Penn basketball

Villanova to host Penn at Jake Nevin Field House

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Villanova to host Penn at Jake Nevin Field House

Villanova men's basketball is returning to the Jake Nevin Field House for the first time in 31 years.

Villanova on Friday announced that their Nov. 29 matchup against Big 5 foe Penn will be played at the Jake Nevin Field House, where they haven't played in since Jan. 4, 1986.

“The tradition of Villanova basketball is one of our program’s greatest strengths,” head coach Jay Wright said. “Many of the players and coaches who built the foundation upon which we stand today called the Field House home. By returning to the Jake for one night, we hope to give today’s Nova Nation a great appreciation for our history."

The Jake Nevin Field House, originally called the Villanova Field House, opened in 1931 and served as the Wildcats' home court until the Pavilion opened in early 1986. The facility was renamed in 1985 after legendary Villanova athletic trainer Jake Nevin.

Some of the school's most prominent teams called the Jake Nevin Field House home, including the 1985 NCAA Championship team coached by the late Rollie Massimino.

As Villanova's current on-campus home court, the Finneran Pavilion, undergoes renovations, the Wells Fargo Center will act as the Wildcats' primary home court for the 2017-18 season.

“We were eager to bring a regular season home game to campus for our students and this presented us an opportunity to do so," Villanova Director of Athletics Mark Jackson said. "The Big 5 and Jake Nevin Field House are a significant part of our basketball heritage and we can’t wait to celebrate that legacy by turning back the clock for one night.”   

The Wildcats are also slated to host Lafayette at Allentown's PPL Center on Nov. 17.

Villanova's full 2017-18 regular season schedule is expected to be released within the next 10 days.

Penn women's basketball tops Princeton to win inaugural Ivy League Tournament

Penn women's basketball tops Princeton to win inaugural Ivy League Tournament

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For the third time in four years, the Penn women's basketball team is going dancing.

And like usual, the Quakers denied Princeton its own NCAA berth in the process.

In the finals of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament on Sunday at the Palestra, Anna Ross scored 17 points and tourney MVP Michelle Nwokedi had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the top-seeded Quakers to a 57-48 win over the rival Tigers to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

"It's been a tremendous ride with this team," Penn head coach Mike McLaughlin said. "It's a celebration they'll remember forever. We've been fortunate enough to win three of the last four Ivy League championships but this one is special because it's on our court. It's something to really cherish forever."

Penn had rolled to the Ivy League championship -- its fifth in program history and third in the last four years -- and capped a 13-1 Ivy League regular season record with a win over Princeton in the same building less than a week ago.

But with the addition of a four-team conference tournament this year, the Quakers had more work to do to return to the Big Dance. And they got the job done by knocking off Brown in Saturday's semifinal before denying Princeton a chance to win two titles in the same day.

The Tigers had won the men's title earlier, beating Yale in the title game a day after rallying from a 10-point second-half deficit to stun Penn in the semifinals.

But many of the Penn men players were at the Palestra on Sunday to cheer on the women, who danced at center court and cut down the nets in their own gym after knocking off the hated Tigers for the third time this season.

"I couldn't ask for anything more," said standout senior Sydney Stipanovich, the only player to be a part of all three title-winning teams (2014, 2016, 2017). "The last four years have been amazing. I wish I could be here for another four years. I couldn't ask for a better way to end my senior year on the Palestra floor."

After leading by just one through one quarter, the Quakers dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 14-4. Second-seeded Princeton -- which beat Harvard in the semifinals after a 9-5 Ivy regular season -- missed its first 14 baskets of the second quarter as Penn clamped down defensively and took a comfortable 29-18 halftime lead.

Nwokedi drilled two straight three-pointers to start the second half to send the Quakers to a 35-19 advantage, and senior point guard Kasey Chambers (13 points, five assists) made a couple of big threes in the fourth quarter to help fend off a Princeton charge.

"Kasey is a winner," McLaughlin said. "She's got heart, she's got guts, and she is one of the better winners I've ever coached."

