Penn women’s basketball tops Yale, 66-52

There was no mystery about the Penn women’s basketball mission this weekend: Travel to New England and beat their two rivals for the last spot in Ivy Madness. And they accomplished half of that mission Friday night in New Haven, never trailing in a convincing victory over Yale, 66-52.

Just 13 days earlier, Yale senior guard Jenna Clark had carried the Bulldogs to an overtime win in West Philly with 25 points and nine assists. At home this time, Clark again got nine assists but zero points — shooting zip-for-9 — for just her second scoreless start in a Yale uniform. The Penn defense kept Yale off balance. In a dreadful first quarter, the Bulldogs had three shot clock violations and scored just four points on 15% shooting (to Penn’s 14 points and 46%).

Throughout the game, Yale struggled to penetrate and settled for midrange jumpers. As a result, the home team took just four foul shots (on just 10 Quaker fouls). And the hosts failed to hit a three all night.
“I thought we did a really good job [on defense],” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin told ESPN+ afterward. As for Clark, he said, “When we played them a couple weeks ago, she controlled the game for 40 minutes. She’s so good. I thought we did a better job containing her.”
Where Yale struggled to reach the basket on drives, Penn succeeded. Junior Stina Almqvist scored repeatedly with her scoop shot from both sides of the lane and finished with 18 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Freshman point guard Mataya Gayle delivered 14 points, including a three at the buzzer to give Penn a nine-point lead at halftime.
Senior forward Jordan Obi made sure the lead stuck.
“I thought Jordan was really solid,” McLaughlin said. “I thought she was a little passive at times offensively in the first half, but I thought she was super aggressive in the second half. We’re so much better when she plays like that for 40 minutes.”
Obi finished with 19 points, nine of them from the free-throw line.
The bright spot for Yale was senior forward Brenna McDonald, who had a career-high night with 25 points on 12-for-20 shooting, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Yale (6-16, 3-6 Ivy) has a steep hill to climb if it’s going to reach the Ivy League Tournament, and it starts Saturday when Princeton (19-3, 9-0) comes to visit. Penn (12-10, 4-5) goes to Brown (13-9, 4-5), and one of those two will emerge from the weekend in fourth place.