Clear your plans for tomorrow, because Sunday has now become a day devoted to Princeton hoops.
Just a few hours after the men clinched their spot in the Ivy League Tournament final, the women did the same by beating Harvard for the third time this season. Playing into the night, the Tigers took advantage of a sluggish Harvard offense in the first half. Princeton held the Crimson to just 23 percent shooting and 1 of 9 from beyond the arc in the first half, including a five-point second quarter — the second time the Tigers have done that this season. After jumping out to an early 10-4 lead, the Tigers withstood a Crimson run that featured five points in 40 seconds and a buzzer beater by Harvard junior Taylor Rooks to hold a one-point lead heading into the second quarter.
However, in the second and third quarters, the Tigers took off and never looked back. The run started when Taylor Brown forced a Harvard turnover and went coast to coast to make a fast layup, with 2:01 to go in the second quarter. The Tigers would conclude the quarter with a buzzer beater of their own, as senior Jackie Reyneke took a miss by freshman Bella Alarie and put it back up as time expired. The shot sent the Tigers into halftime with a nine-point lead.
Princeton would carry the momentum from their second quarter well into their third. Buckets by Alarie and senior Vanessa Smith, followed by a three-pointer from Alarie, put the Tigers up 34-18 in the early stages of the third quarter. Kenya Holland added even more energy to the Princeton crowd when she nailed a deep three at the 3:38 mark to put the Tigers up by 17. Not letting off the gas pedal, sophomore Sydney Jordan deflated the Harvard defense when she took a feed from Robinson and cut through the defense, making a layup and forcing the foul. The Tigers took a comfortable 18-point lead into the final quarter.
But the Crimson weren’t going to go down without a fight. Harvard’s Katie Benson sparked a Crimson run that lasted the first half of the fourth quarter, scoring 5 points and trimming the Princeton lead to 10, forcing the Tigers to call timeout. The Tigers put the game away for good with three minutes left when Robinson scored off the feed from junior Kenya Holland, then proceeded to feed to Taylor Brown on a fast-break layup, putting the Tigers up 17 and ending the Crimson’s hopes for a comeback.
Princeton dominated the glass once again as they out-rebounded the Crimson 47-35. The Tigers’ passing game was also strong, with the group netting 17 assists in the convincing win. However, it was the Orange and Black defense that starred today, as the team held Harvard to under 30 percent shooting for the game and allowed Harvard to connect on only three three-pointers in the entire game.
In fitting fashion for the Tigers, the youth and the experienced combined to shine in the game, as Robinson and Alarie turned in star performances for this semi-final contest. Both finished with a double double; Alarie had 17 points and 16 rebounds for her 13th double double of the year, while Robinson had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers.
The Tigers overcame a slow finish to the season to dominate the Crimson in the semifinals. Their final showdown with Penn is up next; they have not beaten Penn this season and just lost 52 - 40 to the Quakers earlier this week.
It all comes down to tomorrow. The Tigers have shown incredible heart all year: let’s see if their heart can carry them to a victory and an NCAA tournament birth.