Women's Basketball: Princeton dominates Hofstra, 84-54
The women’s basketball team left another traditionally tough matchup into the dust, defeating Hofstra 84-54 last night. Princeton opened the match with a 19-point unanswered streak, giving the Tigers a large point cushion that they would defend all match. The win brings the Tigers to 6-2 overall, while knocking down the Pride to 1-6.
The main story of the night was a breakout performance from junior forward Kristen Helmstetter, who was second in scoring for the Tigers, putting up 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists by the end of the match.
Helmstetter has emerged as a strong contributor early this season after coming in off the bench since junior forward Nicole Hung was injured during the game against UCLA. Especially notable is her emerging role as a strong outside shooter, as she put up four three-pointers alone against Hofstra.
Helmstetter explained that head coach Courtney Banghart had pushed her since early in the season to make a bigger contribution.
As for the shooting, Helmstetter does not know what has made the difference.
“I really can’t explain that,” she said. “I’ve started working on it recently and [the coaches] have helped me a lot. It was one of those days.”
The Princeton defense gave them the boost to keep the lead throughout the night, as the Tigers gave the Pride little room to move in the paint. Princeton dominated the boards, ending the night with 49 total rebounds over Hoftstra’s 38 on offense.
Worst yet for the Pride, the Tigers continued to find shots from the floor while forcing Hofstra to release from afar. Princeton finished the game 48.4 percent from the field and held down the Pride to less 30 percent.
The win comes as the second definitive victory over a traditionally difficult opponent in the Tigers’ schedule. In the last match against Hofstra, Princeton won by a comparatively thin five-point margin.
A week ago Princeton defeated Rutgers, another tradititionally tough opponent, by 16 points, the first win over the Scarlet Knights in over three decades.
Helmstetter attributes the wins to an extremely deep squad, rounded out by the freshman players.
“We worked really hard in this preseason, and our freshmen are really refreshing for us — they give us a new dimension when we go out and play,” Helmstetter said. “We have 12 healthy players right now and I would say we’re 12 deep. Anyone can play in any game.”
“[The emergence of Helmstetter] makes us bigger,” Banghart said. “We’re also doing better on the boards. She has a great basketball IQ.”
Senior guard Niveen Rasheed led the Tigers on the scoreboard with 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
As the season progresses, Banghart says that the team is developing well after each week in practice.
“I think the more that our bench can grow and learn, the better,” Banghart said. “They practice against these kids every day. They’re ready. The issue is playing against somebody else, playing in this environment, the speed of the game. I’m glad they’re adjusting.”
In the end, Banghart simply said “[Tonight was] vintage Princeton playing hard.”
The Tigers hit the road next week to face Delaware on Dec. 9.