Penn will find out where it's going in the NCAA Tournament during the women's selection show Monday evening. The Quakers have never won an NCAA tourney game but had all-time NCAA leading scorer Kelsey Plum and Washington on the ropes in last year's first-round contest before the Huskies stormed to the Final Four.

Penn will likely join Temple as Big 5 women's teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Owls are poised to earn an at-large berth following a 24-7 regular season.

"We're gonna play as long as we can," Stipanovich said. "There's no doubt we can get a win -- or even more."

Instant Replay: Penn falls to top-seeded Princeton in Ivy League Tournament

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Instant Replay: Penn falls to top-seeded Princeton in Ivy League Tournament

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For the first 40 minutes of the game, the University of Pennsylvania never trailed. Yet, despite a 10-point lead and a chance to seal the game in the final minute, the Quakers fell victim to the chaos of March Madness. 

Princeton forced overtime with a thrilling comeback and narrowly topped Penn, rallying in a 72-64 win at the Palestra in the semifinal of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.

Sophomore guard Myles Stephens tied the game on a putback layup with just 5.3 seconds left in regulation before handing the Tigers their first lead at the start of overtime. In overtime, Princeton scored the first nine points and stifled the Quakers, sealing the comeback.

Stephens led all scorers with 21 points while freshman Ryan Betley nearly led an upset victory with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

No. 1 seed Princeton had to play a pseudo road game Saturday against the Quakers, who finished just 6-8 in conference play. It was apparent from the opening tip that the crowd was on Penn's side. 

In the early second half, Penn extended its lead to 10 points with just 16 minutes to go. From there on out, it was all Tigers. Amir Bell and Stephens led the thrilling comeback, needing just eight minutes to erase the deficit and tie the game at 49. 

From there, it was back and forth like a classic Penn-Princeton duel of previous decades. Tied at 57 with under a minute to go, Matt Howard drained a jumper to put Penn ahead. However, after a Princeton miss, Howard missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Stephens' putback on Bell's miss tied the game and forced overtime.

Bell had 16 points off the bench while Cannady, who went just 1 for 8 from the field, was a perfect 10 for 10 from the free-throw line and had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Howard had 17 points while freshman A.J. Brodeur had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards for the Quakers. 

With the win, Princeton moves to 22-6 while the Quakers finish the season at 13-15 with three losses to the Tigers. Princeton has now won eight straight games against Penn dating back to Jan. 11, 2014.

First half
The Quakers blitzed the Tigers from the start Saturday afternoon. They began the game on a 7-2 run and led for the entire first half. It was a shocking reversal from the two schools' prior meetings in which Penn led for a total of just 3:17 combined during two losses.

Betley was nearly unstoppable for Penn before the break. He made all five of his shots, including two threes, en route to 12 points while grabbing a game-high seven rebounds. Penn stretched its lead to as much as nine, 28-19, before junior guard Amir Bell led a Tigers run before halftime. By the half, Penn led by three, 33-30, while Bell had nine points on just three shots.

All-time series
This was the 237th meeting between the two programs. Penn leads the all-time series, 124-113. Princeton, however, has won 16 of the last 18 matchups.

Earlier in the day
In the first game of the tournament, Penn women's basketball overcame a challenge from Brown to win, 71-60. The Quakers will face either Harvard or Princeton in the final Sunday afternoon.

Box Score
• Penn shot just 8 for 27 from three-point range, including just 3 for 17 after halftime. Princeton wasn't much better, going 5 for 18 from deep.

• After eight first-half turnovers, Princeton coughed up the ball just one more time. 

• Penn outshot Princeton from the field, 40.6 to 37.5 percent.

Next up
By virtue of its win, Princeton advances to the Ivy League Tournament final Sunday at noon, also at the Palestra. The Tigers will play either Harvard or Yale.

Meanwhile, Penn's season is over with the defeat. The Quakers won six of their final nine games.