The women at Princeton will enter the NCAA tournament as one of just two undefeated Division I basketball teams. You might have heard of the other: the men's program at Kentucky.
With a slightly lower profile but a high degree of efficiency, Princeton concluded its 30-0 regular season Tuesday night with a 55-42 win over Penn in its Ivy League finale at the Palestra.
No. 13 Princeton has won the Ivy League title in five of the last six years, with Penn earning the title last season.
Alex Wheatley, a 6-foot-2 junior from Council Rock South, had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots to lead the winning effort.
"The Palestra is a great venue, and to finish up our season and to make it 30-0 here with all our fans was an awesome experience," Wheatley said.
The Tigers have won all but two of their games by double digits, but this was closer than the final score indicated. Penn (20-8, 11-3) trailed by four points seven minutes into the second half before Princeton began to take control.
"Once we were halfway through our league [schedule], I thought, my gosh, we may go undefeated," said Princeton coach Courtney Banghart. ". . . It's hard to look at this team and say you wish you could do more."
Princeton shot just 4 of 19 from beyond the arc, but Penn was 1 for 15 against a tenacious Tigers defense.
"Give them credit - their defense was really solid - but I thought our defense kept us in the game," Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. "We had shots, but to their credit they guarded us hard."
As the Ivy League's second-place team, the Quakers are an automatic qualifier for the Women's NIT. They were much more competitive than their first meeting, an 83-54 loss at Princeton.
Michelle Nwokedi, a 6-foot-3 freshman, had 13 points and 14 rebounds for Penn, while 6-3 sophomore Sydney Stipanovich added 13 points and three blocked shots.