Women's Basketball: Cagers open title defense with rout
The women's basketball team started the Ivy League season with a dominating victory over Penn, setting the tone for another year as a powerhouse in the conference. The Tigers won 77-47 over Penn, giving them little room to make it close competition.
The win is the 25th straight Ivy League victory for the Tigers and their 14th straight win at home, bringing Princeton to 10-5 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League. Penn dropped to 7-6 overall and 0-1 in the Ivy League.
Princeton started the game with possibly its best defensive stretch so far this season, giving Penn few opportunities to work with while the Tigers accumulated 13 unanswered points. The Quakers finally scored on a layup six minutes into the first half.
With 10 minutes left in the first, the Quakers slowly gained back points, but senior forward Kate Miller stole the ball from a Penn forward and followed with a layup, and on the next Penn drive, Miller turned a Princeton steal into a three pointer. By then, the mood had been set for the rest of the match, and the Tigers continued to dominate Penn for the remainder of the competition.
Senior center Meg Bowen led the team in points, putting up 14 during 25 minutes of play, along with five rebounds and two assists. She said she felt that setting a tone for the rest of the Ivy season was important.
"There's definitely a little more excitement coming out to this game, and usually with excitement we come out harder," she said.
"As we have always said, every single game is a playoff game," Bowen continued. "You can't come off one night and back down your entire season and blow off that chance for the tournament. Winning by 30 points is pretty nice, but coming out of those first 10 minutes set a tone, which is exactly what we were going for, especially on defense."
The Tigers' offensive attack came from every side of the court. Five different Tigers found the net from behind the arc, going 9-21 for a 42.9 percent three-point shot rate. Princeton never let the Quakers find their stride on the court, stealing the ball 12 times before night's end.
The Tigers gave their opponents more room in the second half of the match, allowing Pennís field goal rate to creep up to 29.0 percent over 25.0 percent in the first, but head coach Courtney Banghart was trying new formations on the court.
"I think we came out the second half fighting just as hard, and playing pretty intensely. Coach was playing different lineups and trying different things," Bowen said.
In the second half Banghart played sophomore center Mariah Smith and Bowen at the same time, which is an unusual formation for the team.
The match was yet another example of the extreme depth of this yearís Tiger squad, with nearly every single Tiger finding the scoreboard by night's end.
Sophomore guard Blake Dietrick has become a steady contributor to the Princeton offense this season, and Saturday was no exception. She pieced together nine assists, six rebounds and eight points.
The Tigers had three players with over 10 points, and five different Tigers found the net from behind the arc. The team went 49.2 percent from the field, 20 points over Pennís 27.3 percent.
Senior cocaptain and guard Niveen Rasheed finished the night with 10 points, three assists and three steals.
Freshman guard Michelle Miller has already proven herself a promising member of the Tiger offense, and in her mere 14 minutes on the court she put up two three-pointers, three rebounds and eight total points.
Senior cocaptain Lauren Polansky got back on the court Saturday for the first time since getting injured in December.
Princeton travels to Ithaca, N.Y., in three weeks, where the Tigers will face their next Ivy League rival, Cornell.
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