Coming off a one-sided loss to division powerhouse Princeton, the women's basketball team (4-16 , 1-5 Ivy) looked to rebound against another tough opponent Saturday night in Levien Gymnasium.
Penn (14-5, 4-1 Ivy) came into the game allowing the fewest points per game out of the entire Ancient Eight. But though the Lions kept it close for the majority of the game, they couldn't hold on down the stretch and ended up losing, 70-63.
The Quakers made it clear right away that they have the Ivy League's best scoring defense.
Their ability to simultaneously stifle players around the arc while still dominating the paint seemed to be too much for the Lions to handle early on. With 8:47 left in the half, the Light Blue was down by 11.
Then Columbia started to use the high post to create scoring opportunities, bringing the score to 33-30 at the end of the first 20 minutes.
Early in the second half, the Quakers made their adjustments to Columbia's high post offense that was so effective late in the first. Although Penn was able to keep its lead hovering around 10 points for the majority of the half, the Lions were able to cut the lead late in the game, thanks largely to the stellar offensive post work by Bradford, who finished the game with 24 points to lead all Light Blue scorers.
“For her to bounce back from last night with no points to 24 points—that's a really good step for a player. It shows maturity and growth and competitiveness,” Light Blue head coach Stephanie Glance said.
Even more impressively, Bradford was able to bounce back against the Ivy League's best shot-blocker, first-year Sydney Stipanovich.
“I was thinking I had to get around her and use my speed on her,” Bradford said. “No player can be everything. You can be fast, or you can be tall, or you can be strong. She was taller, so I just had to be faster.”
However, as the game went on, Penn wore the Lions down, and ultimately shut down Columbia's offense in the final minutes while knocking down its free throws to stay ahead. Glance said that though the game was a tough loss, she is thrilled with the effort her team put in.
“This is where I was hoping we would be this season,” she said. “We can be competitive in a higher-level game against great competition, and we could put ourselves in a position to win at the end of the game.”
The Lions head north next weekend to take on Harvard on Friday and Dartmouth on Saturday.
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