In a matchup between two teams tied atop the Ivy League standings, the women’s basketball team made a strong statement Tuesday night with a 60–40 win against Penn in front of a home crowd at Jadwin Gymnasium. The Tigers dominated on both ends of the court throughout, taking an early lead and never allowing Penn back into the game. With the win, Princeton moves into sole control of first place in the Ivy League.
Leading the way for Princeton on both ends of the court was sophomore forward Bella Alarie. Alarie scored 18 points, while also securing 15 rebounds and anchoring the interior of Princeton’s defense with 3 blocks. Despite scoring just 2 points, senior forward Leslie Robinson played a crucial part in Princeton’s offense, finding open players from the high post and finishing with 10 assists. Bench scoring was also key for Princeton, with 30 of Princeton’s points coming from bench players, 17 of these from freshman guard Abby Meyers.
The two teams were closely matched for the beginning of the game. Through the first quarter, Princeton held a narrow 18–15 lead. From there, however, the Tigers grabbed control of the game. Princeton held Penn to shooting 13.3 percent from the field in the second quarter, while shooting 41.2 percent themselves to take a 34-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. Princeton’s offense played with far more pace in the first half — the Tigers scored 11 points on the fast break, compared to 0 from Penn.
Despite a small rally early in the third quarter, Penn was never able to mount a serious comeback effort. Penn began the third quarter on a 10–5 run to cut the lead to 39–30, but Princeton quickly stopped them and entered the final quarter with a 46–37 lead. In the fourth quarter Penn scored just 3 points, as Alarie and Meyers knocked down a series of baskets to secure the win.
Princeton flexed its defensive muscle, demonstrating why it leads the Ivy League in points allowed per game this season. The Tigers held the Penn team, who had been averaging 67.9 points per game, to just 40 points. Penn shot 16–62 (25.8 percent) from the field and 2–17 (11.8 percent) from the three-point line, struggling to find and make open looks against a stifling Princeton defense. Guard Anna Ross led Penn in scoring with 14 points on 6–14 shooting, and forward Michelle Nwokedi added another 12. No other player for Penn scored more than 4 points.
Princeton will continue its Ivy League schedule this weekend with a pair of games against Cornell and Columbia, as the team looks to secure a No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. More than halfway through Ivy League play, Princeton has proven itself the team to beat in the conference.