NEW HAVEN, Conn. — There was no need for overtime in the latest Penn-Harvard women’s clash. In fact, there wasn’t even any drama.
After two close games in the regular season, the Quakers steamrolled the Crimson in the Ivy League Tournament semifinals, 91-62.
Penn’s dominance extended through most of the contest. The Quakers scored the first five points, and after Harvard came back to lead, 10-9, with 3:48 left in the first quarter, Penn went on an 11-0 run to close the period.
The whirlwind continued in the second quarter. Penn extended its lead to 37-18 with 5:06 left in the half, and Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith finally called timeout. Quakers guard Ashley Russell had 10 points, Eleah Parker had eight, and Harvard stars Katie Benzan and Jeannie Boehm were held to just one basket combined.
At halftime, Penn was up, 43-25. The Quakers didn’t let up, increasing their lead to 26 points, 65-39, at the end of the third quarter.
“We had an extremely competitive mindset coming in, but I thought we played really, really well,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. “It’s hard to say, but it’s difficult to do, and they did it: they came out in the third quarter and just kept that same intensity up.”
Russell finished the night with 20 points and four assists; Parker had 14 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals; and Princess Aghayere had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Michae Jones added 14 points in an unconventional manner: she shot 12-for-13 from the free throw line.
As a team, Penn shot 54.4 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three-point range. Harvard shot just 28.6 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from beyond the arc. Benzan was 4 for 13 from long range and missed her only two-point attempt. Boehm was 2 for 9 from the field.
“We just knew we couldn’t let up,” Russell said. “We made sure we won every minute of the game, and we just kept doing that through the second half.”
Next up is another clash with archrival Princeton in the tournament final (4 p.m., ESPNU). The Tigers routed Cornell, 68-47, in the first semifinal, led by star Bella Alarie’s 21 points and eight rebounds.
Penn and Princeton split the Ivy League title and their regular-season games. Penn won at Jadwin Gym in January, 66-60, and Princeton won at the Palestra on Feb. 26, 68-53. They have contested every Ivy League Tournament final to date, with Princeton winning last year and Penn winning in 2017.
“This is the moment that we’ve been waiting for all season,” said Parker, who will match up against Alarie. “If we work as a team, if we do what we have to do as each individual player, it will come together.”