Our Richard Kent caught up with Princeton women’s hoops coach Courtney Banghart, whose No. 16 Tigers are 24-0 with just six regular-season games left. Princeton’s 56-50 win at Yale last Saturday was its closest margin of victory all season.
IHO: Did Yale present any problems which were unanticipated?
CB: Yale played a really solid game. They were physical and ran with us on both ends. They made tough shots and capitalized on a sub par defensive night for us. On the offensive end, we forced too many early shots — albeit shots that we make on a regular night. When we moved the ball deeper into the possession we had more success. Our starting guards didn’t play well, but our posts were the difference. Sometimes, the reverse is true. That’s why they call it a team.
IHO: Were you surprised that you were left out of the NCAA top 20?
CB: We’re just going to control what we can control and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to in the end.
IHO: Are you prepared to host, if you are in the final 16?
CB: Yes, we are prepared and would be excited to host. We’re so grateful for the University’s support— all the way from the top. This opportunity has ignited many Princetonians to this journey. We would be thrilled to host.
IHO: Do you rue on any level not playing more Michigan type teams out of conference?
CB: Scheduling is a challenge for all top mid major programs. We play the best teams that are willing to play us. We make our schedule a year in advance, so we have to make an informed guess on who is going to be good a year ahead. We are proud of the schedule we played with historically successful programs from a wide range of regional and local conferences. My legacy has proved that we’ll play the best teams we can, every year.
IHO: Alex Wheatley has been getting a lot of publicity. Can you speak about her as a player and as a student?
CB: Alex Wheatley is a student-athlete that doesn’t come around very often. She’s an elite athlete with a versatile skill set, especially for a big. But she has the work ethic of someone who doesn’t believe she’s quite made it yet. She is key to any run in March.