Bella Alarie out for Princeton’s win at Seton Hall

With 2019 All-Ivy first-teamer Bryce Aiken and 2018 Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns yet to see action for Harvard this season, will the Ivy League add another star to the conference’s injured list?

Completely in command against George Washington with just over seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s contest in D.C., Princeton’s Carlie Littlefield drove the lane, dishing the ball at the last moment to Taylor Baur standing to the right of the basket.  As Baur went up for the layup to extend the team’s lead to 20 points, she was met by GW’s Faith Blethen and Alexandra Maund, a Yale graduate transfer.

Blethen, who came from behind, fouled Baur and fell out of bounds.  Maund, meanwhile, went straight up against the Tiger forward and was knocked backwards.  As the former Yale forward came crashing down, she hit into Alarie’s lower right leg with both players hitting the ground and writhing in pain.

The cameras lingered on the athletes for several seconds, showing Alarie covering her face with both hands and Maund clutching her left leg.  Princeton trainer Jodi Schneider arrived quickly to help Alarie, followed a few moments later by head coach Carla Berube.  Maund was attended to by GW assistant trainer Aisha Russell.

The broadcast cut away to a commercial break, returning a minute later, as Maund was carried off to the Colonials’ locker room by two staff members.

Maund was the first to return to the bench, hopping on her right leg, less than 10 minutes after the collision.  Alarie arrived from the opposing locker room about two minutes later, with ice taped around her extended right knee.

Alarie and Maund, then using crutches, met in an embrace during the post-game handshakes.

The GW Hatchet reported that the Yale graduate transfer suffered a sprained left ankle and, according to her coach, would be out “for a few weeks.”

There has been no word about Alarie’s injury. Princeton Athletics did not respond to an email from IHO requesting information about Alarie’s injury and her status for this weekend’s games against Seton Hall and Florida Gulf Coast.

Berube did not mention Alarie’s condition during Wednesday’s edition of her weekly “Conversations with Carla” podcast.

Alarie did not play in Princeton’s 78-76 win at Seton Hall, a thrilling victory powered by impressive performances from Carlie Littlefield (19 points, six assists and six rebounds) and Grace Stone (16 points, four rebounds and two steals).

An injury to Alarie could be significant, not only to a Princeton team which is looking for its third straight Ivy League championship and NCAA appearance, but to the athlete herself, who is aiming to join the WNBA this summer.

The two-time Ivy League Player of the Year spent the summer playing for USA Basketball at the Pan American Games and worldwide 3×3 competitions.  Last October, she was named to the 30-player watch list for the Katrina McClain Award for the country’s best power forward and was later selected to the award’s final 10 in February.

Entering this season, Alarie was again placed on the McClain preseason watch list, as well as those for the Naismith, Wade and Wooden Awards for the National Player of the Year.  In addition, she has been listed as a first-round pick in several mock 2020 WNBA Drafts, going as high as sixth at High Post Hoops.

Even with a change in coaching staff, Alarie has kept up her high level of productivity through the first two games of this season with 18 points (on 56.5% shooting) and 10.9 rebounds per game.

This is not the first time Alarie and the Tigers have been in this position.  Last October, Alarie fractured her right wrist and missed the first nine games of the season.  After a rehab period getting into shape and working on her left hand shot, she returned to help a team that was then 2-7 win 20 of its next 22 games to earn a share of the regular season conference championship and its second straight Ivy League Tournament championship.

In 23 regular and postseason appearances, Alarie averaged 22.8 points (eighth best in the nation), 10.6 rebounds (29th) and 2.8 (eighth) per game.  Despite missing all of November and the first week of December, her 210 field goals, 525 points (including an Ivy record 45 points at Columbia), and 65 blocks were each the second-highest total in program history.