No. 12 Princeton loses to No. 5 Maryland in NCAA Tournament

Princeton last faced Maryland at College Park in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, losing to the Terrapins for its first and only defeat of the year. Playing at a neutral site in North Carolina, the No. 12-seeded Tigers not only entertained thoughts of a revenge victory against Maryland, but a possible second round win against N.C. State or Elon.  Unfortunately for the Orange & Black, the No. 5-seeded Terrapins (No. 16 nationally) had other ideas, ending the Tigers’ season for the second time in four years with a convincing 77-57 victory.

The Tigers could not control the tempo or the boards against the Terrapins, especially in the early parts of both halves.  In the opening 10 minutes, Maryland only shot 27 percent from two and 38 percent from three, but the Terrapins outrebounded Princeton by 52 percent and got seven more attempts in the quarter to open a 17-11 lead.  The Tigers, who got pushed away from the basket through most of the first half, finally broke through in the second quarter, hitting five of 10 two-pointers while their defense held the Terrapins without a three to go into the locker room only down 31-26.

Maryland came out fast in the third quarter, putting the game out of reach by scoring 64 percent from two and 50 percent from three as they limited Princeton to 10 points in the third quarter.  The Terrapins widened its lead to a game high 26 points with just under five minutes to go in regulation, before Princeton cut it down to 20 at the end.

Abby Meyers came off the bench to put in 13 points on 40 percent shooting for the Tigers.  Bella Alarie, the Ivy League and IHO Player of the Year, was constantly hounded near the hoop, but she managed to end up with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and four blocked shoots.  As a whole, the team shot 48 percent from inside, but only 20 percent from three.

Maryland was led by Kaila Charles, Eleanna Christinaki, and Kristen Confroy.  The three stars All Big Ten stars combined for 50 points on 52 percent two-point and 50 percent three-point shooting.  The entire team outrebounded Princeton by 26 percent and had almost as many offensive rebounds (16) as Princeton had defensive boards (18).

The Tigers ended the season 24-6 with regular season and Ivy League Tournament titles.  The careers of first team All-Ivy Leslie Robinson, Kenya Holland and Tia Weledji are now over.  The three seniors went 94-27 in their four years and 47-9 in league play, winning two outright Ivy titles, going to three NCAA Tournaments and having four postseason appearances.

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