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Pressley leads Tigers on defense, makes career-high seven steals against Columbia

Entering this weekend, the women's basketball team had just finished its first Ivy League weekend sweep in nearly two years, beating both Yale and Brown in mid-January.

However, it seemed as though reality was bound to set in on the Tigers, who were playing back-to-back games on the road.

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But Princeton dominated its opposition this weekend, dispatching both Cornell and Columbia by double digits. The Tigers won their seventh and eighth Ivy League games out of their last ten, dating back to last year.

Princeton won at Cornell, 58-41, and at Columbia, 68-51, sweeping its second consecutive Ivy League weekend. Currently, the Tigers have won five games in a row.

Fort Knox

Defense was the story this weekend, as Princeton (10-7 overall, 4-1 Ivy League) held both the Big Red and the Lions to under 52 points.

Like its male counterparts, the women's team is playing exceptional defense – Princeton currently ranks second in the nation in scoring defense.

Leading the Tiger effort on defense was senior point guard Zakiya Pressley, who recorded a career-high seven steals against Columbia Saturday.

In addition to her defensive thievery, Pressley also dished out six assists and poured in 14 points while playing all but one minute of the game, helping to keep Columbia winless in the Ivy League.

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Columbia held sophomore guard Maggie Langlas scoreless in the first half, shutting down the Tigers' outside game. However, this allowed Princeton, and especially junior center Lea Ann Drohan, to dominate the inside.

Using all the cogs

When the Lions made a halftime adjustment and started double-teaming inside, Drohan and the other Tiger post players merely kicked the ball outside, allowing Langlas to reach double figures in points with 15.

Sophomore guard Kate Thirolf came off the bench to contribute 13 points. Thirolf, along with Langlas, Pressley and Drohan, reached double figures against Columbia.

Against Cornell Friday, Drohan led the way, scoring 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field. In addition to being the only Princeton player to reach double figures in points, she grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

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This weekend, the Tigers will face both Dartmouth and Harvard at Jadwin Gym in what may prove to be pivotal games for Princeton, as the Tigers face the second-place Big Green (4-1 Ivy) and Ivy-leader Harvard (5-0 Ivy)

Pressure

If the Tigers should beat Dartmouth and the Crimson, Princeton would move into at least a tie for the Ivy League lead. But to do so, the Tigers must shut down last year's Ivy League Player of the Year, Allison Feaster of Harvard.

"There's no way we're going to stop Allison Feaster," Drohan said. "We just need to be aware of where she is on the court. She gets a lot of her points on offensive rebounds."

But if the Tigers can hold Feaster to a reasonable amount of points and keep her teammates to low scoring outputs, then Princeton may be able to jump into the Ivy League lead.

"Given any night in the Ivy League, any team in the league can lose to any other team," Drohan said.

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