Sports shorts: first lady Michelle Obama '85 watches on as lady cagers down American; plus men's basketball and men's and women's squash| Nov 23, 2014
Women's basketball receives presidential treatment during Washington, D.C., visit
When your aunt resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and you're in the neighborhood, it's worth stopping by. Freshman forward Leslie Robinson of Princeton women's basketball (4-0 overall) had first lady Michelle Obama ’85 (née Robinson) among her supporters duringSunday's63-56 win over American University (0-3). Robinson is the daughter of Craig Robinson ’83, Michelle's brother and two-time Ivy League Player of the Year under the legendary former men's basketball head coach Pete Carril.
Earlier in the weekend, the undefeated Princeton squad took a tour of the White House, including, of course, a visit to the presidential residence's basketball court.
Having lost their stranglehold on the Ivy League title last season — Penn broke Princeton's four-season championship streak — the Tigers have come back with a vengeance.Sunday'svictory over the Eagles marked a fourth straight win for head coach Courtney Banghart's side.
Courtesy of precision shooting, Princeton jumped out to an early 11-3 lead. The home team responded to tie the score twice during the first period, but they could not contain the Tiger offense. After twenty minutes of play, the visitors had tallied 36 points to their opponents' 26.
Princeton's first-half efficiency ratings read neat 50.0's across the board (FG%, 3PT% and FT%). During that same period, American shot 38.5 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from beyond the arc.
The second half's first 10 minutes saw Princeton pile on the points, as senior guard Blake Dietrick's three-point conversion extended the Tigers' lead to 50-35 with12:55remaining on the clock. Rallying against this deficit, American drew within 5 points of the visitors' total. This would prove too little, too late, as the Eagles were forced to foul and send their opponents to the free throw line in an attempt to pull off the last-minute comeback.
Despite her family's support, Robinson did not manage to record a point during her 11 minutes of play. She did, however, collect five rebounds while adding two assists.
Dietrick, who played all 40 minutes, led Princeton in scoring with 19. Junior guard Michelle Miller added 15 points, while guard/forward combo junior Annie Tarakchian managed her third career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
During Thanksgiving break, the Tigers will travel to Cancun, Mexico, for the Cancun Challenge, during which competition they will face Wake Forest University, the University of Montana and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Cagers unable to overcome first-half deficit against Incarnate Word
Saturday morning marked the first time that Princeton (1-3 overall) and Incarnate Word University (3-0) competed in men’s basketball. In fact, it appears as if the 79-68 Cardinals win marks the first time that these two schools have ever met athletically.
The Cardinals traveled to Jadwin Gymnasium from San Antonio, Texas, to face a Princeton side most recently outmatched by Lafayette College. Once again, the Tigers found themselves in a hole they were not equipped to see their way out of. With 7:42 remaining in the first period, the visitors had run up a 29-12 lead.
Courtesy of a three-point conversion by sophomore forward Spencer Weisz just over 90 seconds into the second period, Princeton took its first share of the lead. The scoreboard read 33-31 in favor of the home side, and it would see the score tied four times with six lead changes throughout the half.
Ten minutes later, that parity had evaporated as Incarnate Word systematically built up a nine-point lead. Riding out this advantage, the Cardinals finished the game by absorbing a number of desperation fouls and converting the resulting free throw attempts.
“We’re a work in progress, with a little bit more work to be done than I’d like for us,” head coach Mitch Henderson said after the game. “Especially going into a really difficult weekend ahead. But we’re not shying away from what we are.”
With five players recording double-digit points, the Cardinals spread their scoring fairly evenly. Neither team shot with much efficiency, with first-half field goal percentages of 33.3 and 31.0 for Incarnate Word and Princeton respectively. Both teams honed their shots in the second period, improving to marks of 41.7 and 40.0.
Weisz, the emergent centerpiece of Princeton’s offense, tallied a career-high 22 points in 39 minutes. Guard Amir Bell likewise tallied a career high with 13 points for his team.
