Penn women’s basketball demolishes Dartmouth, 79-41

Pity the Dartmouth women’s basketball team. It rolled into the Palestra against a bigger, faster Penn team that needed the win for a chance at the postseason, and it got flattened.

The Big Green scored just 15 points in the first half, mostly on threes because the Penn defense was suffocating inside the arc. Even after the midpoint of the third quarter, two Penn players, junior Stina Almqvist and freshman Mataya Gayle, were outscoring Dartmouth — not together, but individually. Penn coach Mike McLaughlin soon gave his starters the rest of the night off, but things still didn’t get appreciably better for Dartmouth as Penn won, 79-41.
How bad was it? Dartmouth shot 15% in the first quarter, 23% in the second — an improvement, yes, but we’re talking about 3-for-13 instead of 2-for-13. The second half was better — 36% — but even with its bench on the floor, Penn outshot and outscored Dartmouth in each quarter. All told, Penn shot the lights out: 73% in the first quarter and 52% overall, including 42% — 10-for-24 — from beyond the arc.
A week after committing a heinous 20 turnovers against Brown, Penn had just four against Dartmouth. Instead of throwing the ball away, the Quakers were connecting for baskets — 20 assists on the team’s 33 buckets.
Almqvist seemingly couldn’t miss from the field, scoring 21 points in 21 minutes on 10-for-13 shooting and adding nine rebounds. Senior forward Jordan Obi also came just short of a double-double in her 20 minutes on the floor as she dominated inside: 11 rebounds and eight points on 4-for-5 shooting, plus three blocks and a steal. And Gayle’s 24 minutes produced 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting — including 4-for-6 from deep — and four assists.
This was also a good night for senior forward Floor Toonders, a 6-foot-4 target in the paint for her fellow Quakers’ passes. She had nine points on 4-for-4 shooting in her 16 minutes of action.
“I think it was really the defense that made it happen for us today,” Almqvist said in an ESPN+ interview afterward.
“We said it in the locker room before: This is basically a game of who wants it more, and I think everyone, from top to bottom of the team, everyone showed it, so I’m super proud of our team,” she said.
This has been a tough year for Linda Cimino’s Dartmouth players, who have a lone Ivy victory — against their sisters in futility, Cornell. And their final games of the year are against two of the Ivies’ best, Saturday at Princeton and Tuesday at Harvard.
Penn for the moment is alone in fourth place in the Ivies, a game up on Brown and Yale — but facing Harvard and Princeton on successive Saturdays. If anything can set the Quakers up for a victory over Harvard in the Palestra on Senior Day, it ought to be their sublime performance against Dartmouth.