PHILADELPHIA – The stage is set.
The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team did its part. So did its archrivals to the north. Now, it is one game – winner take all for an Ivy League championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Penn dominated the middle portion of its final home game of 2015-16, outscoring Harvard by a 34-11 margin over the second and third quarters en route to a 62-46 victory. The win is the 23rd of the season for Penn – a new program record for victories in a single season.
Inside The Numbers…
Michelle Nwokedi posted her second consecutive double-double to lead the Red and Blue, scoring 18 points and adding 14 rebounds. She now has nine double-doubles this season, and did so in consecutive games for the first time since she had three from Nov. 15-22.
Her partner in crime, Sydney Stipanovich, filled the stat sheet as well. She chipped in seven points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks as she was a disruptive force all night.
Anna Ross and Kasey Chambers rounded out the Penn scorers in double figures, each finishing with 10 points. They were also distributors – Chambers had five assists while Ross had four.
Off the bench, Ashley Russell had a career game, setting new highs in points (8) and rebounds (4). All eight of her points came in the third quarter as she helped the Red and Blue to a 46-26 lead through three periods.
Penn’s defense contained the Crimson after the first quarter. Harvard made five field goals in the opening 10 minutes, leading 15-12. From that point on, the Crimson made just 11 buckets over the final 30 minutes – a clip of just 25.5%
How It Happened …
The tide turned in the game during the second quarter. Harvard had ended the first period with a mid-range jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining. The Crimson would not score their next points until 6:55 later. By that point, Penn had turned a three-point deficit into a five-point lead and would not look back.
Out of halftime, Penn used an efficient attack to widen its lead. The Quakers were 7-for-13 from the field in the third quarter while Harvard was 3-for-12 and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Nwokedi and Chambers each had eight points in the quarter – including a pair of triples from Chambers.
It was the Ashley Russell Show in the fourth quarter as she nailed a pair of three pointers and totaled eight consecutive points early in the frame to put Penn ahead by 23.
The Red and Blue cruised from there, and allowed senior Brooklyn Juday a final bow to The Palestra crowd on Senior Night. Before the game, Juday and classmate Keiera Ray were honored. By the time the game had ended, they had won their 84th career game – more than any other class in Penn Women’s Basketball history.
It’s Penn vs. Princeton. It’s for the Ivy League title. It’s Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Jadwin Gym.
Download: Harvard 2.pdf