PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/13/2018 – The University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team swept the initial Ivy Weekend of the season defeating the Columbia Lions 70 – 51 at the Palestra. Eleah Parker led the way with a career-best 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds for the freshman forward. Quite an accomplishment in her first Ivy League weekend.
“It was exciting, so much energy, and both games were intense,” Parker said. “It was challenging, but we put it through.”
In this game the Lions started out quickly getting an early advantage on the Quakers who missed their first six shots. Columbia lead 10 – 3 before Penn began to assert themselves.
The reaction by the Red and Blue was to turn up the defense. The pressure yielded 7 turnovers by the Blue and White in the first half. Meanwhile, Penn got good looks going to the basket, rebounding, then the three-pointers began to fall. After a 21 – 3 Quaker run, they would not be threatened.
“Once we settled into the game and started to power the ball down low, it opened up the perimeter,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “After the start we played terrific.”
“We got hands on a lot of balls. We showed that we can defend.”
On the glass the Red and Blue had a 54 – 36 advantage, 21 – 10 on the offensive side which helped to limit Lions forward Camille Zimmerman who is the leading scorer in the Ivy League and leading offensive rebounder.
“I think it was a big factor,” said Parker about offensive rebounding. “They are good on the boards. That told us that we had to go after the boards even harder.”
Parker made 11 of 23 field goal attempts, and 8 of her 14 rebounds came off missed shots by her Quaker teammates. In addition to Parker Penn got contributions from Ashley Russell who scored 15 points, 2 shy of her career-high, and 6 rebounds. Point guard Anna Ross had 7 assists and did not turn the ball over.
Guard Riley Casey was the leading scorer for the Lions with a career-high 20 points. She hit 6 of 13 three-pointers which tied her best-ever. Zimmerman was held under double-figure scoring for the first time this season as she had 9 to go along with 8 rebounds, 7 on the defensive end.
The Quakers turn their attention to Big Five action as the next two games will be at Villanova.
“They’re very good,” McLaughlin said about the Wildcats. “We’ll just let it fly and see what happens.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian