1. The talent is there for Penn
The team that showed up Saturday and damn near caught the Tigers is gelling later in the season than coach Mike McLaughlin might have liked, but the talent is there, and the younger players are coming into their own. It’s not just point guard Mataya Gayle, though she’s obviously made the strongest impression. It’s also her fellow freshman guard Ese Ogbevire, who banged in threes and slashed to the rim for a career-high 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. And players who were injured (Floor Toonders) or struggling (Simone Sawyer) in the first half of the season are getting more time and using it more effectively.
Senior forward Jordan Obi is the Quakers’ essential ingredient. On Saturday, she was the team’s top scorer, top rebounder and top force in the paint: 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks. She held her own against Princeton senior Ellie Mitchell and (off the bench) sophomore Tabitha Amanze.
3. Turnovers loomed large
You can’t win games against good teams if you turn the ball over 27 times. And a remarkable number of those Penn turnovers came on shot-clock violations, or by rushed passes or other errors as the shot clock ran down.