The women’s basketball team completed the 36thsweep of its last 39 Ivy League weekends as it blew past Dartmouth (7-15, 2-4 Ivy) on Friday and then eked past Harvard (8-11, 3-3) on Sunday.
It was a balanced team effort as Princeton defeated Dartmouth 85-48 on Friday. Playing against head coach Courtney Banghart’s alma mater, the Tigers secured their lead with a 12-2 run in the first quarter.
Princeton launched a concerted effort, with all fifteen players on the roster scoring points. Considering that the familiar starters had a smaller presence on the court this time, the team shot an impressive 49.2% overall, holding the Big Green to just 31.4% shooting. Ten players played at least ten minutes, and only two players, senior guard Michelle Millerand senior guard Annie Tarakchian, played more than 20 minutes.
Senior forward Alex Wheatley and Miller both led the pack with 11 points. Freshman guards Gabrielle Rush and Jordan Muhammad put on a strong performance on behalf of the underclassmen, scoring nine and seven points, respectively. Sophomore guard Tia Weledji also scored 7 points. Tarakchian proved to be another valuable asset for her team, grabbing 12 rebounds. Princeton led Dartmouth in rebounding 46-25.
On the Dartmouth side, sophomore guard Kate Letkewicz was the key player, putting up 17 points.
Princeton’s balanced effort made it a relatively leisurely win for the team’s starters. It also proved the depth of the roster, which the team has been working on all season. Giving the starters some extra recovery time paid off, as their performance became key in their game against Harvard on Sunday.
It was not an easy day in Cambridge as the Orange and Black struggled to separate themselves from the Crimson. With grit and determination, Princeton won 83-79 in overtime.
Princeton and Harvard started out neck-and-neck, until 13 consecutive points put Princeton in a solid lead. The run was a joint effort by Tarakchian and Miller. Tarakchian started it off with a layup and three-pointer, and Miller carried the baton with two three-pointers and then a layup. However, the Crimson responded with eight consecutive points of their own, narrowing Princeton’s lead. Princeton was up 22-16 by the end of the first quarter.
Harvard took the lead in the second quarter. While play was consistent from both sides at the beginning of the second period, the Crimson went on a nine point run to take the lead at 31-30 by halftime.
The third quarter was an even closer period, with both teams within at most four points of each other. Princeton eked out a two-point margin to make it 53-51 by the end of the third quarter. The two sides tied six times in the fourth quarter, with neither one able to come out on top. It was 72-72 at the end of the fourth quarter, taking the game to overtime.
Princeton played much more convincingly in overtime, starting off with eight straight points. It was the veterans who helped their team overcome a tough game. Junior guard Vanessa Smith, senior guard Amanda Berntsen, Miller and Wheatley all created that 8-0 run.
An important milestone also came in overtime. Wheatley, with a good low post basket, reached 1,000 career points, becoming the 24thplayer in program history to reach the milestone.
It was a very different game from the one in Hanover two nights earlier. Given such a close game, the starters were forced to contribute as much as possible. All five starters added at least ten points, including Miller, who put up an impressive 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Senior guard Taylor Williams and junior guard Taylor Brown also scored.
The stats reflect a close game. Princeton shot 48.5% from the floor, while Harvard shot 50.8%. Princeton grabbed 36 rebounds -- 13 of them by Alex Wheatley -- compared to Harvard’s 30.
Harvard’s main players were senior forward AnnMarie Healy and senior guard Shilpa Tummala, who scored 21 and 19 points, respectively. Junior forward Destiny Nunley put up 12 points. Healy also contributed six of her team’s rebounds.
With the close win against Harvard, Princeton improved its record to 15-4 overall and 4-1 in the Ivy League. The Tigers will return to Jadwin this weekend, playing Cornell on Friday at 7 p.m. and then Columbia on Saturday at 6 p.m.