The Richmond women started hot and never cooled off much at home, ending Penn’s season Thursday in a first-round WNIT game, 75-52.
There was no fairy-tale ending for Penn. Kayla Padilla notched 21 points on 7-for-18 shooting, eight rebounds and five assists — leading the team in all three categories — in her final game for the Red and Blue. She played all but the final seconds and got hugs from her coaches as time expired. But Richmond (21-10) played an impeccable game at Robins Court — jumping to an 11-0 lead and hitting five three-pointers in the first quarter. The Spiders’ lead built to as much as 29, and they outscored their opponents in each quarter.
PRINCETON, N.J. – What looked like a rout for the top-seeded Princeton women turned into a close game, but they stopped a Penn comeback and took their semifinal game Friday in the Ivy League Tournament semifinal, 60-47.
The Tigers had reason to be confident: They were on their home court, they were the regular-season titleholders for the fifth year in a row, and they’d beaten the Quakers decisively just a week earlier in West Philly. Princeton scored first, then again, then again and again, setting up fastbreaks seemingly at will — 19 points in the first quarter on 50% shooting. Penn, meanwhile, was a portrait in futility: two points on 1-for-13 shooting.
“I felt really good after that first quarter,” Princeton coach Carla Berube said.
It was a game of limited importance. The Penn women, in third place and assured of a spot in the Ivy tournament, made the long road trip to Hanover, N.H., for what was supposed to be a tune-up at Dartmouth, which had yet to win an Ivy game.
But Penn wasn’t playing like a team contending for a title Saturday — shooting poorly and turning the ball over repeatedly coming off a disappointing loss at upstart Brown a week earlier.
Penn held just a one-point lead when Dartmouth junior guard Mia Curtis grabbed the rebound after a Penn miss with three seconds on the clock and hustled the ball downcourt to senior forward Emma Koch for the layup at the buzzer — putting the Big Green ahead, 12-11, after one quarter.
Passion! Great performances! Revenge! You could enjoy them all on the radio — the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday broadcast had “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” — or you could find them at the Palestra in West Philly, where the Penn women took down Harvard, 70-64.
A month after suffering their only Ivy defeat, Columbia’s women exacted sweet revenge on Penn, 72-50, in front of a jubilant home crowd of 2,100 at Levien Gym Friday.
The win keeps the Lions (18-3, 7-1 Ivy) in first place ahead of a Saturday afternoon game hosting Princeton’s Tigers (15-5, 6-2), who will be seeking revenge of their own for their last loss, an overtime thriller at Jadwin.
The Harvard women staked their claim to a top spot in the Ivies with an emphatic home win Saturday over Penn, 84-60.
Mike McLaughlin’s Quakers are known for a stingy defense — backcourt pressure to slow you down, traps and steals, a mix of zones and man-to-man to keep you off balance. Carrie Moore’s Crimson were ready, time after time getting the ball to the high post and finding players cutting to the basket behind the defense to take the pass for the easy score.
Sophomore Elena Rodriguez was often the beneficiary, and she led all scorers with a career-high 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting. The 6-foot-2 forward also scored from deep (3-for-4), collected 11 rebounds, handed out three assists and collected a pair of steals. On a team with the Ivies’ second-leading scorer in fellow sophomore Harmoni Turner (12 points against Penn to go with an astounding 12 assists and seven rebounds) and two others in the top 10, Rodriguez — a veteran of the Spanish national 16-and-under team — has made huge strides this season and helped make Harvard a power again.
Also in double figures for Harvard, as usual, were Lola Mullaney (19 points on 8-for-17 shooting) and McKenzie Forbes (10 points and seven rebounds). The Crimson, cheered on by a crowd of 1,385 at Lavietes Pavilion, shot 52.5% from the field for the afternoon.
Two players on the court that you’d expect to light up the scoreboard simply didn’t: Penn senior guard Kayla Padilla and junior forward Jordan Obi. Obi had nine points and five assists. Padilla picked up early fouls, played less than her usual 35 minutes and scored just 10 points, all in the second half after Harvard had built a double-digit lead. It was Penn’s other senior guard, Mandy McGurk, who had the hot hand: 27 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
We’ve seen enough of Penn this year to know that a 24-point loss is an anomaly. Seven days before the debacle at Harvard, Penn blew past Yale by 22 points. Most days, Padilla has 10 points before the half — sometimes before the fans have settled down after the Star-Spangled Banner. The last team that scored this many points against Penn in regulation was Tennessee, then ranked No. 4 nationally, in November 2014. (Columbia scored 84 in an overtime game in 2020 — but Penn scored 86.)
It may well be that Columbia and Princeton are the true powerhouses of Ivy women’s basketball this season, as expected; Saturday’s games left Columbia on top with the league season half over and put Princeton, Harvard and Penn into a tie one game back. But this Harvard team has beaten Princeton and now Penn, and no one who saw Saturday’s game would swear that it won’t do so again in the Ivy tournament.
The second half of the Ivy season starts with back-to-backs next weekend. Penn travels to Columbia and Cornell; Harvard hits the road to Yale and Brown.
Four starters scored in double figures to push the Penn women to a convincing 69-57 win over Dartmouth Saturday afternoon. It’s the 11th win in a row for Penn (12-5, 4-0 Ivy), the last 10 of them in the friendly confines of the Palestra.
The young Dartmouth team (2-16, 0-4) showed potential that belies its record and its position as the Ancient Eighth. Still, Penn led all the way, and the game was never in serious doubt after the first quarter, when the Quakers built an 18-10 lead. A three by Dartmouth junior guard Mekkena Boyd cut the Penn lead to six early in the third quarter, but junior forward Jordan Obi answered with a three of her own, and the lead never dropped below nine again.