PHILADELPHIA – First-year Tori Oliver finished just one point shy of a double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds, but Penn raced away with a 65-50 win over the Lions Friday at The Palestra.
The Quakers shot 43.1 percent from the field, while the Lions converted at just a 31.3 clip after struggling to find their offensive rhythm for a majority of the game.
It was all Penn through the first five minutes of action, as the Quakers jumped out to a 13-0 advantage behind nine points from Sydney Stipanovich. Columbia regrouped during the first media timeout and stormed back with the game’s next 10 points. First-years Carolyn Binder and Devon Roeper recorded buckets during the run that was capped by the first of two triples in the half from senior Taylor Ward.
Penn was beginning to pull away late in the half before Ward came through with her second trey. First-year Carolyn Gallagher came down with an offensive board and sent it back out to Ward who drilled a 3-pointer from straight away, keeping Columbia within 10 at 27-17 with four minutes left in the half.
Stipanovich and Kara Bonenberger each continued to score for Penn though, putting the Quakers ahead 35-19 at the break. Columbia held a 19-18 edge on the boards, but Penn shot 45 percent from the field and outscored the Lions in the paint, 22-6.
Penn kept the offensive intensity going in the second half, going on a 15-4 run over the first seven minutes. Gallagher and Oliver scored for Columbia, but the Columbia offense was unable to string together points on successive possessions. Fellow rookie Binder hit from long range at the 12:57 mark, but Penn’s lead had already extended to 50-26.
Oliver made an exceptional play on both ends of the court with just over eight minutes remaining, first stealing the ball from Stephanie Cheney on the defensive end and then making a nice spin move that she finished with a layup and foul in transition.
The Lions closed the game on an 11-5 run that closed the deficit to 15 points, but Penn was ahead at the final horn, 65-50.
Columbia wraps up the season Saturday night at Jadwin Gymnasium, facing off against Princeton at 6 p.m.