NEW HAVEN, Conn. Yale rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit and Erica Davis hit the game-winner with 6.9 seconds left to hand the Quakers a heartbreaking 53-52 loss on Saturday evening at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Ahead 29-19 at halftime, the Quakers (3-15, 1-4 Ivy) came out of the locker room strongwith senior Jennifer Fleischer scoring six of Penn’s 10 straight points to give them a 39-19 lead at the 15:13 mark.
The Bulldogs (2-17, 1-5 Ivy) slowly chipped away at the lead, however, cutting the deficit to 10 points at the seven-minute mark and down to five points after Jamie Van Horne’s three-pointer with four minutes remaining. The biggest factor in Yale’s comeback was the 6-foot-3 Davis, who torched the Quakers inside, scoring all of her 15 points in the second half.
After a Monica Naltner jumper gave Penn a seven-point advantage, Davis scored twice in the paint on consecutive possessions to cut the score to 51-48 with 1:55 left.
Senior Rachel Wilson was fouled on the other end of the court, and hit one of her two foul shots to put the Quakers ahead by four.
Yale’s Van Horne missed a three-point attempt on the ensuing play and the Bulldogs knocked the ball out-of-bounds, but Penn gave it right back after an in-bound pass was thrown errantly off the court.
Van Horne redeemed herself after the Quaker turnover by draining a clutch three-point shot with just 16 seconds left to make the score 52-51.
Penn did not get a shot off on the next play as the Bulldogs forced another turnover, which set the stage for Davis on the opposite end, as she drilled a 10-foot jumper with just under seven seconds left to give Yale its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
A last-second attempt by Fleischer bounced off the rim, sealing Penn’s fourth straight loss and giving Yale its first Ivy League victory.
Things looked good for the Quakers in the first half, as they went on a 20-4 run to start the game. Yale showed some life in the final minutes of the half, cutting the score to 27-16 before Penn’s Carrie Biemer hit two foul shots with under 20 seconds left to claim a 13-point advantage. But instead of taking that lead into halftime, Yale’s Stephanie Marciano nailed a three-point shot as time expired to make the score 29-19.
Fleischer notched her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while adding four blocks for Penn. Naltner chipped in eight points and Wilson scored seven points to compliment eight boards on the evening.
Davis finished with 15 points and two blocks for the Bulldogs while Chineyne Okafor contributed seven points and eight rebounds to the winning effort.
The Quakers return to action next weekend as they host Ivy League leader Dartmouth on Friday, Feb. 10, and Harvard on Saturday, Feb. 11. Both games tip-off at 7 p.m., at The Palestra.