Princeton women’s basketball dominates Dartmouth, 63-40, for eighth straight win

Princeton women’s basketball stole the ball 16 times from the Dartmouth Big Green en route to winning its eighth consecutive game, 63-40, at Leede Arena. 

Once again, Princeton (13-3, 3-0 Ivy) controlled the affair from the opening tip, leading wire-to-wire for the third straight outing. Princeton has not yet trailed in an Ivy League contest.

Although the Tigers entered this game as heavy favorites, there was no complacency from coach Carla Berube’s club.  The Tigers jumped out to an early 9-0 lead behind two jumpers and an assist by Kaitlyn Chen. Princeton’s senior co-captain and leading scorer finished the game with eight points on 4-for-9 shooting.  

The early deficit forced Dartmouth coach Linda Cimino to call a timeout and calm her squad. In her first year at the helm of the Big Green, Cimino has turned the ship around in Hanover.  Last season, Dartmouth won only two games and finished 0-14 in Ivy play.  At 6-9 so far this season, albeit 0-3 in Ivy play, the Big Green already have tripled its win total from last season.

Cimino’s timeout succeeded in stopping the bleeding for the home team, at least for a few minutes. Coming off the bench, McKenna Boyd, a 5-foot-8 senior guard from Williston, Vt., grabbed an offensive rebound and went up strong for Dartmouth’s first basket.  She converted the and-one free throw to make it 9-3 with 4:42 to play in the first quarter.  Two consecutive layups by sophomore forward Clare Meyer trimmed the Princeton lead to 9-7.  

Dartmouth’s momentum would be short-lived, however, as the Tigers ripped off eight straight points to end the quarter with a 10-point lead, 17-7.

The Tigers were led by Madison St. Rose, who tallied seven points in the first stanza.  The super sophomore from Old Bridge, N.J. finished as the game’s leading scorer with 14 points in only 27 minutes of playing time.

But the story of the first quarter and the game was Dartmouth’s inability to handle Princeton’s suffocating defense.  Faced with Princeton’s signature close guarding, the Big Green turned the ball over an astounding 13 times in the first stanza, 22 times in the first half and 32 times in the game.  Princeton scored 34 points off Dartmouth’s giveaways, the most points scored off turnovers by Princeton during the Berube era.

In the second quarter, Princeton’s defense continued to force Dartmouth turnovers.  In the first six minutes of the quarter, Dartmouth scored only two points but gave the ball away seven times.  Princeton was barely able to capitalize as the Tigers failed to score until junior forward Parker Hill netted a jumper with 5:38 to play in the first half.  The Tigers went to the locker room leading 33-17.

In the second half, the Tigers continued to build their lead.  An old-fashioned three-point play by freshman guard Skye Belker made it 38-18 with 6:54 to play in the third quarter.  A three-pointer by freshman guard Ashley Chea pushed the lead to 49-26.  With more than a quarter of the game yet to be played, Berube sat her starters and relied on her bench to bring home the victory.  

As has often been the case this season, Princeton’s bench played a significant role in this game. Fifteen Tigers saw action as the bench contributed 26 points to Princeton’s cause.  

One of those contributing bench players was Amelia Osgood, who returned to play for the first time after suffering an ankle injury at Le Moyne on Dec. 31. Osgood, a 5-foot-9 junior from Brentwood, Tenn. scored two points and recorded an assist and a steal in 13 minutes of playing time.  Paige Morton, a 6-foot-3 junior from Summit, N.J., tallied eight points off the bench, tying her season high.

It wasn’t all a bed of roses for Berube’s club.  The Tigers struggled from distance, shooting 3-for-18 from behind the arc for only a 16.7% clip. Princeton also didn’t look as crisp tonight as it did on Saturday afternoon in Cambridge in Princeton’s 72-49 romp over Harvard.  The Tigers turned the ball over 11 times and were outrebounded in the first half despite having a significant height advantage.  

All Ivy eyes will now focus on Princeton’s next contest, a marquee matchup on Saturday afternoon at Jadwin Gym against rival Columbia, the only other undefeated team in conference play. At stake is first place in the race for a regular season league championship.