Sometimes, the best way to get a team back on track is to get right back to work. That is exactly what the women's basketball team prepares to do this Thanksgiving week.
The Tigers dropped a heartbreaker this Saturday, Nov. 19, to the University of Dayton in overtime at Jadwin Gymnasium by a score of 62 - 56. Princeton led at the half thanks to a surge late in the second quarter led by freshman guard Bella Alarie who scored five straight points. Senior guard Vanessa Smith later added three more points, all free throws, to push the lead up to 10 just before the half. A layup by Dayton in the final few seconds cut the lead to eight.
However, Dayton did not back down. The Flyers began a frenzy of their own late in the third quarter. The Flyers turned a double digit deficit into a two point lead by the time the third quarter had ended. From there, the game went back and forth as the two heavyweights battled it out to see who would emerge victorious.
Sophomore guard Jordan Muhammad scored, tying the game with less than a minute to go and sending the Tiger crowd into a frenzy. Neither team could find a bucket in the waning seconds, and the game went into overtime. Sophomore guard Caroline Davis scored a three-pointer for the Tigers early in the overtime session, but Dayton launched another furious attack — this time an 8-1 run — to put themselves up 59-56 in the final 30 seconds of the game. Dayton would connect on three free throws to ice the game as Princeton missed its final two three-point attempts.
Alarie led the Tigers with 11 points, adding to 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Sophomore guard Sydney Jordan also added 10 points to the Tigers after shooting a magnificent 71% from the field. Junior forward Leslie Robinson contributed 12 rebounds for Princeton, breaking her career high for the second straight week.
The Tigers opened the season with some tough games, and it is showing. Princeton lost their first three games and have detracted slightly from their lofty goals this season. However, the women know that it only takes one game to get into a rhythm and recapture the winning mojo, and they hope to accomplish that this week.
The Tigers will have three games over the next week, one of their biggest workloads this season. They start the week with a trip to the University of Delaware to battle the Blue Hens on Tuesday. Then they return home for a Black Friday showdown against Rutgers. Following that is a longer road trip to Baltimore to face University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Sunday to conclude the week. Princeton will look to hopefully even their record as the non-conference schedule inches closer toward the midway point of the season. As the Tigers close out November, they will look for their young core to continue developing and for the team to begin winning these close contests.