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.

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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.

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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.

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Layoff, Shmayoff: A solid start for Ivy League hoops

Announcers and writers around the nation focused a lot of attention to the 600-plus days between games for the Ivy League.  While many expected the teams to be a bit rusty out of the gates, the Ancient Eight acquitted itself quite well in the season’s first week.

Thirteen of the league’s 16 teams had at least one win, with the Princeton and Columbia women notching three victories each.  The Brown men almost upset No. 19 UNC without their top player, and the Princeton men just missed out on winning the Asheville Championship.

Check out some of the highlights from a very successful and welcome week of Ivy hoops:

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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.)

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Ivy League women’s basketball Media Day roundup

One day after releasing the conference’s preseason poll, the Ivy League moved one step closer to normal by hosting the 2021-22 Media Day for women’s basketball Tuesday.  For the first time, the league used a Zoom format to create a stronger connection between the coaches, players and the media.

In Monday’s poll, three-time defending champion Princeton was again picked as the top team with 122 total points and 12 first-place votes.  Penn, the 2019 co-champion, was selected No. 2 with three first-place votes and 108 points. The next three teams were close, with only six points separating Columbia, Yale and Harvard.

The Lions, which earned their first Ivy League Tournament berth in 2020 before the tourney was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moved up to third with 87 points. The Bulldogs, a third-place team in 2020, dropped to fourth at 82 points.  The Crimson, which finished fifth in 2020, received one first-place vote but missed the upper division by one point.

Cornell, the 2020 seventh-place squad, moved up to sixth for 2022 with 41 points.  Dartmouth and Brown, two teams with new coaching staffs, ended up with the last two spots, with the Big Green’s 29 points two ahead of the Bears.

Tuesday’s Media Day revealed the four tiers apparent in the preseason poll. But there could be a slight reordering near the top.

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