Penn women crash and lose to La Salle, 63-49

For much of Tuesday night’s game at the Palestra, neither team deserved to win, as Penn and La Salle traded turnovers and sloppy play. But after a successful third quarter, the Quakers put on a clinic in futility and watched the Explorers run away with a 63-49 victory.

How bad was it? Let’s say you were watching online, less than a minute into the fourth quarter, when a Penn miss bounced to Mandy McGurk to the left of the lane and she scored on the putback. Then, let’s say, your power went out, or the toilet overflowed, or your narcolepsy kicked in — and when you saw the game on the screen again, Penn freshman Lizzy Groetsch was driving the lane for another basket.

That happened with 50 seconds left on the clock, and in the intervening eight-plus minutes of game time, Penn had not sunk a single bucket.

Read more

Kayla Padilla shines in homecoming as shorthanded Penn women fall to Memphis in overtime

Kayla Padilla’s spectacular 36-point performance was almost enough to complete a Penn sweep of her Los Angeles homecoming, as the Quakers fell to Memphis, 73-68, in overtime Saturday.

Padilla had a cold hand and scored a mere nine points the day before against San Diego in the teams’ opener at the Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic. But Penn won that one, 60-55, on the strength of a resounding 20 points and 10 rebounds by sophomore forward Jordan Obi, Penn’s other Californian, and strong performances by seniors Mia Lakstigala and Kennedy Suttle. Lakstigala just missed a double-double herself, with nine rebounds and 13 points.

The Memphis loss was, among other things, a stark reminder of the price Penn (4-2) is paying for an unspecified infraction of university rules by the team’s upperclassmen. Each of them is serving a rolling four-game suspension over the first eight games of the season. On Friday, seniors Lakstigala, Suttle and Nikola Kovacikova grabbed 20 of Penn’s 33 rebounds; on Saturday, Penn had 38 rebounds — junior Silke Milliman, who sat out the San Diego game, grabbed 11 — but Memphis (6-1) had 53, and Memphis had 46 points in the paint to Penn’s 22.

Read more

Penn women lose well to Villanova after winning ugly at St. Francis Brooklyn

A win’s a win, right? And if you win by 17, you must have done well, right?

Then you lose by three at home — a bad night, of course.

But those two games for the Penn women were paradoxically disappointing and worth celebrating. Mike McLaughlin’s team escaped Brooklyn with a 63-46 victory Thursday over St. Francis. Penn failed to play its game with any consistency, and the Terriers gave the Quakers a good shake and would have had a shot at winning if they hadn’t had a preposterously bad night of shooting — 14-for-62 (22.6%).

Then, on Monday, the Quakers — minus their upper-class leaders — faced their first serious challenge in their first Big 5 opponent of the year, played with verve and discipline, and almost won again.

Read more

Penn women trump King’s College

What would you consider the most important aspect of the Penn women’s easy win against King’s College, 91-55, on Tuesday night at the Palestra?

Surely not the win itself, though a loss to any Division III squad would have been an embarrassment and a flashing red sign of problems at Penn. King’s has a good team with an excellent shooting guard in Samantha Rajza, who had 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. But King’s had no way to compete in the paint, so it lived and died by its three-point shots, putting up 36 of them and sinking 12.

Read more

Penn women open with win at Hartford

After 20 months away from the game, you have to expect some rust. The reflexes aren’t as sharp; the eyes don’t take in the court as well, or as quickly. The muscle memory — fingers on the keys, jumping to the stat book — is just a bit off when the middle-aged sportswriter returns.

No rust on the Red and Blue, though. The Penn women went to Connecticut and tore through Hartford, 85-42, as if they’d never put the ball down. (The final score is a bit deceptive; Coach Mike McLaughlin pretty much pulled his starters after three quarters to give his bench game time and keep the total below 100. Hartford won the fourth quarter, 13-7.)

Read more

Penn women shut down Columbia, 51-36

So what really mattered in Saturday’s Penn-Columbia women’s game?
Well, winning meant something, and Penn did that quite comfortably, 51-36, at Columbia.
But both teams were already locked into the Ivy League Tournament next weekend; only the seeding would be affected, and the loss makes Columbia (17-10, 8-6 Ivy) the No. 4 seed with the job nobody really wanted, facing Princeton in the first game Friday. Penn (20-7, 10-4) will be the No. 2 seed and face Yale. Columbia also was looking for a measure of revenge for a tight overtime loss in Philadelphia. Two top contenders for Ivy Rookie of the Year had a chance to show their stuff. And Janiya Clemmons, the Lions’ sole senior, had a sendoff in her last home game for Senior Day.

Read more

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.

Read more

Yale women stymie Penn to create second-place scrum in Ivy standings

With two weeks to go till the Ivy women’s tournament begins, Yale moved into a second-place tie with Penn in the conference standings, 71-54.
Since Columbia kept pace with Yale and Penn at 7-4 in league play by winning at Harvard, the odds seem good that those three will join Princeton in the tournament in Boston.
Roxy Barahman had a stellar night for Yale (17-7 overall), and the defensive-minded Penn team (17-8) had no answer for her. The senior guard scored 29 points on 10-for-21 shooting, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, and served up five assists as the Bulldogs won at the Palestra for the first time in seven years.

Read more

Penn takes revenge on Harvard in 70-48 victory as Parker, Padilla and company put it all together

When the Penn women have their whole game working, they’re hard to beat. On Saturday night at the Palestra, Harvard couldn’t come close.
Three weeks after losing to Harvard by seven in Boston, the Quakers (17-5, 7-2) scored the game’s first 12 points and never looked back in the 70-48 victory. Four Quakers hit double figures.
Harvard (14-9, 5-5) has lost three in a row and is in danger of missing the Ivy League Tournament in its own gym. (Someone should ask coach Kathy Delaney-Smith how she feels about that possibility. Not me: I’m chicken. But someone should.) The Crimson probably need to win at least three of the last four games on their schedule to knock Columbia or Yale out of the way.

Read more

Penn stomps Dartmouth again, 67-31, as Eleah Parker dominates undersized Big Green

For the Dartmouth’s women, it was a different location but the same disaster when they faced Penn in Philly on Friday night.
When the two teams met three weekends ago in Hanover, the Quakers had just lost their fourth game in a row, but the New Hampshire winter air revived them and they shut down the Big Green, 66-33.
Friday’s game at the Palestra was somehow even more lopsided, 67-31. Penn (16-5, 6-2 Ivy) held Dartmouth (8-14, 2=7) to a woeful 19.7% shooting from the field with 18 turnovers. Penn, by contrast, shot 41.8% from the field and had 11 turnovers.

Read more