Entering the third week of Ivy League play, the women’s basketball team (13-4 overall, 2-1 Ivy) will embark on a road trip this weekend to tackle Dartmouth (7-13, 2-2) on Friday and then Harvard (8-9, 3-1) on Sunday.
The Tigers began the Ivy League stretch of their season with a disappointing 48-50 loss to rival Penn, which currently sits atop conference standings. After such an offensively slow game, the Tigers regrouped over January under the leadership of head coach Courtney Banghart and returned with refreshing, dominating offensive performance over Yale and Brown.
This weekend will test the Tigers' ability to sustain and build upon their improvement.
Fortunately, recent history favors Princeton in both games. In fact, the Orange and Black hold a 12-game win streak over the Big Green, a record that dates back to 2009. With the Crimson, the Tigers hold a sizable three-game sweep over Harvard. Both opponents will surely seek to end their unfortunate history against Princeton.
Those watching this weekend’s games should expect impressive performances from senior guard Michelle Miller, senior forward Annie Tarakhian and senior forward Alex Wheatley. Of late, Miller has averaged 13.8 points per game over Ivy League opponents, scoring a game-high 21 points over Brown. Tarakhian has complemented Miller’s sharp shooting by dominating the glass, grabbing a career-high 17 rebounds against Brown.
Perhaps Princeton’s greatest strength thus far in Ivy League competition has been its impeccable defense. On average, the Tigers have held its three conference rivals to under 30 percent shooting.
Areas of improvement for the Tigers include turnovers and three-point shooting. Three games into conference play, Princeton ranks second-to-last in three-pointers and dead last in turnover margin in the Ivy League conference.
Princeton’s opponents will enter this weekend determined to prove their strength early in Ivy League play. Both Harvard and Dartmouth will face both Princeton, the defending Ivy League champions, and Penn, the current No. 1 Ivy League team.
Harvard will ride the confidence and momentum of sweeping both Columbia and Cornell last week. The win over Columbia came with little surprise as the Lions have yet to win a conference game this season. However, the win over Cornell dealt the Bears, the league’s offensive leader, their first conference loss, confirming the Crimson’s potency.
In terms of players, the Crimson will showcase a three-pointer shooting duo in Shilpa Tummala and Kit Metoyer. The two rank first and second in Ivy League three-pointer shooting.
Dartmouth, on the other hand, will seek redemption after falling to Cornell in overtime last week. Overall the Big Green have not shown consistent Ivy League performance, as they have flip-flopped between wins and losses.
Though it is impossible to predict the exact outcome of this weekend’s clash of Ivy League opponents, one can be certain that the results will set the tone for the remainder of the season. A Princeton win would confirm the Orange and Black potency and allow the Tigers, currently No. 4, to rise in standings.