Tigers prepare to face new challenges in NCAA Championship Tournament| Mar 16, 2015
After a regular season filled with success, the most intense part of the season begins now.
The Princeton women’s basketball team, having gone 30-0 in the regular season, will commence the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament as a #8 seed. They will travel to Maryland to take on ninth-seeded Green Bay this Saturday on March 21.
There was much speculation going into Selection Monday about what the Tigers’ seed would be. The question was always whether Princeton’s outstanding season would outweigh the fact that they played in a conference not regarded as a top basketball powerhouse. It appears that the latter won out, and the Tigers find themselves with a tough road ahead of them if they want a shot at the ultimate prize.
Their first opponent does not look to be easy competition. The Green Bay Phoenixes (28-4, 15-1 Horizon League) are another strong team from a less-regarded conference. Moreover, the women from Green Bay have proven they can step up with the game on the line — they earned their spot in the tournament by defeating conference rival Wright State in an overtime nail-biter. The game was especially sweet for the Phoenixes since they had to recover from a 12-point deficit to extend the game.
Of course, as has been stated time and time again, this Princeton team appears to have the tools to go toe-to-toe with any other Division I team. As of Saturday, they now sport on their team the Ivy League Player of the Year in senior guard Blake Dietrick and have three more All-Ivy players, with junior forwards Annie Tarakchian and Alex Wheatley earning First-Team All-Ivy honors and junior forward Michelle Miller garnering an honorable mention.
In addition, the Tigers have been impressive not only in the sheer number of wins they have had this season but also in the manner they’ve done so. Of their victories, only two have been less by 10 points. Statistically, they outperformed all of their league opponents by outstanding margins, especially on the offensive end. They easily outstripped the other Ivy League teams in points scored and scoring efficiency.
Nevertheless, starting Saturday, the Tigers will face an entirely different set of foes in the next few weeks. This Tiger team isn’t new to the NCAA — they’ve gone to the tournament in five of the last six seasons. However, critics might note that in none of those appearances did the Tigers move past the first round. Now, with an entire season’s worth of momentum behind them, the Tigers can head into Saturday with as much hope as ever.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated location where the Princeton women's basketball team will play in the first round of the NCAA Championship. The team will play in Maryland. The 'Prince' regrets the error.