Princeton regular season recap – Ivy women’s tournament preview

Prior to the Ivy League Tournament, Ivy Hoops Online is recapping the seasons of each of the four women’s seeds. Next up is No. 2 seed Princeton. We previously covered No. 3 Harvard and No. 4 Brown.

Record: 15-12 Overall, 9-5 Ivy (2nd Place)

Ivy Tournament seed: No. 2

Home 8-5, Away 7-7, Neutral 0-0

Present streak: 2 losses; last 8: 5-3

Record against Ivy Tournament Teams –

Penn (0-2): 57-62 (home, 1/7/17) and 40-52 (home, 3/7/17)

Harvard (2-0): 63-58 OT (home, 2/4/17) and 64-60 (away, 3/3/17)

Brown (1-1): 88-98 (home, 1/13/17) and 81-75 (away, 2/18/17)

Coach: Courtney Banghart (10th Season of coaching, all at Princeton; 207-85 record; 113-24 Ivy record).  She was the 2015 Naismith National Coach of the Year, following Princeton’s 30-0 2014-15 campaign.  She was a four-year player and three-year starter at Dartmouth.

Probable starting five: Taylor Brown (Senior, G; 24.1 mpg), Vanessa Smith (Senior, G; 23.8 mpg), Sydney Jordan (Soph, G/F; 18.6 mpg), Bella Alarie (1st-Year,G/ F; 30.1 mpg), Leslie Robinson (Junior, F; 26.1 mpg)

Key reserves: Gabrielle Rush (Soph, G; 18.5 mpg), Tia Weledji (Jr; G; 18.8 mpg), Kenya Holland (Jr, G; 17.0 mpg)

Nonconference                                                                              Conference

Category              Princeton            Opponent                           Princeton                            Opponent

Points                   64.8                        54.7                                        65.6                        60.1

Pt Differential    + 10.1                                                                    + 5.5

FG%                       38.0%                    34.2%                                    40.2%                    37.2%

FG Made             24.8                        19.6                                        25.0                        21.1

FG Attempt        65.2                        57.4                                        62.2                        56.8

3 PT FG%             32.0%                    24.4%                                    34.1%                    33.2%

3 PT Made           6.8                          4.9                                          5.5                          6.7

3 PT Attempt     21.2                        20.2                                        16.1                        20.2

2 PT FG%             40.8%                    39.5%                                    42.3%                    39.5%

2 PT Made           18.0                        14.7                                        19.5                        14.4

2 PT Attempt     44.1                        37.2                                        46.1                        36.6

FT%                        63.4%                    66.2%                                    66.4%                    70.3%

FT Made              8.5                          10.5                                        10.1                        11.1

FT Attempt         13.5                        15.9                                        15.3                        15.8

Fouls                     18.3                        15.6                                        17.4        15.2

Rebounds           45.0                        38.2                                        41.1                        36.0

Differential         + 6.8                                                                      + 5.1

O-Rebounds      16.0                        11.2                                        14.2                        10.5

D-Rebounds       29.0                        27.0                                        26.9                        25.5

Off Reb %            37.2%                    27.9%                                    35.8%                    28.1%

Def Reb %           72.1%                    62.8%                                    71.9%                    64.2%

Assists                  15.4                        11.5                                        12.9                        13.3

Turnovers           16.5                        17.6                                        14.6                        15.5

TO Diff                  + 1.1                                                                      + 0.9

Steals                    8.5                          8.4                                          8.9                          6.7

Blocks                   4.3                          4.1                                          4.8                          3.5

 

Alarie  (nonconf)              11.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 39.4% FG%, 32.7% 3PT FG%, 71.4% FT%

(conference)     13.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 47.1% FG%, 36.6% 3 PT FG%, 65.2% FT%

Robinson (nonconf)        8.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 51.2% FG%, 40.0% 3PT FG%, 50.0% FT%

(conference)             12.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 49.0% FG%, 00.0% 3PT FG%, 61.1% FT%

Smith  (nonconf)              6.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 40.0% FG%, 50.0% 3PT FG%, 57.6% FT%

(conference)               8.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 52.7% FG%, 00.0% 3PT FG%, 77.8% FT%

Rush  (nonconf)                5.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 32.3% FG%, 35.2% 3PT FG%, 100% FT%

(conference)               9.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 34.9% FG%, 35.4% 3PT FG%, 88.0% FT%

Brown (nonconf)             6.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 35.2% FG%, 34.2% 3PT FG%, 77.8% FT%

(conference)               6.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 32.4% FG%, 30.6% 3PT FG%, 55.0% FT%

Holland (nonconf)           5.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 33.3% FG%, 34.2% 3PT FG%, 77.8% FT%

(conference)               4.7 points, 1.1 rebounds, 41.9% FG%, 43.3%  3PT FG%, 60.0% FT%

Weledji  (nonconf)          9.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 39.2% FG%, 31.8% 3 PT FG%, 81.0% FT%

(conference)   3.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 22.6% FG%, 31.6% 3 PT FG%, 56.3% FT%

 

Despite losing four of five starters from the Ivy League’s first ever NCAA at-large teams, the Tigers were still picked second in the league’s preseason media poll. The season got off to a rocky start with a four-game losing streak. The squad then went on a four-game win streak, including victories of 30 and 38 points against Rutgers and Lafayette, respectively.

After ending nonconference play at 6-7, the Tigers struggled out of the gate in Ivy play with two home losses to Penn and Brown. They regrouped and went on an eight-game win streak before losing three of their last four. While the loss to Penn at the Palestra was understandable, two losses, one at home to fifth place Cornell and the other to eighth-place Dartmouth, were more concerning.

This Princeton team has more balance than any group other than Penn. In conference play, it has put up the second highest amount of points, scoring mostly from inside the arc. Defensively, the Tigers are the second stingiest team in points allowed. They are an excellent rebounding team, especially on the offensive glass. They also know how to apply pressure, creating the most steals and the second-most turnovers in Ivy contests.

Bella Alarie is not only the favorite for Ivy Rookie of the Year, but has made a strong case for first-team All-Ivy. The first-year star is among the league leaders in points, rebounds, field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, steals and blocks. Leslie Robinson has taken charge during Ivy play and become one of the Ivy’s most dominant frontcourt players. Like any top Princeton center, she is top 15 in points, top 10 in rebounds and top five in assists.

As opposed to Harvard and Brown, Princeton has more experience. With three upper-class members in the starting rotation and two more off the bench, they should be able to handle the large crowds and pressure of playoff basketball. Against Harvard, the Tigers are an equal on the defensive side, plus are stronger on offense. If they have to face Penn on Sunday, things get more difficult, since the Quakers are stronger in all facets of the game, use to big games, and playing on its home court. If they get to play Brown in the final, they may have a challenge to put up a large number of points against a more carefree run and gun Bears team. However, if the Tigers can slow Brown down and the Bears’ shots don’t fall as easily as they did on Saturday at Cornell, Princeton should be able to wear them down and claim the automatic bid.

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