Princeton women’s basketball (4–1 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) first loss couldn’t have come in a more thrilling fashion. Despite a buzzer-beater at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, as well as several chances at the end of overtime to force double overtime, Princeton fell 77–75 to Iowa (3–1) on Wednesday night.
With the Tigers trailing Iowa by three with just under a second remaining, sophomore guard Julia Cunningham received an inbounds pass and threw up a desperate heave towards the basket. The ball banked off the backboard and went through the net, tying the game at 67, and, later that night, putting the Tigers on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Plays segment at No. 8.
Princeton got off to a hot start in overtime, as four points from sophomore guard Grace Stone followed by a layup from senior forward Bella Alarie gave Princeton a 73–67 lead with three minutes remaining.
From that point, Princeton’s offense went cold, and Iowa rattled off eight unanswered points to take a 75–73 lead with 19 seconds remaining. The Tigers had two chances to tie the game and force another overtime period with free throws. First, Alarie drew a foul with five seconds remaining, but she could convert only one of the two free throws. Then, after Iowa made two free throws, Cunningham drew a foul and earned three final free throw attempts and another chance to tie the game.
This time, however, she wouldn’t be the hero. She missed the first attempt, and Princeton fell 77–75.
Princeton held Iowa to just 14 points in the first quarter and 13 in the second quarter, taking a 37–27 lead into halftime. The Hawkeyes dominated the third quarter to cut Princeton’s lead to 47–45. The teams traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter until Cunningham’s final three-pointer sent the game to overtime.
Despite missing most of Sunday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast University with an injury, Alarie played 44 minutes against Iowa and recorded 26 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. Cunningham added another 17 points for Princeton, and Stone contributed 13.
Princeton will return home this weekend to face Monmouth on Sunday at 1 p.m.