Princeton women’s basketball team started its season on an unconventional note, as a technical foul was called on the Princeton bench before the game even started due to a scorebook error, leaving the Tigers with a 2-0 deficit before the game officially began. The afternoon would not improve much for the Tigers (0-1), as they would fall to Rutgers (1-0) 79-65 in their season opener.
The Tigers won the Ivy League title for the fourth consecutive year on a 13-1 Ivy record last season. They averaged a plus-18.2 scoring margin during the 2012-13 season, but fell to Florida State during the first round of the NCAA tournament.
However, this year Princeton is without Niveen Rasheed ‘13, who scored 1,617 points in her four years as a Tiger — the fourth most in Princeton history — and was the program’s first AP All-America honorable mention recipient. Rasheed was unanimously selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year for her performance last season, leading the Tigers to an unprecedented fourth straight NCAA tournament berth.
Rasheed’s absence was felt early, as the Tigers struggled to score in the first half. Starting guard junior Blake Dietrick tried to take up the burden, scoring eight points in the first half. However, the Tigers shot only 29.2 percent from the field in the first half and went into the locker room at halftime trailing 28-25 after finishing the half with an 8-2 run.
Despite improving to 44.1 percent from the field in the second half and shooting 70 percent from the free-throw line, the Tigers were not able to contain the Rutgers offense, allowing them 51 second-half points as the Scarlet Knights shot 69 percent from the field. Rutgers also dominated fast break points, outscoring the Tigers 18-2, and points in the paint, where they had 42 points as compared to the Tigers’ 32 points.
“We didn’t shoot very well,” Dietrick said. “But the primary thing we need to improve is our defense.”
Dietrick led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points, including three three-pointers, marking a career-high in points for Dietrick. Sophomore forward Alex Wheatley added 14 points and a career-best 10 rebounds.
“Overall it was a good first effort and lots of room to improve,” Dietrick added.
The Tigers host Marist on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. in Jadwin Gymnasium in their home season opener.