The two-time defending regular and postseason Ivy champion Princeton women’s team has announced its 2019-20 schedule, which features a non-conference schedule with two trips to the midwest and six games against teams that made the postseason in 2019.
In November, the Tigers will travel to the state of Iowa, the home of junior Carlie Littlefield, to take on Iowa State and Iowa. A month later, they will visit the Show-Me State to face Missouri and St. Louis for Gateway City native and senior co-captain Taylor Baur.
Over the course of the pre-Ivy schedule, the Orange & Black will face Rider, Seton Hall, and Hartford from last year’s WNIT, as well as NCAA qualifiers Iowa, Iowa State and Missouri. The Tigers will also welcome Penn State to Jadwin Gymnasium, looking to avenge last year’s 79-71 overtime defeat.
Princeton will start its quest for a third straight Ivy title when it visits Penn, last year’s regular season co-champions, on January 11. The Tigers will return to action three weeks later to complete their opening three-game road trip against Dartmouth and Harvard.
The Orange & Black will look to equal last year’s success, when the team went 7-0 on the road during league play.
After a weekend at home against the Empire State Ivies and a I-95 swing to Yale and Brown, the Tigers start the second half of league play with five straight home contests that could go a long way to determining the Ancient Eight winner.
Princeton will start the swing against Harvard and Dartmouth on February 21-22 before playing a midweek game against the Quakers on the 25th. The Bulldogs and Bears will arrive the following weekend to complete the crucial homestand.
These games should be a challenge, since the Tigers were defeated at home by Penn (68-60) and Yale (96-86 in overtime), while only beating Harvard by three (61-58) last year.
The Tigers will embark on the dreaded Empire State weekend to take on the Lions and Big Red in the regular season finales, before an expected return to Lavietes Pavilion for the fourth edition of the modern Ivy League Tournament.
Princeton went 22-10 overall and 12-2 in the Ancient Eight. In Ivy Madness III, the Tigers defeated Cornell by 21 points and then won the season tiebreaker against Penn, 65-54, for its second straight Ivy Tournament championship. Princeton, which earned a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, was up four at the half against No. 6 Kentucky but ended up losing by five, 82-77.
While the Tigers will be without key members of the rotation, Gabrielle Rush (95 made threes and 260 three point attempts, both single season records), Sydney Jordan (three-year starter, 26.7 minutes per game), and Qalea Ismail, the more important loss was head coach Courtney Banghart leaving Princeton to take over at North Carolina.
One of the most successful coaches in Ivy League history, Banghart left Princeton after 254 total wins, 137 Ivy victories, seven regular season championships, two Ivy Tournament titles and eight NCAA Tournament appearances. Her entire staff also left, with Carrie Moore and Jessica Imhof joining the coach at UNC, Addie Micir hading to Lehigh as an associate head coach and Cinnamon Lister going to UC Irvine.
The Tigers hired former UConn point guard (1993-1997; 1995 National Champion) and Tufts head coach Carla Berube to take over the program. Berube, a disciple of Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma, went 384-96 and had four Final Four appearances over 17 years with the Jumbos. In 2015, she was named the winner of the 2015 Pat Summitt Trophy, which goes to the Division III National Coach of the Year.
In addition to Berube, Princeton will welcome back two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Bella Alarie and first-team All-Ivy point guard Littlefield. Alarie, who has spent the summer playing for USA Basketball in the Pan American Games and 3×3 competitions, will look to become the first Princeton woman to win three Player of the Year awards, as well as the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer (presently 10th at 1,301, 382 from the top spot) and rebounder (presently 5th at 767, 332 from the top spot).
Alarie will also attempt to improve her chances at becoming a top 10 pick in next season’s WNBA Draft.
While the team will bring in four new first-year players in the fall, the biggest welcome will be for returning sophomore Abby Meyers. The 6′ 0″ wing from Potomac, Md. missed all of last year due to a violation of school academic policy. In her rookie season of 2017-2018, she averaged 17.4 minutes, 9.4 points, 1.4 assists and three rebounds per game over 28 contests.
2019-20 Princeton Women’s Basketball Schedule
11.5 (Tue.) vs RIDER
11/10 (Sun.) at George Washington
11/14 (Thu.) at Seton Hall
11/18 (Mon.) at Iowa State
11/20 (Wed.) at Iowa
11/24 (Sun.) vs MONMOUTH
12/1 (Sun.) vs ST. FRANCIS – BROOKLYN
12/7 (Sat.) at Marist
12/10 (Tue.) vs HARTFORD
12/14 (Sat.) vs PENN STATE
12/18 (Wed.) at Missouri
12/20 (Fri.) at St. Louis
12/29 (Sun.) vs NEW HAMPSHIRE
1/11 (Sat.) at Penn
1/31 (Fri.) at Dartmouth
2/1 (Sat.) at Harvard
2/7 (Fri.) vs CORNELL
2/8 (Sat.) vs COLUMBIA
2/14 (Fri.) at Yale
2/15 (Sat.) at Brown
2/21 (Fri.) vs HARVARD
2/22 (Sat.) vs DARTMOUTH
2/25 (Tue.) vs PENN
2/28 (Fri.) vs BROWN
2/29 (Sat.) vs YALE
3/6 (Fri.) at Columbia
3/7 (Sat.) at Cornell