Women’s basketball had an early hiccup in their opening weekend of the season. The Tigers, projected to excel in this season with a core group of freshman, lost their first two games of the season to Rider and George Washington.
The Tigers opened their season against Rider on the evening of Nov. 11. They started out strong with a lead early in the second quarter, but the Broncos took the lead into the half and opened up a large 17-point lead during the third quarter. However, the Tigers went on a 16-2 run and cut the deficit to three late in the third quarter. The game remained tight for the remainder of the game until the Broncos pulled away late to win the game.
Freshman Bella Alarie started her career at Princeton with a splash, scoring 24 points — leading the Tigers on Friday — and added seven rebounds. Alarie will look to be a major contributor throughout the year as a central part to what the freshman on the team are calling “The Core Four,” a group of four freshman who will look to lead the Tigers to multiple consecutive seasons and rival the success of the class of 2016.
Friday night was also the unveiling of the 2016 NCAA Tournament banner. Four graduates returned to help raise the banner in commemoration of one of the most successful runs of any four consecutive seasons. The class of 2016 led the team to a 97-23 record and tournaments at both the NIT and NCAA level. At one point, the Tigers were also undefeated and ranked the AP Poll.
“It was really cool seeing them raise the banner,” stated freshman Jordan Stallworth. “They did so much for this team and they are a great example to follow for us. We want to follow in their footsteps as much as possible.”
On Sunday, the Tigers traveled to DC to take on George Washington. The Tigers played exceptional defense in the first quarter, holding the Colonials to 2 for 13 shooting in the first quarter and holding the Colonials to six points. However, the Colonial offense responded in a big way, putting up 20 in the second quarter to take a two-point lead heading into the half.
Sophomore Jordan Muhammad led the Tigers with 12 points — a career best — including a three-pointer that cut the Tiger’s deficit to four late in the third. Junior Leslie Robinson also set a career best in the game with eight rebounds. Alaire had eight points and five rebounds to continue her early season success.
However, the Tigers struggled to stay in the game, especially in the third and fourth quarters where the Colonials led by as many as 17. George Washington controlled the pace of the second half and used their offensive firepower to carry them over the Tigers, who dropped their first two games of the season.
The Tigers are confident that they will rebound from their early stumble. Their next game is Saturday at home against the Dayton Flyers.
“We are going to go out and get the job done,” said Stallworth. “We will just keep working and the wins will come.”