Consistent with her strategic plan to challenge her team, Carla Berube squeezed in a very difficult matchup for the Tigers’ final out-of-conference game of the season. She invited to Jadwin Gym another group of Tigers, the Towson Tigers of the Colonial Athletic Association – a top 50 club nationally.
The Princeton Tigers traveled to Ithaca to make their second league start against the Cornell Big Red this afternoon. The Tigers were grateful not to have to make the five-hour bus ride between games of the back-to-back New York State swing since last night’s Columbia contest was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
Following a comfortable trip yesterday, the Tigers were nevertheless sluggish out of the gate en route to an eventual 65-40 win. The Big Red, after an impressive road win a week ago at Dartmouth, were even worse.
The Princeton women made history Wednesday evening at Alico Arena, home of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The Tigers shot down the high-flying No. 22 Eagles, 58-55. It was the first win for a Tiger team against a ranked opponent since 1978.
The Eagles entered the game with a record of 63-6 since the start of the 2019-20 season, coming in at 7-0 on the year:
If you follow Ivy Hoops Online’s coverage of the Tigers, you know that we concentrate on coach Carla Berube’s commitment to defense, particularly the single-digit quarters the defense yields.
The big question for Tiger fans as their team took the court to face the Temple Owls in Philadelphia Tuesday night was the status of captain and team leader Abby Meyers. A leg injury kept Meyers on the bench in the final period of Saturday’s nine-point loss at Rhode Island, after a career-best 23 points. Thankfully, Abby was in the starting lineup against the Owls, suffering no ill effects.
Carla Berube’s quintet exploded out of the blocks, racing to a 15-0 advantage before the Owls could get their gun out of its holster. The first quarter ended with the Tigers up 17-4. Princeton’s fresh legs on defense gave the Tigers another trademark single-digit yield.
Temple found itself in the second stanza, holding the Tigers to 10 points while closing to within 11 at the half, 27-16.
One day after releasing the conference’s preseason poll, the Ivy League moved one step closer to normal by hosting the 2021-22 Media Day for women’s basketball Tuesday. For the first time, the league used a Zoom format to create a stronger connection between the coaches, players and the media.
In Monday’s poll, three-time defending champion Princeton was again picked as the top team with 122 total points and 12 first-place votes. Penn, the 2019 co-champion, was selected No. 2 with three first-place votes and 108 points. The next three teams were close, with only six points separating Columbia, Yale and Harvard.
The Lions, which earned their first Ivy League Tournament berth in 2020 before the tourney was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moved up to third with 87 points. The Bulldogs, a third-place team in 2020, dropped to fourth at 82 points. The Crimson, which finished fifth in 2020, received one first-place vote but missed the upper division by one point.
Cornell, the 2020 seventh-place squad, moved up to sixth for 2022 with 41 points. Dartmouth and Brown, two teams with new coaching staffs, ended up with the last two spots, with the Big Green’s 29 points two ahead of the Bears.
Tuesday’s Media Day revealed the four tiers apparent in the preseason poll. But there could be a slight reordering near the top.
The 2019-20 Princeton women’s basketball team was by no means a “one-hit wonder.”
It was the product of a process begun more than a dozen years ago. Successful coaches do more than win games; they build a program, an organization that can produce highly competitive teams year after year. Successful programs are designed to withstand graduations, injuries, and the inevitable clash of egos and personalities in groups of a dozen or more highly competitive and talented individuals. To achieve success in college basketball over time is incredibly difficult. To achieve credibility on the national scene with a mid-major program and no athletic scholarships defies belief. Princeton has done that.
In 1970, the 225th year of Princeton’s existence, school administrators decided to adopt the revolutionary idea of coeducation, not coincidentally, I have always believed, in the year following my graduation. One year later, varsity basketball was introduced as a women’s intercollegiate sport. The Tigers enjoyed early success, winning the first four Ivy titles following the launching of a women’s postseason tournament in 1975. (The women played a postseason tournament until 1982. In 2017, the present tournament format was adopted. The top four men’s and women’s teams compete at the same site over the same weekend to determine the league’s NCAA representatives.)
Two of the Ivy League’s brightest stars shone bright as Carlie Littlefield and Bella Alarie combined for 48 points as the Tigers tamed the Penn State Nittany Lions, 72-55, at Jadwin Gym Saturday afternoon.
Penn State (5-5) used a strong performance on the offensive boards to jump out to a quick 8-2 lead, but three baskets by Alarie helped Princeton (9-1) tie the game at 11. An Abby Meyers layup gave the Tigers the 15-13 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.
The Princeton women’s team finished the 2017-2018 season 24-6 overall and 12-2 in the Ivy League. They opened up conference play with a 70-55 victory at the Palestra over two-time defending champion Penn and never looked back on their way to the regular season title. They dominated Yale and Penn in the Ivy Tournament to claim the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their seventh appearance in the last nine years. Their magical season ended in a first round loss to the University of Maryland, the nation’s #16 team.
The Tigers had the Ivy League Player of the Year in sophomore forward Bella Alarie, who averaged 13.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 assists per game. Alarie, the league’s Rookie of the Year and a first team All-Ivy member in 2016-2017, was joined on this year’s first team by senior forward Leslie Robinson. Robinson, who was selected to last year’s second team All-Ivy, finished the season averaging 10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per contest.
Courtney Banghart was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year for the second time in her career and the first time since she led the school to an undefeated 30-0 regular season record in 2014-2015. The former two-time first team All-Ivy Dartmouth guard completed this year with her sixth regular season Ivy championship, eighth 20-plus win season and eighth 11-plus conference win season in her 11th year at Old Nassau.