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Women’s hoops splits weekend against Brown and Yale

Over the first full Ivy League weekend of the season, the Princeton women’s basketball team fell to a dominant Brown squad before picking up a win over the Bulldogs. Beyond the weekend’s scores, the Tigers demonstrated a balanced offense and ability to win down the stretch.

Friday’s 88-98 loss to Brown proved to be an exchange of firepower on the Tigers’ home court. Princeton started the night on a rough note, falling to a quick 13-2 deficit. Over the course of the next two quarters, however, the Tigers battled their way back into the game with help from sophomore guard Gabrielle Rush’s sharp shooting. Rush would eventually tally five baskets from beyond the arch by the end of the night.

A quick five-point burst coming out of the half would give Princeton its first lead of the game at 50-48. In response, the Bears left little room for effort. Over the course of two double-digit runs, the Bears eventually stole the game from the Tigers’ reach. Of note, Brown’s Justine Gaziano recorded a league season-high 33 points on Friday.

On the Orange and Black side, freshman forward Bella Alarie cleared history books by recording a freshman-record seven blocks.

Come Saturday evening, the Tigers eagerly sought their first Ivy League victory of the season. The 74-62 victory would not come easy against a then 9-5 Yale team, however. Unlike the previous night, the Tigers started Saturday on a strong note jumping to an early 6-2 lead.

For the majority of Saturday, the two Ivy League rivals exchanged leads, battling both inside and out. Junior forward Leslie Robinson’s crucial double-double, featuring 15 impressive rebounds, led the Tigers against a formidable opponent. On the offensive side, junior guard Tia Weledji led with 17 points on the game.

It was the final two minutes of the game that would seal the Tigers’ first Ivy victory of the season. By limiting Yale to just one bucket in this span and drawing fouls from the Bulldogs, the Tigers were able to outscore Yale 25-6 in the final quarter.

Though the Tigers are not off to the same start that many veterans on the team are accustomed to, the weekend’s matches demonstrated Weledji and Robinson’s ability to lead. In addition, Alarie continues to impress with her all-around game.

Looking ahead, the Tigers will rest for the remainder of January. In February, they will return to crucial games against Dartmouth and Harvard.