Penn women beat Princeton for Ivy League title

Alyssa Baron and the Quakers will meet Princeton in the Ivy League title game.
Alyssa Baron and the Quakers will meet Princeton in the Ivy League title game. (Penn Athletics)
Posted: March 13, 2014

PRINCETON - To become an Ivy League champion, the Penn women's basketball team brought down the four-year rule of Princeton Tuesday night with a stunning 80-64 upset of the Tigers at Jadwin Gym.

The victory by the Quakers (22-6, 12-2 Ivy) sends them to the NCAA tournament for the third time in the program's history and the first time since 2004.

Princeton (20-8, 11-3) had easily handled Penn in 11 straight meetings, including a 84-53 league opener at the Palestra on Jan. 11.

The Ivy League is the only conference that does not have a postseason tournament to determine an NCAA automatic bid. Penn and Princeton came into Tuesday night's final regular-season game tied for first.

"I think what it comes down to is you develop into a great team," Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. "We have good players on it. I said to them in the locker room it was the culmination of everything - the extra work they put in all the time, their will, their desire and their determination to be a champion."

The triumph completed a remarkable five-year, worst-to-first climb in the coaching era of McLaughlin that began which just two wins in 2009-10.

Senior Alyssa Baron, the first key recruit who fueled the return to prominence, had 23 points. Rookie sensation Sydney Stipanovich had 19 points and nine rebounds, Kathleen Roche scored 17 points, and Kara Bonenberger had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Quakers.

"This is what I have been dreaming about for four years," Baron said. "Every year, we've been working for it and building the pieces of the puzzle. And finally tonight, like Coach said, we played in the moment and it's just so gratifying for all our hard work."

Blake Dietrick scored 14 points for the Tigers, while Michelle Miller and Annie Tarakchian each scored 12.

"Mike McLaughlin is someone we respect," Princeton coach Courtney Banghart said. "He's kind of living the world we've lived in, having the opportunity to rebuild a program, which is incredibly rewarding."

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