miami, Fla., native and currently ranks in the top-five all-time at Penn in nearly every major category. And she did not dissapoint her very large and loud cheering section behind the Penn bench.

Baron nearly had a double-double with 14 points and eight assists. Though it was a complete team effort throughout as Penn had 18 assists on 22 baskets and nine different Quakers scored.

The Quakers came out with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor. Allen had two quick buckets and then Kathleen Roche, McCullough, Renee Busch and Baron each hit a three in a 12-0 run to give Penn a 20-7 lead at the 12:28 mark.

Miami scored six straight, but Penn responded with seven in a row and led 27-13 after Baron sunk another three. The Quakers built that lead to 16, 40-24, and took a 14-point lead into the half, 40-26.

The Hurricanes played with some passion to start the second half and closed the Penn lead to eight within the first three minutes. But the Quakers were undaunted on the road.

McCullough and the Quakers handled Miami's full-court pressure throughout the game and then forced a key turnover off some of their own. After Allen hit a three, Baron stole the ball in the backcourt and Sydney Stipanovich converted a layup for a quick five points to steal momentum back. That put Penn up 47-34 with 15:09 to play.

Miami once again got within eight, 50-42, with 12:33 to go, but the teams traded buckets for the next six minutes or so.

That's when the Hurricanes went on a run. A 60-52 lead with 6:07 remaining evaporated over the next four minutes. Miami tied the game at 62-62 with 2:32 left and then took its first lead moments later. The deficit was four when McCullough hit the clutch three-pointer to set up Allen's winner.

Allen was two rebounds shy of a double-double and added three assists in 38 minutes. Baron was 4-of-6 from three-point range and also contributed five rebounds and a pair of steals in a memorable Homecoming. McCullough had nine points and just one turnover in 39 minutes against heavy pressure. Bonenberger finished with five points and six rebounds, while Stipanovich had nine points, six rebounds and four blocks in 32 minutes off the bench.

Penn entered the game shooting below 20 percent from beyond the arc. But that was in 2013. In the New Year, Penn was an impressive 11-of-23 (47.8%) from three and shot 22-of-51 (43.1%) overall.

Meanwhile, the Quakers held Miami to 38 percent shooting (27-of-72) and 3-of-18 (16.7%) from three-point range. Miami won the rebounding battle, 46-37. The Quakers had 15 turnovers, but forced 10 miscues from the Hurricantes.

Penn has now won two straight games in dramatic fashion. Prior to the holiday break, Baron hit the game-winner jumper with 2.6 seconds to go in a 46-44 win over city rival Drexel on Dec. 21. The Quakers, who had lost all 13 previous games against ACC opponents, also won their first game in the state of Florida since 1982 in their first trip to the Sunshine State in 20 years.

The Quakers will stay in Miami through Thursday and then return home to Philadelphia where they will prepare for a home game against Norfolk State on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Download: 8-Miami Box.pdf