The women’s basketball team went 2-1 over Thanksgiving break, ending the week with two emphatic wins to push their record up to 2-4 for the season.
The Tigers started on Tuesday, Nov. 22, taking on the undefeated Blue Hens at University of Delaware and losing 66 - 62. The Tigers shot a season best 46.7 percent from the field in the first half of the game, giving them a 33 - 32 lead going into halftime. However, a third quarter run by Delaware, in which they outscored the Tigers 10 - 4, followed by a 9 - 0 run that opened the fourth quarter, gave the Blue Hens the lead. The Tigers continued to fight, climbing back to only a one-point deficit with a little over a minute remaining in the game. But the Blue Hens claimed victory, going 4/4 at the free-throw line in the final minute of play.
Senior captain Vanessa Smith made her first start of the season and tore up the court, notching a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Also netting a double double for the Tigers was junior Leslie Robinson, who had a career high 19 points to go along with 12 rebounds and five steals. Robinson led the Tigers in scoring for the game. Freshman Bella Alarie also added eight points for the Tigers and shot 33 percent from long range. Princeton was plagued in this game by turnovers and three-point shooting; the team turned the ball over 17 times — compared to Delaware’s 12 — and shot only 23 percent from beyond the arc. Despite out-shooting and out-rebounding the Blue Hens, they could not recover from these mistakes.
But the Tigers, keeping with the theme of “Win the Day” remained motivated and looked to win their first game of the season at home against in-state rival Rutgers. They got just that in a statement win at Jadwin on Friday, defeating Rutgers with a score of 64 - 34. Alarie led the team with 14 points and was backed by junior Tia Weledji who scored 12 for the Tigers. Sophomore Gabrielle Rush led the team in assists with four on what was an all-around team victory.
While the Tigers were proficient on offense, it was the defense that won the spotlight. The Tiger defense dominated: Princeton held Rutgers to only 34 points the entire game and held the Scarlet Knights to only 20 percent shooting for the entire game. The Tigers held Rutgers to a five-point quarter twice in the game and out-rebounded the Knights 46 - 39. The Tigers also forced a season high of 20 turnovers that aided in dismantling the Knights’ offense. The statement victory gave the Tigers their first win this season and set the tone for future games.
The Tigers were back in action Sunday, Nov. 27 against UMBC. Once again, a team effort propelled them to the win, beating the Retrievers in Baltimore with a score of 69 - 58. The 2016 Tigers also made history after making a record 14 three-pointers. Junior Kenya Holland led the charge, making five three-pointers and scoring 19 points for the Tigers. Senior captain Taylor Brown shot 81 percent from the field and added 13 points for the Tigers, including two three-pointers. Robinson led the team in assists with five as the Tigers had a season best of 20 assists in the win.
On the defensive side, the Tigers stepped up when it mattered most. After allowing the Retrievers to shoot 50 percent from the field for the first three quarters, the defense stood firm and rediscovered the form from the Rutgers game. Princeton held UMBC to just one field goal in the entire fourth quarter and only four total points. The offense put up 19 to back the defense’s effort and led the Tigers to their second win of the season.
For the Tigers, the week was marked with impressive showings on both sides of the ball. The offense came through in both games, while the defense stepped up when the game was on the lines, strangling both the Rutgers and UMBC offenses.
The Tigers are back in action Wednesday night at Jadwin against in-state rival Seton Hall. That game starts at 6PM, where the Tigers will look for their third straight win. Then the women return to the court the following Wednesday — also at Jadwin gym — to take on the Lafayette Leopards.