Women's Basketball: Cagers look to stay atop Ivy League
“Brown can get hot from three. They will try to shoot from the perimeter and mix up their defenses a bit,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. “They have a really athletic guard in Sheila Dixon that we will have to key in on. It is an away game and winning on the road is not easy, in this league or any league.”
In addition to Dixon, the Tigers will need to keep an eye out for guard Lauren Clarke when they play the Bears. Clarke is dangerous behind the arc and is third in the league with a team-high 14.6 points per game. Dixon, who averages 11 points per game, and Clarke provide most of the offense for Brown, which only puts up 52.5 points per game — almost 20 points lower than Princeton’s average.
Yale has a similar duo of double-digit scorers in guards Sarah Halejian and Janna Graf, who average 13.8 and 11.4 points per game, respectively. The Bulldogs also have good depth which has enabled them to amass 65 points per game. While the Tigers have the advantage in most aspects of the game, the Bulldogs have a slightly better three-point percentage and are nearly as successful as the Tigers on the offensive boards, setting the stage for what could be a very physical game.
“With Yale you have a team that is really physical and plays an aggressive defensive style that will try to keep us out of rhythm, so it is going to come down to us being poised and executing our game plan and being the more physical team,” Banghart said.
Brown and Yale may have some sharp shooters from beyond the perimeter, but Princeton has also been enjoying three-point shooting success lately. Sophomore guard Blake Dietrick went five for nine from three over the last two games. She buried three of those shots in a crucial part of last week’s game against Columbia to thwart a run by the Lions that had brought them within four points of the Tigers. Dietrick now joins senior forward Kristen Helmstetter and senior center Megan Bowen with about eight points per game. The freshmen duo of forward Alex Wheatley and guard Michelle Miller are close behind with about six points per game, creating great depth for the Tigers behind senior guard Niveen Rasheed, who leads the team with 16.6 points per game.
“Overall, this team has grown into becoming a complete team,” Banghart said. “We got great balance, we got good depth, we share the ball well, and they are really learning how to play to each other’s strengths. They are really committed to the game plan on both ends, which has allowed us to be really efficient.”
The Tigers may be blowing out their conference opponents at the moment, but they know that learning how to work together and execute plays now will help them fulfill their ultimate goal of winning the program’s first ever NCAA tournament game.
“Fortunately I have a group that I don’t have to motivate,” Banghart said. “Every Ivy opponent game is weighed the exact same. It equals a win or a loss. It doesn’t matter who that is to. I have never had to motivate these kids, which is pretty awesome.”
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.