The women’s basketball team closed out 2017 in style with a dominating performance over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers at Jadwin Gymnasium on Saturday. The Tigers (10-3) earned the impressive 77-40 victory to close out the year with a four-game win streak and wins in seven of their last eight games.
Princeton wasted no time exploiting the struggling Retrievers (1-12), jumping out to an 11-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Freshman sensation Carlie Littlefield took control of the game early with eight points in the first stanza, including two 3-pointers. After trading a few baskets with the visiting team, the Tigers put their foot on the gas once again to close out the first quarter when senior guard Kenya Holland sank two threes to ignite an 8-0 run, extending the first quarter lead to 16 points.
In the second, Janee’a Summers earned the distinction of being the only Retriever to find the basket in the quarter. Her jumper with 5:15 to go gave UMBC their only two points of the quarter, a season low for their offense as well as the Tiger defense. Making matters worse for the visiting team, the Tigers seemed to make every shot they attempted. Littlefield continued to put on a show, finishing the half with 15 points and a perfect shooting percentage (6/6, 3/3 from 3-point range). Sophomore Bella Alarie was sure to add her name to the scoring sheet, dominating in the paint and finishing the first half with 11 points. Seven Tigers made baskets in the first half – with a few more adding their names to the list with rebounds or assists – as the Tigers went into halftime holding a commanding 47-11 lead.
Early in the third quarter, a 3-pointer by senior guard Tia Weledji extended the lead to 41, the largest lead the Tigers would have for the rest of the game. Princeton would lose its touch from beyond the arc in the second half, as Weledji’s field goal would be the only one they made out of 14 attempts in the second half. But that didn’t stop Princeton from scoring big in the second half; the Tigers began to take it down low even more than in the first half, finishing the night with 32 points in the paint. UMBC – despite holding Princeton to only a 36 percent shooting clip in the second half – was unable to mount a comeback into the game. It was outscored 30-29 in the second half, as Princeton won easily in their final game of 2017.
Every Tiger who suited up saw action on the court against UMBC, something Head Coach Courtney Banghart had to be happy with. The win officially closes the 2017 non-conference slate for the Tigers on a positive note, as they now transition to Ivy League play. Up next for the Tigers is a showdown with Penn on Jan. 6; the Tigers last played the Quakers in the 2017 Ivy League Tournament final. The Quakers earned the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with their 57-49 victory over the Tigers. Princeton has lost five straight against Penn, with their last win at the Palestra coming in 2015 to cap off a perfect regular season. Princeton will be hoping to put an early damper on the projected Ivy League favorite when they visit Philadelphia this Saturday.