Princeton women proved greatness one more time against Indiana

Princeton women’s basketball’s season is over, but the memory of one of the most remarkable seasons for any Ivy in recent memory lives on. (photo by Erica Denhoff)
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.

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No. 11 Princeton women fall just short at No. 3 Indiana in NCAA Tournament second round

Ivy Player of the Year Abby Meyers’ 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting weren’t quite enough for No. 11 Princeton to deliver a win over No. 3 Jamal in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at No. 3 Indiana Monday night. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

Not quite.

No. 11 Princeton couldn’t secure the first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth in Ivy League history in a thrilling second-round matchup at No. 3 Indiana Monday night, overcoming early foul troubles and a shaky second quarter only to fall just short, 56-55, in the final seconds.

Princeton (25-5, 14-0 Ivy) allowed the Hoosiers’ game-winning bucket from senior guard Grace Berger with 29 seconds left, giving Indiana (24-8, 11-5 Big Ten) a 54-52 lead. Princeton’s subsequent possession went awry with an errant pass from sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen in the final game of her first year of action.

Two free throws from Aleksa Gulbe sealed the Hoosiers’ victory, creating a cushion to absorb Ivy Player of the Year Abby Meyers’ three-pointer as time expired to arrive at the 56-55 final score at Assembly Hall.

Meyers and Chen each picked up two early fouls, hindering Princeton’s early efforts offensively. But they were both part of Princeton’s push to rise from a 43-29 deficit with 6:16 left in the third quarter to a 52-51 lead with 58 seconds left.

Berger subsequently hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 52-52, followed by a missed three from Meyers that led to Berger’s game-winning shot.

Princeton held Indiana to just six points in the third quarter, and the Hoosiers committed 17 turnovers.

But Indiana did just enough to squeak by, notching 22 points against Princeton’s fourth-ranked scoring defense nationally in the second quarter.

Junior guards Grace Stone and Julia Cunningham picked up the scoring slack early after Meyers and Chen quickly got into foul trouble, leading the Tigers with 13 points apiece.

Sophomore forward Ellie Mitchell lived up to her Ivy Defensive Player of the Year honor, grabbing 15 rebounds (10 defensive) and notching a steal and a block while adding six points in 40 minutes.

Berger led Indiana with 15 points and seven rebounds in 39 minutes.

Meyers picked up her second foul just four minutes into the game, all but ensuring she wouldn’t approach the 29-point mark she achieved in Princeton’s first-round win over No. 6 Kentucky Saturday. The Ivy Player of the Year finished with 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting in 31 minutes. Chen posted 10 points and five boards in 36 minutes.

Princeton’s loss ends an extraordinary run that saw the program pick up its second NCAA Tournament win Saturday and run up its win streak versus Ivy competition to 42 games.

The 2021-22 Tigers were one of the best, most complete Ivy teams in recent memory, women’s or men’s. Even with Meyers graduating, the Tigers are the class of the Ivy League until further notice, and with a roster so deep and devoted to stifling defense, they’ve got more big moments like this in store in the future.

 

No. 1 Princeton women declaw No. 2 Columbia, 77-59, to win Ivy League Tournament and earn NCAA Tournament berth

Princeton celebrates its Ivy League Tournament title and automatic NCAA Tournament berth secured via a 77-59 win over Columbia at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday evening. (photo by Rob Browne)

The Princeton women showed off all the things that make them the cream of the Ivies Saturday as they declawed the No. 2 Columbia Lions, 77-59, in the Ivy Madness final.

The Tigers (24-4) head to the NCAA tournament undefeated in Ivy play, having won all but one league game — the dramatic semifinal against Harvard, this year’s tournament host — by double digits.

“The Tigers were just locked in to the game plan, to the scouting report, what we needed to do, what we thought would make us successful out there,” Princeton coach Carla Berube said. ”

Guard Kaitlyn Chen — in her first year of college play, like other Ivy sophomores — scored a career-high 30 points for the Tigers on 9-for-13 shooting plus 11 of 14 free throws and was named the tournament MVP.

Chen was just listening to her teammates.

“It definitely helps knowing my teammates have my back and they’re always there for me, and they keep telling me to shoot,” Chen said.

“I’m just glad, coach, thank you, that we got Kaitlyn Chen, because she’s an absolute baller at both ends of the court,” Ivy Player of the Year Abby Meyers said.

Meyers and Julia Cunningham had 16 points apiece, and Grace Stone had 12. The Tigers shot 48% from the field and collected 23 points on free throws as the Lions struggled to catch up.

