Women’s basketball starts season strong against GW, looks to continue at Seton Hall
Last Friday night the Princeton women’s basketball team opened its season with a 72–52 win against the George Washington Colonials at home. Four Tigers scored in double figures, including senior guard Tia Weledji, who paced the team with 18 points.
After the game, speaking with the Ivy League Network, Weledji explained that the Tigers came out of the locker room ready to attack, outscoring GW 27–9 in the third quarter. Weledji gave freshman point guard Carlie Littlefield high marks, noting, “She’s tremendous … she’s so dynamic; we’re lucky to have her this year,” said Weledji. Head coach Courtney Banghart also spoke highly of Littlefield in her weekly podcast “The Court Report,” commenting on the freshman’s “supreme confidence” and day-to-day consistency.
In her first game as a Tiger, Littlefield went for 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while shooting four of six from the floor and six of seven from the charity stripe. For such a stellar performance, she was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Monday.
The team also also 27 for 56 from the floor, good enough for a 48.2 shooting percentage, and senior forward Leslie Robinson contributed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
On Thursday night, the Princeton Tigers will play their second game of the season at Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J. The Tigers and the Pirates met last year, with the Tigers pulling off a convincing 94–67 win. Last season’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, sophomore forward Bella Alarie, will look for another strong showing in this game. Last year, she put up 26 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists.
Turnovers will likely be a key statistic in Thursday’s matchup. The Tigers committed 19 against George Washington, but Seton Hall ranks third nationally in steals per game, at 33. The Pirates are also No. 16 in turnovers forced per game, at 28. Princeton’s mishaps last Friday led to 13 points for the Colonials, so controlling the ball against Seton Hall will be key in the Tigers’ quest to minimize points off turnovers. Banghart did note that “if you’re going to play as fast we’re going to play … [turnovers] will happen.” Her team that went 30–0 in regular season play in 2014–2015 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament averaged 17 turnovers per game.
Thursday night, the Tiger defense will be charged with containing guard/forward Donnaizha Fountain. The graduate student transfer from Temple has been Seton Hall’s star so far this season, averaging 20.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. Apart from this, Banghart called Seton Hall a “really interesting challenge” in general for the Tigers. The Pirates play with much more pressure and speed than George Washington, so maintaining a high level of defense will be important for the Tigers in slowing down Seton Hall’s attack. The Tigers held GW without a field goal for 6:28 last Friday, though, so it seems as though a good system is in place.
Banghart noted in her podcast that “this team [has] something pretty special about it.” And if things go as planned, now may be the time for the Tiger faithful to tune in.