Yale women defeat Penn to close in on slot in Ivy League Tournament

The Yale women started hot at the Palestra, racing to a 17-2 lead, and never trailed in beating Penn, 68-58, on Friday night.

This was pretty much a must-win for the Quakers (9-13, 4-6 Ivy) in their fight for a slot in Ivy Madness, where Yale (14-9, 7-4) would join Princeton, Columbia and Harvard.

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Princeton women dominate at Penn

Abby Meyers has scored in double figures in all 16 appearances this season, including 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds in Princeton’s win at Penn Monday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

The question going into their game Monday against Princeton was whether the Penn women, who have been inconsistent, could put together their best game against the Ivies’ best. The Quakers played well, but the Tigers played so much better, winning 70-50.

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Penn women cruise in substitute game versus Ursinus

You weren’t expecting a close game, were you? If so, you were expecting the Penn women to travel to Morgan State for their first game in 20 days. But with the coronavirus shuffling and scuttling schedules, the Quakers instead were playing host to Division III Ursinus, and the result was an emphatic 89-29 Penn win.

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Penn women fall at Bucknell in last game of suspensions

Half a team, half a team, half a team onward! So rode the Penn women into Bucknell, and like the Light Brigade before them, t­hey lost convincingly Friday night, 62-46.

This was the Quakers’ eighth game of the season, and it completed the rolling four-game suspensions that each of the juniors and seniors on the squad had to serve for violating an unspecified university rule. Sitting out this time were five women who have started multiple games this season: Sydnei Caldwell, Mia Lakstigala, Mandy McGurk, Kayla Padilla and Kennedy Suttle. They watched from the bench, and their absence on the floor was obvious.

The eight Quakers who took on a capable Bucknell team struggled in some key ways: shooting just 30% from the floor, including a hopeless 3-for-17 from three-point range; committing 18 turnovers that yielded Bucknell 23 points (while getting just two points from Bucknell turnovers); and failing to stop backdoor passes and drives that gave Bucknell 32 points in the paint.

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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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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.

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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 hoops roundup – Olympic exploits, incoming classes and coaching moves

Former Ivy standouts’ Olympic exploits

Olympic action in Tokyo featured an Ivy-on-Ivy matchup Wednesday when Maodo Lo helped lead Germany to a 99-92 victory over Miye Oni’s Nigerian squad in Group B play at Saitama Super Arena. The 2016 Columbia graduate and the Lions men’s third-all-time leading scorer led the Germans with nine assists and added 13 points in 28 minutes.

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