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Yale Drops Ivy League Opener to Penn

Lena Munzer (Photo by Steve Musco)
Lena Munzer (Photo by Steve Musco)

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Penn Quakers, defending Ivy League champions, provided a difficult opening test for the Yale Bulldogs in their first league game of the season. Penn ultimately prevailed 66-55 to move to 8-4 (2-0 Ivy), while Yale falls to 9-5 (0-1 Ivy).

The game went back-and-forth early on, with the teams trading leads and Penn emerging from the first quarter up by a point, 14-13. Penn began to pull away in the second quarter, as a 13-3 run gave the Quakers a 27-18 lead. Yale junior Jen Berkowitz hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer to keep the Bulldogs within 7 at the half, down 32-25.

Penn regained the momentum in the third quarter, outscoring Yale 21-9 to take a commanding lead into the fourth. The Bulldogs fought back, starting the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run, thanks to two 3-pointers by senior Lena Munzer and another by junior Tamara Simpson. The Bulldogs outscored the Quakers 21-13 in the final frame, but the early deficit was too much to overcome.

Munzer delivered a strong performance in the loss, scoring a game-high 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting, adding 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Simpson joined her in double digits with 12 points, as well as 3 assists and 3 steals.

Senior Sydney Stipanovich, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, led the way for Penn with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Michelle Nwokedi and senior Kasey Chambers also scored in double figures, finishing with 11 points each. Chambers hit all three of her 3-point attempts, which exemplified a broader trend in the game. Penn shot 9-for-18 (50%) behind the arc while Yale went 8-for-26 (30.8%).

Joel E. Smilow '54 head coach Allison Guth talked after the game about the challenges Penn presents. "This is a really well-coached team with talented players who have size. They buy into their system. They do a great job in their zone and pressure up the floor."

She added that, despite the loss, Yale has plenty of positives to take away. "I think we're really close. I'm proud of my kids…we are really close with not our best effort tonight execution-wise. Out kids came out to play. They competed. They wanted to win...They've got to execute the little things and control the controllables. They didn't do that tonight, but the positive is that they have the opportunity to do it tomorrow."

Yale gets right back to the court tomorrow at 5:30pm against Princeton in another Ivy League road game. Guth said the Bulldogs will be ready for the challenge. "That's why we scheduled a back-to-back during the season this year, so we knew what it felt like. Our kids are ready, they're prepared, they're young. They should be ready to go."

Filed by Andy Dougherty, Yale Sports Publicity