Indiana did something to the Tigers that may never have happened in this century. Over an eight-minute stretch beginning in the second quarter and running into the third, the Tigers were held without a field goal, managing just two free throws. During this Tiger drought, the Hoosiers built a 14-point lead, 43-29. The house backed with Hoosier fans exploded in a frenzy of emotion, feeling relief that the Tiger bubble had finally burst, that the upstarts from the Ivy League were in over their heads. No more miracles.
Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony posted an excellent recap of the No. 11 Tigers’ gut-wrenchingly narrow loss at No. 3 Indiana Monday evening, Not much for Old Toothless to add.
One key to the outcome was the early foul trouble for Abby Meyers, sending her to the bench for nearly a quarter. Indiana defended her extremely well, which hasn’t happened often in her stellar career. As a result, she was not the factor she needed to be for the Tiger offense to get rolling. For the evening she shot 4-for-15 from the field. Her lone made three-pointer in seven attempts was a buzzer-beater after the outcome was sealed.
The characteristic that sets this club apart from any other, however, is its relentless determination to fight. They intended to make the Hoosiers earn their way into the Sweet 16. This Tiger team was not about to just go away, satisfied to have come this far. What followed over the final 16 minutes was a defensive effort that may have surprised even Carla Berube. Perhaps not.
Princeton held Indiana to 13 points over that stretch while putting 26 on the Tiger side of the ledger. With five minutes left in the game, the Tigers grabbed the lead at 50-49, capping a 21-6 run. Princeton once again led, 52-51, just under the one-minute mark.
While the rally fell just short, none of the Hoosier fans or anyone watching was sure of its outcome until, literally, the last second.
Indiana was a top-10 ranked team for most of the season and starts five 1,000-point scorers. The Hoosiers move on to face the No. 2 Connecticut Huskies in the regional finals in Bridgeport.
With Meyers not able to score, the Tigers had to look elsewhere for help. Their ability to do that demonstrated just how talented this Tiger team was. They got scoring from Grace Stone and Julia Cunningham, rebounds from the extraordinary Ellie Mitchell and defense from everybody.
The cliché is that good teams don’t rebuild, they reload. The Tigers are, indeed, reloading. Among their recruits for 2022-23 is Madison St. Rose, a 5″10″ playmaker from St. John Vianney, a New Jersey school considered one of the best high school teams in the nation. She will certainly be in the conversation for the spot vacated by Meyers.
Taylor Charles is a 6’2″ forward from Burlington Central, a school in the Chicago suburbs. She was on the radar of several Big Ten schools.
Blair Academy’s Tabitha Amanze is a 6’4″ forward-center who loves to play defense. She has had to deal with an injury issue but expects to be ready to play by the time she arrives on campus.
Carla Berube’s brief career at Princeton has been spectacular. Her record now stands at 51-6. In the Ivy League, she has won 42 straight. In only one of those games was the result very much in doubt in the second half. Harvard, in the final game of coach Kathy Delaney-Smith’s 40-year career, held the Tigers to a 72-67 win in the Ivy League Tournament semifinal on the Crimson’s home court.
In 17 seasons at Tufts, Berube’s record was 384-96 (80%). Her coaching achievements have sparked speculation that UConn may come calling after the 68-year-old Geno Auriemma decides to retire. Berube was a player on the Huskies’ 1995 undefeated national champion team. Tiger fans hope that she stays at Jadwin for many more years.
This remarkable season has now come to a close for the Tigers, but not for the Ivy League. We are rooting for the Columbia Lions to go all the way in the WNIT.
All of us at IHO are grateful for the interest in the site that our readers have shown. I would like to thank personally our most talented editor Mike Tony for his work not only writing and editing, but for his efforts behind the scenes to keep things going smoothly. Finally, all should thank Erica Denhoff, whose terrific photos have been featured on the site.