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W. hoops takes two in last Ivy weekend

Although a victory by first-place Harvard Friday evening led to women's basketball's inevitable elimination from Ivy League title contention, Princeton continued to make a spirited push towards second place.

Led by senior guard Zakiya Pres-sley, the Tigers cruised past Columbia (4-22 overall, 0-14 Ivy League) and Cornell (5-21, 2-12) over the weekend at Jad-win Gym, keeping alive their hopes of winning 10 games in conference play for the first time since 1991.


While the Tigers were certainly not at their best this weekend, they were never in any serious danger of losing to either Ivy League doormat. Princeton did not trail at any point in either game; its smallest second-half lead of the weekend was five points.


Friday evening, the Tigers (15-10, 9-4) raced out to a 34-12 first-half advantage against the overmatched Lions. Sophomore guard Maggie Langlas, having been implored by head coach Liz Feeley to shoot more often, buried a trio of three-point shots during that stanza, enabling Princeton to coast to a 66-49 victory.

Against the Big Red Saturday, the Tigers encountered a surprising amount of resistance from a team whose only conference victories came against Columbia. Sophomore forward Kate Thirolf made four three-pointers en route to 18 points, but Princeton shot only 35 percent from the field. Cornell actually posted a higher efficiency – 39 percent – but the Tigers prevailed, 60-50, because they had 19 more field goal attempts than the Big Red.

The reason for the increase in opportunities was Princeton's rebounding ability. The Tigers pulled down 20 offensive rebounds, led by junior forward Julie Angell's six. This aggressiveness around the basket was more than enough to offset Princeton's abysmal shooting.

Another key to victory for the Tigers was the performance of Pressley. Playing at Jadwin for the final time, the Princeton point guard recorded a season-high 15 points, making a pair of three-point shots in the first half. In addition to her unexpected scoring contribution, Pressley added five steals and four assists without committing a single turnover, all while playing a team-high 37 minutes. Fittingly, she capped her home career with a steal and a layup in the game's final seconds.

"(Pressley) was in command out there," Feeley said. "The last three weeks, she has matured as a player immensely."

In the books


During the victory over Cornell, the Tigers established a pair of school records. Thirolf's three-pointer with 14 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the second half gave Princeton its most three point field goals ever in a single season, breaking the mark held by the 1995-96 team. Then, with 12:33 remaining, Angell rejected Big Red guard Kim Ruck's shot attempt, giving the Tigers a team record for blocked shots in a single season.

Despite finishing its home season in style, Princeton still has one more major test tonight at the Palestra in Philadelphia. The Tigers will face a Penn team that defeated them, 55-52, in Princeton's initial Ivy League contest Jan. 3.

The Tigers are hopeful that tonight's game will propel them to a 10-win season in the Ivy League, an accomplishment that Feeley was quick to put in its proper perspective.

"Two years ago we brought a team to the NIT. That team went 9-5 in the league," Feeley said. "That's the worst we can do this year."

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