The No. 10 Princeton women’s basketball team ran out of steam against No. 2 Utah, which beat the Tigers Sunday night, 63-56, in a second-round NCAA Tournament matchup at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
The loss brought an end to another outstanding and history-making season for the Princeton women, who finished the season 24-6. By winning their first-round contest against No. 7 North Carolina State on Friday, the Tigers became the first program in Ivy League history to win games in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.
The No. 10 Princeton women’s basketball team made history for the university and the Ivy League Friday night, storming back from the brink of elimination to sink No. 7 North Carolina State, 64-63, in a first-round NCAA Tournament matchup at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
With the stunning come-from-behind win, Princeton became the first Ivy League women’s program to win a game in back-to-back NCAA tournaments. Princeton also became the first Ivy school in history to win games in both the men’s and women’s brackets in the same year.
Senior guard Grace Stone nailed a clutch corner three with 4.7 seconds left to complete a 9-0 run to close out the game, but not before Madison St. Rose, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, forced a fumble on NC State’s final possession to seal the win.
The Tigers found a way to triumph despite trailing most of the game against a larger and very talented Wolfpack quintet. Kaitlyn Chen, the Ivy Player of the Year, and Stone each led the Tigers with 22 points. First-team All Ivy senior guard Julia Cunningham added 14 for the Tigers, who have now won 16 games in a row.
PRINCETON, N.J. – What looked like a rout for the top-seeded Princeton women turned into a close game, but they stopped a Penn comeback and took their semifinal game Friday in the Ivy League Tournament semifinal, 60-47.
The Tigers had reason to be confident: They were on their home court, they were the regular-season titleholders for the fifth year in a row, and they’d beaten the Quakers decisively just a week earlier in West Philly. Princeton scored first, then again, then again and again, setting up fastbreaks seemingly at will — 19 points in the first quarter on 50% shooting. Penn, meanwhile, was a portrait in futility: two points on 1-for-13 shooting.
“I felt really good after that first quarter,” Princeton coach Carla Berube said.
Ivy League Tournament V officially started on Thursday afternoon, with the four women’s teams taking part in press conferences and shootarounds for “Live from Ivy Madness.”
This year’s edition, the first-ever tournament to take place in a suburban setting, takes place at Jadwin Gymnasium on the campus of Princeton University. While the campus is incredibly picturesque, and the athletic complex has a lot of beautiful modern buildings that fit in well with each other, the basketball arena continues to be its own unique entity.
The previous locations at Penn, Yale and Harvard had much more intimate environments, whether in the press conference room or the actual arena. This year, everything feels much larger and more spacious. I’m sure most people would see that as a positive, but I liked it more when the reporters and fans were closer to the coaches and players.
As usual, the Ivy League staff and their partners at ESPN are doing a great job getting everything organized. The campus staff are also incredibly helpful.
I can’t explain why, but there seems to be a greater security presence inside the arena than past years. There were several guards going through the media room and arena, even though there was an incredibly small crowd this afternoon. Officials have also limited access to the stairwells and have rotating staff members operating the elevator for everyone. Feels a bit odd that we aren’t allowed to press our own buttons, but I’m sure they have good reasons for doing this.
Heading into the last two days of the regular season, Columbia and Princeton were tied for first, while Penn held a one-game lead over Harvard for third place. After the Lions, Tigers and Crimson each grabbed a win, the Ivy League Tournament semifinal matchups of Columbia against Harvard and Princeton versus Penn had been set. What needed to be determined was the seeding of the four teams and the timing of the two matchups.
When the updated NCAA NET rankings were posted on Sunday morning, Princeton’s convincing road victory over upper division Penn combined with Columbia’s narrow escape at home against seventh-place Cornell resulted in the Tigers overcoming an 11-position difference from last week and taking the No. 1 seed away from the Lions.
Editor’s note: Princeton-Penn is always a big deal, and our Toothless Tiger and Palestra Pete combine to recap Saturday night’s P vs. P action in audio and written form below:
It was The Kaitlyn Chen Show, but more than that, it was The Princeton Defense Show at Penn on Friday night, and the Tigers roared back (sorry) from a first-half deficit to beat the Quakers handily, 71-52.
In some respects, the game was meaningless: For weeks we’ve known that the top two women’s teams going into the Ivy League Tournament would be Princeton and Columbia, and that they would face Penn and Harvard in the first-round games. But pride counts, too, and Princeton knew it needed this win to get a share of its fifth straight regular-season title.
On the Penn side, too, the stakes were emotional: This was Senior Night, and Princeton was the only Ivy the graduating Penn players had never beaten. Truth is, they’d never come very close: The 15-point loss in January at Princeton was their closest score. Their best chance probably would have come in the COVID-canceled Ivy tournament of 2020, or more likely the canceled season that followed, when the career of Penn’s last dominant center, Eleah Parker, would have overlapped with that of forward Jordan Obi.
The conference’s next-to-last weekend began on Friday night with a nationally televised game between Princeton and Harvard, two of the four teams headed to the Ivy Tournament. The last time they met in January, the Crimson came away with a 67-59 victory, ending the Tigers’ 42-game Ivy League win streak.
Playing in front of more than 1,700 fans at Jadwin Gymnasium, Harvard took a 14-12 lead after the first quarter. The visitors used a late 13-2 run to open up a 12-point lead before Princeton cut it to 10, 30-20, at the half.