Saint Joseph’s gave Penn women’s basketball a reality check Tuesday night at the Palestra. After the Quakers’ comfortable season-opening victory Saturday over Marist, the undefeated Hawks cut them down, 72-48.
The Hawks have run up 20-plus-point margins of victory in each of their first three games (including at Yale). Their top scorers from last year have returned, joined by grad student Chloe Welch and freshman Gabby Casey, two of the five Hawks who hit double figures at Penn. Sophomore forward Laura Ziegler led the way with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
How good are these Hawks offensively? Well, in the first quarter, they hit a third of their shots, including 1-for-3 from three, and the Quakers kept pace. In the second quarter, St. Joe’s hit half of its shots, including 2-for-4 from three (the killer being a buzzer-beater from just inside half-court to leave Penn seven points down). In the third quarter: 57% overall, 40% of threes. In the final quarter, 75% on all shots, including 3-for-4 on threes.
With the season a few weeks away, the Ivy League hosted Women’s Basketball Media Day on Monday, the first of two media availabilities this week. The event was hosted over Zoom for media members and is available on the conference’s YouTube channel.
The preseason media poll was released last Thursday with Princeton earning all 16 first-place votes. Last year’s Ivy Tournament winner and regular season co-champions are the sixth unanimous pick in league history and the first since Penn in 2016-2017.
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.
How many times have we written this headline: Padilla leads Penn women past (fill in the blank)?
From deep, slashing through the lane and standing calmly at the free-throw line, the All-Ivy senior guard has so often been the difference. She was again Friday night at the Palestra with 28 points as the Quakers stopped Cornell, 62-54, for their eighth straight win.
It was a match between two teams on the rise this season, both looking down a long road of Ivy games with a chance of making the conference tournament. (The Penn women have qualified for it four times but missed last year’s. Cornell reached the tournament in 2019.) And a lively game showed that both are capable, if uneven.
Kayla Padilla capped a milestone day with a left-handed drive through three defenders and led the Penn women to a raucous 62-61 win over Temple Sunday at the Palestra.
The basket with 6.8 seconds left gave Padilla 28 points on the day and 1,013 in her COVID-shortened career. The Quakers (6-5) head into a break for finals and Christmas with a five-game winning streak — sure to hit six, let’s face it, December 30 against Gwynedd Mercy before the start of Ivy play.