The women’s basketball team will hope to improve on a 2-3 away record Friday as it takes on Navy in Annapolis, Md. The matchup has the makings of a very tight game.
The Mids (7-2) have looked tough to beat this season, scoring an average of just over 10 points more than their opponents. They doubled that margin with an 81-61 defeat of Brown on Nov. 29, a win that kicked off the three-game winning streak Navy rides into Friday’s game.
Kara Pollinger and Jade Geif lead the Mids’ offense with 13.8 and 12.4 points per game, respectively, but it is Navy’s defense that will be of utmost concern to the Tigers (3-4). Navy has allowed less than 60 points per game and knows how to create turnovers. Chloe Stapleton leads the Mids with 11 steals, while Geif is first on the team with five blocks on the season. The Tigers meanwhile have committed more turnovers this season than the Mids despite having played two fewer games.
Ball control will be crucial, as the Tigers will likely need to capitalize on every chance they get to score. Despite a losing record, Princeton has outscored its opponents by 1.3 points per game. The Tigers also average seven more points per game than Navy.
The Tigers boast three starters —junior guard Blake Dietrick, senior forward Kristen Helmstetter and sophomore forward Alex Wheatley —who average over 10 points per game, while sophomore guard Michelle Miller averages 9.9. Dietrick put 19 points as Princeton defeated Portland State on Nov. 30 and followed that up the next day with a career-high 26 points against Oregon. These performances came after Dietrick only managed 11 total points in her previous two games. The Portland State (2-3) game also saw freshman guard Vanessa Smith, who has wasted no time in contributing to the offense, score a career-high 17 points off the bench.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Dietrick’s performance was in vain as the Ducks (5-2) came back in the second half to hand Princeton the first loss of its four-game road trip.
The teams are roughly the same in terms of accuracy, with the Tigers edging the Mids slightly in overall shooting percentage but with Navy holding the advantage from beyond the arc. Princeton also has the advantage by a slight margin in rebounding, something it will need to maintain —the Tigers have not won a game in which they have been out-rebounded all year.
Princeton dominated last time it met Navy, winning 70-50 in Jadwin Gymnasium last January. The Mids have a 5-3 advantage in the overall series, however, and will have home court advantage this time around while the Tigers are without Niveen Rasheed ’13, who put up 18 points in last year’s game.
The game, which could easily come down to the wire, tips off at 7 p.m.