The Princeton women’s basketball team’s season came to an unfortunate end this afternoon after the team suffered a defeat in the Ivy League Tournament final against top-seeded Penn. Despite fighting valiantly, Princeton came up short against a strong Penn team playing in its home arena, losing 57-48.
The game began in competitive fashion. Penn scored the first four points of the game, but Princeton battled back with a jumper by Leslie Robinson and a three-pointer from freshman Bella Alarie to bring the score to 8-7 in favor of Penn midway through the first quarter. Princeton would be hampered, however, after star player Alarie went to the bench with foul trouble, not to return until the second quarter.
After one quarter, Princeton trailed 15-14, but things began to unravel in the second. Penn demonstrated why it was the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, forcing Princeton’s offense into bad shots and turnovers. Penn opened the quarter on a 12-point run, and Princeton failed to score for the first 6:48 of the quarter. At the half, Penn led 29-18, with Princeton posting a less-than-ideal 22.6 percent shooting percentage for the half.
Junior Michelle Nwokedi opened the second half with a pair of three-pointers and Anna Ross added another to give the Quakers a comfortable 38-21 lead, just one minute into the third quarter. Princeton, for its part, refused to allow Penn to blow open the margin any further. The Tigers tightened up defensively, received offensive contributions from a number of players, and ended the quarter trailing 45-30.
The Tigers showed spark in the fourth quarter, with Alarie and senior Taylor Brown nailing threes to cut the lead to 11. Ultimately, however, the margin would prove too wide and Penn too stellar for Princeton to mount a comeback.
Penn was led in scoring by its two stars, Anna Ross and Michelle Nwokedi, who scored 15 and 17 points respectively. Princeton struggled offensively throughout the game, shooting only 18 out of 64 from the field, or 28 percent. The Tigers were led in scoring by Alarie with 11.
For a Princeton team that commenced its season with four losses, reaching this point in the Ivy League Tournament represents a big success, but next year’s team will undoubtedly want more. Returning with major contributors including Leslie, Alarie, and sophomore Sydney Jordan, Princeton may be equipped to win an Ivy League Championship of its own.