In a major challenge to the Princeton women’s program, coach Courtney Banghart announced per the Trentonian during the team’s media day Thursday that Bella Alarie, the reigning Ivy Player of the Year, will miss the first part of the season due to a broken right arm sustained in an awkward fall during an early October practice. She also mentioned that Abby Meyers will have to take a year away from the team and the university due to a “misunderstanding” in her computer science class that violated university policy, the Trentonian noted.
In her sophomore season, the 6’4″ Alarie was in the league’s top ten for multiple categories, averaging 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.3 rebounds over 30 games. She shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 78.9 percent from the free throw line. Meyers did not start any games last year, but she averaged 17.4 minutes a game in 28 contests. In Ancient Eight action, the 6′ 0″ wing from Potomac, Md., was the team’s second leading scorer with 10.9 points per game, shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from three and 87 percent from the charity stripe.
During the 2017-2018 season, Alarie led the Tigers in scoring 12 times, rebounds 19 times and blocks 23 times. Meyers, meanwhile, led the team in scoring on eight occasions, including game highs of 18 against Penn in the Ivy Madness final and 13 in the first round loss to Maryland in the NCAA Tournament. Both players were named to the All-Ivy Tournament team and Alarie was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Speaking at the team’s Media Day on Thursday, Alarie tried to look for the positive, after getting over the initial shock of her injury. “One of the main things is coach has been on my back about getting better with my left hand. I’m literally forced to. I can’t use (my right) hand at all. Every day I’m shooting with my left hand as much as I can. When I come back, I’ll have a lot more skill with my left hand and that will do me well in the long run.”
While there is no timetable for Alarie’s return, the coach is looking at the big picture. “She’ll be practicing here soon, but with how important the league season is for the NCAA Tournament berth, we’re not going to rush her back,” Banghart said. “She’ll be back as soon as she can, but not before I tell her she can play.”
Princeton was named the heavy favorite in the league’s preseason media poll released last week. With the team’s top two scorers, as well as its leading rebounder and shot blocker, on the shelf, the Tigers will now be led by starting point guard Carlie Littlefield (8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 2.8 apg in ’17-’18), team-leading three point shooter Gabrielle Rush (6.1 ppg, 48 made threes, 36.9 percent three point shooting) and wing Sydney Jordan (5.0 ppg on 50.8 percent shooting and 2.7 rpg). The suddenly new-look Orange & Black will start their season on Tues., Nov. 6 at Rider.