Cornell women can’t handle Penn defense in 67-46 loss

ITHACA – The Penn defense was too much to handle for Cornell women’s basketball Friday night at Newman Arena.

The Big Red fell, 67-46, to the Quakers, their ninth loss in the last 10 games.

“They denied passing lanes, our ballhandlers, our guards [and] our perimeter play was really hesitant and passive,” said Cornell coach Dayna Smith. “They put the press on because they were scoring. That really negated a lot of things.”

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Penn women stop Brown to stop skid

The Penn women ended a bad week with a strong win Saturday night, beating Brown, 74-60, at the Palestra and locking up a berth in the Ivy League Tournament.
The Quakers dominated the inside; that was to be expected. And the Bears had some success with what they do best, outside shooting plus a fast transition game. But Penn kept pace with Brown from the outside: Penn was 10-for-28 from three, and Brown was 11-for-29.
On Senior Night for Penn, that outside matchup was personified by two shooting guards who have played one another very well for four years, Penn’s Phoebe Sterba and Brown’s Justine Gaziano. Each knocked down five threes; Sterba had 15 points, six assists and two steals, Gaziano 21 points and six rebounds.

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Eleah Parker leads Penn over Brown, 85-73

A team that’s talented, deep, disciplined and versatile will usually find a way to beat you. And a team that has Eleah Parker is well on its way to beating you in any case.

The Penn junior center from Charlotte, N.C., is 6-4 and powerful, with a nice shooting touch from almost everywhere but the foul line. She can go around you, over you and through you. Though she seemed tentative and fatigued for much of the first half of the season, she has returned to form the past few games, and she has rarely been better than Friday night in Providence, where Penn (14-5, 4-2) stopped Brown (7-13, 1-6), 85-73. The win was Mike McLaughlin’s 600th as a head coach.

Read moreEleah Parker leads Penn over Brown, 85-73

Led by Kayla Padilla, Penn has been full of surprises

The Penn women played Princeton dead even in the regular season last year and almost beat them in the Ivy League Tournament. They lost two starters to graduation, but this year wasn’t supposed to provide much in the way of surprises: relentless defense, a disciplined half-court offense, and dominant play by junior center Eleah Parker. Well, Penn has been full of surprises, most of them good.

Read moreLed by Kayla Padilla, Penn has been full of surprises

Class of 2022 hopes to help Penn women’s hoops with graduation losses

Although missing out on a Ivy League championship three-peat, the Penn women’s team had another great year in 2017-2018. The Quakers (22-9 overall, 11-3 Ivy), which ended the season first in the Big Five, second in the Ancient Eight’s regular season and runner-up in the Ivy Tournament, finished with its fifth straight year of 20+ total wins and 11 or more league victories. While missing out on the NCAA Tournament, Penn beat Albany in the first round of the WNIT before losing 53-48 at St. John’s in the round of 32. The Red & Blue will enter the 2018-2019 season without 3/5th of its starting lineup, looking to reload as it attempts to get to the post season for the seventh straight year.

Penn had one of the top defenses in the nation, holding teams to 54.9 points a game with 35.4 percent shooting from the field and a 31.2 percent three point rate. The team averaged a conference best 5.8 blocks per game and 37.8 offensive rebounding percentage, while having the league’s second best defensive rebounding rate of 69.6 percent. The Quakers outscored its opponents by 10.6 points a game, but struggled with 38.3 percent shooting from the field (7th in the Ivy League) and 33.2 percent from three (4th in the IL). If Penn hopes to dethrone Princeton from the top spot, the team will need to maintain its traditional defensive intensity while improving its offensive efficiency.

Read moreClass of 2022 hopes to help Penn women’s hoops with graduation losses