Thoughts on the upcoming showdown between No. 25 Princeton and Columbia women’s basketball

The No. 25 Princeton women’s basketball team travels to New York City on Saturday to face the Columbia Lions in a marquee showdown at Levien Gymnasium at 2 p.m. Here are three thoughts on the most anticipated clash of the season so far in the Ivy League:

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Princeton women’s basketball cruises past Cornell, 85-47

It was déjà vu all over again for Princeton women’s basketball. 

Three weeks ago, the Tigers opened their Ivy campaign with a resounding road win over the Cornell Big Red, 79-38, at Newman Arena in Ithaca. On Saturday afternoon at Jadwin Gym, Princeton delivered a carbon-copy performance, dominating the Big Red in every facet of the game en route to a 85-47 win.  

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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.

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Princeton women’s basketball scores early and often in 79-70 win over Quinnipiac

The Princeton women’s basketball team rebounded from a disappointing loss on Sunday to Rhode Island with an efficient win over Quinnipiac, 79-70, Wednesday night at Jadwin Gym.

The Tigers were led by sophomore guard Madison St. Rose, who scored 17 points and assisted on four other Princeton baskets.  For her efforts, St. Rose was named the Player of the Game by the ESPN+ broadcast crew.  It was a night of career highs for several other Tigers, including senior co-captain Kaitlyn Chen, who dished out a career-high 10 assists, the most of any Tiger since Blake Dietrick accomplished the same feat in 2014.  

Unlike nearly every other Princeton game this season, the Tigers came out blazing from the opening tip, hitting their first seven shots en route to an early 15-5 lead.  The Tigers exploited a height advantage in the paint, working the ball methodically into a pair of twin towers: Parker Hill and Paige Morton.  Hill, a 6-foot-4 junior from Bethesda, Md., was unstoppable, sinking seven of nine field-goal attempts for 14 points, while Morton, a 6-foot-3 junior from Summit, N.J., came off the bench for a career-high eight points.  

Despite facing a bigger and more athletic opponent, Quinnipiac, who defeated Rhode Island in their last outing on a buzzer-beater, would not go away.  A layup by forward Grace LaBarge punctuated an 11-4 run and brought Quinnipiac to within two with two minutes to play in the first quarter. The 6-foot-3 junior came off the bench to score 20 points, tops among all scorers.  The first stanza ended with the Tigers clinging to a narrow lead, 19-16.

Princeton continued its torrid shooting in the second quarter as just about everyone got in on the action. Junior guard Amelia Osgood, who hadn’t seen any playing time in Princeton’s previous two games, rattled home a long three to extend Princeton’s lead to 34-22. Coach Carla Berube dove deep into her bench, rotating in 12 different players in the first half.  The Tigers led by 10 at the break, 44-34, behind 16-for-26 shooting for a blazing 73%.

In the second half, the Tigers continued to find points in the paint.  With 3:47 to go in the third quarter, Mari Bickley, a 5-foot-10 freshman guard from Akron, Ohio, made an athletic move to the cup off a long feed up court from Chen.  With the bucket, the Tigers led by twelve, 56-44.  Bickley scored seven points off the bench for the Tigers, one of seven Princeton bench players to score in the game, a season high. 

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers’ defense stiffened, getting stops on Quinnipiac’s first five possessions.  A pair of free throws from junior forward Paige Morton put Princeton up by 17, 76-59, the largest lead of the night for the Tigers. From there, the Tigers coasted home to a 79-70 victory.  

While coach Carla Berube may not have been entirely pleased by Princeton’s defensive effort in this game, the Tigers looked more connected and confident on offense than in any other game so far this season.  Overall, the Tigers sank 33 of their 58 field goal attempts, or 56.9%, one of their best shooting performances of the season.  Even more impressive, the team combined for 22 assists, by far their highest number of helpers this season.  

During a postgame interview with ESPN+, St. Rose revealed the team has a goal of at least 15 assists per game.  The Tigers well exceeded that threshold against Quinnipiac, a primary reason they succeeded in getting back on the winning track.

The Tigers now stand at 6-3 on the season and travel across the Delaware River next Monday to face Villanova for what promises to be another tough and competitive nonconference matchup for Princeton. 

Ivy hoops roundup – May 27, 2020

Cornell University has announced several 2020-21 calendar options given the threat of COVID-19, though nothing has been decided and the university said the likely course of action will be a mix of these options:

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