Coach Megan Griffith’s Columbia team (22-6, 12-2 in the regular Ivy season) managed to come back twice. After facing an early deficit, they finished the first quarter tied at 16 and pushed to a three-point lead early in the second. And after Princeton built a 17-point lead in the third quarter, Columbia’s Abbey Hsu and Jaida Patrick combined for key baskets to make things interesting. Hsu finished with 16 points and Patrick with 13, and Columbia had a more than respectable 42% shooting night. That included 36% on threes — but the Tigers were more efficient there, too, at 46%.

What Columbia couldn’t do for any stretch of time was evade Princeton’s relentless defense, and frustration also seemed to contribute to the Lions’ 20 turnovers (to just eight for the Tigers). Princeton blocked six shots and committed nine steals.

“I’m not happy with that effort. They shouldn’t be either,” Griffith said of her players. “We played for, I would say, a good 15 minutes tonight. That’s not good enough against a good program. You’ve just got to want it more and you’ve got to show up, and we didn’t do that today.”

Meyers was the game’s only starter not expected to return next season, positioning Princeton and Columbia well for future matchups with more Ivy hardware on the line.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of great competitions between Columbia and Princeton in the future,
Griffith said. “I’m personally looking forward to that. I love a good rivalry … Penn and Princeton kind of had that in the last decade or so, but I do think that we are right there and you will see us in this rivalry for a long time to come.”

“They really have a great nucleus that [was] out there,” Berube said. ” … Yeah, I think it could be a really good rivalry for a lot of years.”

For now, though, the Tigers are top cats in the Ivy League, and they now turn their attention to the Big Dance.

“I’m just thinking about all these pieces that have been so monumental to get us at this place and it’s been such a great journey,” Berube said. “And I just don’t want it to end.”

 

Ivy League Tournament: Women’s semifinals preview

 

“Is there even a clock in March?” – Yale head coach Allison Guth in response to a question about the possibility of playing two games against higher seeds in 26 hours

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2021-22 IHO All-Ivy Women’s Awards

The Ivy League announced its major women’s awards Tuesday, but we know this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Ivy Hoops Online’s 2021-22 All-Ivy Awards, as determined by IHO’s contributors:

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Princeton women overpower Penn to claim outright Ivy crown

Senior guard Abby Meyers recorded 20 points and eight rebounds on Senior Night in a win over Penn Saturday. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

Senior Night at Jadwin Gym attracted a nice crowd to bid farewell to Abby Meyers prior to the Tigers taking on their nearby rivals, the Penn Quakers. The Tigers and their superstar senior did not disappoint.

Princeton responded with a resounding 69-43 win to claim the outright Ivy League regular season title.

Once the fiercest rivalry in the league, lately, Penn-Princeton matchups have been one-sided affairs. The teams met for the first time this season in January at The Palestra. Led by Julia Cunningham’s 22 points, the Tigers exploded for an 18-point run in the first period en route to a 70-50 win.

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Princeton women clinch share of Ivy League title with dominant win at Columbia

Princeton sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen scored a career-high 27 points and committed no turnovers in 40 minutes in the Tigers’ Ivy League title share-clinching win at Columbia Wednesday night. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Congratulations to Carla Berube and her Tiger quintet upon clinching at least a tie for the Ivy League regular season championship, her second in two seasons. The Tigers achieved their goal by soundly thumping their closest pursuers, the Columbia Lions, 73-53, at a delightfully packed Levien Gym on Wednesday afternoon. Can Kyrie’s return to Brooklyn be far behind?

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Princeton women send another statement by routing Yale, 74-36

Princeton sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen contributed 14 points, five rebounds and three steals, picking up the scoring slack after Abby Meyers got into foul trouble. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Carla Berube’s minions continue to amaze.

The Yale Bulldogs arrived at Jadwin Gym Saturday hoping to stop what has become a runaway freight train of a basketball team.

No dice.

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Princeton women and men riding high going into stretch runs after downing Dartmouth

Senior guard Abby Meyers recorded 19 points and eight rebounds in just 27 minutes in Princeton’s 70-48 win at Dartmouth Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

The weekend’s basketball produced no interesting storylines for either the women or men’s teams at Princeton.

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Princeton women shut down Columbia, claim supremacy in battle of Ivy unbeatens

Princeton junior guard Julia Cunningham led the defense-minded Tigers with 19 points in their win over Columbia Saturday, allowing them to stand alone as the Ivy League’s lone unbeaten team. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

The much anticipated collision between the last Ivy unbeatens, Princeton and Columbia, was far from the expected titanic struggle.

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