Women’s basketball edges Columbia 65–59 in home thriller for their fifth straight win| February 25, 2019
On Saturday night, first-year guard Grace Stone netted a personal best of 13 points, and junior forward Bella Alarie led her team in scoring. The two propelled Princeton women’s basketball (15–9, 7–2 Ivy) to a 65–59 victory over Columbia (7–16, 3–7) in a tight game.
The Tigers started out the game strong, finishing the first quarter up 25–14. By the end of the second quarter, they had advanced to a whopping 45–24 lead. But after four quick points by Princeton in the beginning of the third period, the Lions embarked on a 14-point spree.
With just six minutes left in the game, Columbia trailed Princeton by only three points. A layup from sophomore guard Carlie Littlefield stretched the Tigers’ advantage to six points — and from there, they didn’t look back. Free throws from senior forward Sydney Jordan, senior guard Gabrielle Rush, and Littlefield edged Princeton to its 65–59 victory.
In her postgame interview, Coach Courtney Banghart said that, heading into the second half of the game, her team’s strong start would be difficult to surpass or maintain.
“The only way to go is down, because of how we came out,” Banghart said she told her team during halftime. “It’s about making sure that we’re taking care of what we need to take care of to be better. And I thought that that game got us better because we still have a lot of season left.”
Alarie led the game with 14 points, five assists, seven rebounds, and a block. Littlefield added 13 points, two assists, eight rebounds, and four steals, followed by Stone with 13 points, eight rebounds, and two steals. When asked about teammate Stone, Littlefield talked about the importance of everyone’s contributions.
“Coach always says we all have to bring our own stripe to the streak,” Littlefield said. “I think it was huge that [Stone] came out and did that, because we all know Bella is going to get triple-teamed, so it’s just the next guy up and who’s going to step up.”
Coach Courtney Banghart also praised her underclass players for their mature performance in the game.
“It’s nice to have young guys contribute,” Banghart said, “though Carlie feels like an older one to me because she started last year as well. She’s got a ton of experience on a very inexperienced team and she’s learning how to take command, which you usually don’t ask a sophomore to do. Grace is someone you really trust on the defensive end. She has to be more aggressive offensively and I thought today was a good step forward.”
Saturday’s game against Columbia also celebrated breast cancer survivors in a Pink Zone Game. Athletes from both teams wore pink socks, and many wore pink headbands in support of the cause.
The Tigers will travel this Tuesday to face Ivy first-seed Penn at 7 p.m., followed by a home game on Friday against Dartmouth and on Saturday against Harvard in Jadwin Gymnasium. The game against Harvard at 5 p.m. will be the team’s Senior Night. All games will be streamed on ESPN+.