Women’s basketball (4–7 overall, 0–0 Ivy) extended their win streak to three on Tuesday night at Monmouth (3–6). The Tigers bested the Hawks 79–47 in junior forward Bella Alarie’s second game back from injury.
Coming into the matchup, head coach Courtney Banghart highlighted the two teams’ different styles of play.
“They’re gonna play 94 feet … they’re gonna play up-tempo,” she said of the Hawks on her weekly podcast, “The Court Report.” Banghart discussed Princeton’s preparations, noting her team would focus on getting ready to face a zone defense and containing Monmouth’s two dynamic scorers, guards Sierra Green and Emani Clough.
Monmouth has struggled offensively this season, scoring just 54.9 points per game on just 33.9 percent shooting. Though the Hawks had won three of their last four games, this scoring trend continued against Princeton — they would shoot just 31 percent.
Princeton put up a balanced attack with four players scoring in double figures. They jumped out to a quick lead, leading 23–9 by the end of the third quarter. Monmouth would get within six points of the Tigers in the next frame, but a three-pointer from sophomore guard Carlie Littlefield and a five-point run from Alarie opened up the scoring margin before halftime.
Princeton’s defense began to take shape, too. They held Monmouth to just six points in the third quarter and forced 19 total turnovers. On the other end of the court, the Tigers connected on 46 percent of their field goals, going eight for 18 from a three-point range and 15 for 16 from the free throw line.
Alarie saw just 27 minutes of action on Tuesday after playing 36 against Quinnipiac (4–5), but still put in 16 points and seven rebounds. The junior has quickly made up for the nine games she missed at the start the season, earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors for her season debut — 16 points, a career-high 19 rebounds, five blocks, two steals, and two assists to win the award for the tenth time.
“The way she impacts the game is really fun to watch,” said Banghart. “She’s just a magnet to the ball, on both ends (of the court).”
While Banghart said “everyone’s excited to have Bella back,” Banghart is just as quick to note that winning basketball games is a team effort. “We’re best when we’re at full strength,” she added. Full strength means something new for some players who had to step up in Alarie’s absence. Before the Quinnipiac game, Banghart had a conversation with her point guard Littlefield, reminding her to stay aggressive. Her message seems to have worked: Littlefield led the way for Princeton against Monmouth, shooting 57 percent from beyond the arc and converting all three of her free throw attempts to finish with 19 points.
Banghart is excited to see what her team can do through the rest of December and in the Ivy League.
“To win the Ivy title you’ve gotta be deep,” she said. “And I think we will be close to full strength by the time we get to league play.” The Tigers are still awaiting the returns of junior forward Taylor Baur and senior guard Qalea Ismail.
On Saturday, Princeton hosts Marist (7–2). Tip-off is set for 5 p.m., and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.