Junior forward Hans Brase recorded a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double, the second such accomplishment of his 2014 season and the fifth of his career. On a fairly undersized team, the 6’8” big man has the tough task of accounting for opponents’ size and physical play under the hoop.
Princeton will spend the Thanksgiving weekend in Southern California competing against a trio of opponents in the Wooden Legacy Tournament. The 12-team competition honors John Wooden, college basketball's greatest ever coach. The University of Texas at El Paso (1-0) will provide the first test for the Tigers Thursday afternoon.
Impressive opening win over Franklin and Marshall followed by 5-4 loss to Navy
Lofty expectations for No. 10 Princeton men’s squash (1-1 overall) were vindicated this past Saturday, as No. 7 Franklin & Marshall College (3-1) visited Jadwin Gymnasium and left defeated by a score line of 6-3. However, the following day’s matchup at No. 16 Navy (11-0) yielded a 5-4 defeat for the Tigers. Midshipmen took the day’s first three matches, establishing an advantage the visitors could not overcome.
In 2013, the Tigers travelled to face their Lancaster, Pa., opponents to begin what would end up being a forgettable season. The Diplomats took the match by a score of 7-2. Revenge was therefore sweeter for a Princeton team looking to return to the top of the Ivy League.
Seniors Samuel Kang and Tyler Osborne, first- and second-team All-Americans from last season, earned victories both days at the No. 1 and 2 spots. These captains will be instrumental in Princeton’s success this season. With Osborne aiming to rebound from an injury-ridden campaign, the combination promises to be one of the country’s most dominant one-two punches.
A pair of freshmen rounded out Princeton’s top nine. Abhimanyu Shah, hailing from Mumbai, India, and Komron Shayegan of Princeton won their matchups by scores of 3-2 and 3-0 respectively. Against the Midshipmen on Sunday, Shah picked up another 3-2 win. Komron dropped his match by a score of 3-0 as part of the trio of opening losses for the Tigers.
Senior Dylan Ward graduated in 2014 after a 13-win senior season. While his leadership will certainly be missed, seven of last year’s starters, including three of the top four, return for this year’s campaign.
Harvard and Trinity, currently ranked first and third in the Dunlop team rankings, lurk on the horizon as Princeton’s most demanding opponents. The last time the Orange and Black topped both of these teams in the same season was during their 2011-12 campaign. Jadwin Gymnasium played host to the College Squash Association team championship. The finals pitted the Tigers against Trinity’s Bantams in one of the most thrilling match-ups in recent memory. Princeton took the contest by a team score of 5-4. Osborne earned a gritty three-game win over longtime rival Miled Zarazua to cap his freshman season.
Next weekend, Princeton host No. 12 Drexel, a team whom they rarely struggle to overcome.
Unsurprisingly, women’s squash routs Franklin and Marshall
Playing later that afternoon in Jadwin Gymnasium, No. 5 Princeton’s women routed the visiting Diplomats by a 9-0 margin for a fifth straight year. They proceeded to host No. 21 Wesleyan (3-3) the following day in a match-up they won by a team score of 8-1.
Youth sensation Olivia Fietcher did not disappoint in her first collegiate match. She graduated from the Germantown Friends School in 2014 as the No. 1 female high school squash player in the nation. Her participation on the second-placeU.S team in 2013 Women’s World Junior Team Championship signifies what promising career this athlete has in store.
Fietcher easily downed her opponent 3-0 in the No. 1 spot, which position she took from sophomore Maria Elana Ubina. Now starting in the second spot, Ubina likewise won her pairing by a score of 3-0. The second year standout won Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors last season in one of the best inaugural campaigns in program history.
Remarkably, sophomore Alexandra Toth lost only a single point en route to a 3-0 win at the ninth spot.
Without a doubt, these Tigers have the combination of experience and raw talent to regain the Ivy League title. Next weekend, they host Drexel. Princeton has swept the Dragons in each of the past two seasons.