On Feb. 9, women’s basketball (11—9, 3—2 Ivy) defeated Brown (9—13, 1—5), in its fifth Ivy League game of the season. The night before, during its alumnae weekend, the Tigers suffered an overtime loss to the Bulldogs. When asked about the significance of beating Brown after a tough defeat, head coach Courtney Banghart explained that the loss against Yale contributed to the team’s learning curve.
“As long as we take lessons from every game, there is a tournament now in the Ivy League,” Banghart said. “What matters is that the lessons we take, we get better game to game.”
Led by senior guard Gabrielle Rush, Princeton defeated Brown 93–74. As a whole, the Tigers held a field goal percentage of .500 over the Bears, who only managed a percentage of .386. Rush was able to make out with a total of 22 points and six three-pointers, a personal best, for which she credits her teammate, junior forward Bella Alarie.
“I think it helps a lot playing with Bella,” Rush said. “She’s been playing so incredible lately that teams are having to sell out more inside, which is leaving shooters open, and my teammates have been doing a great job of finding me where I can succeed most.”
Alarie also contributed to the Tiger offense with 20 points and 16 rebounds, followed by senior guard Sydney Jordan’s 12 points, and 7 points from sophomore guard Carlie Littlefield. While the Tigers’ offensive game was noteworthy, their defense against Brown was equally important in securing the win. When she was interviewed after the game, Banghart admitted that while Brown maintained a solid offense, the Tigers’ improving defense allowed them to hold their ground against the many shots taken against them.
“They’re a really good offensive team,” Banghart said of Brown. “But if they have to take that many shots to be effective, I can live with that.”
In addition to the team’s success, the attendance of alumnae made the night special. Most notably, players from the 2014-2015 team, a historic year in which the Tigers held the greatest record in Ivy League men and women’s basketball, going 30–0 in an undefeated regular season, attended the game. When asked what it was like to have former teammates and players watch and cheer them on, Banghart and Rush paid tribute to the support the team continuously receives.
“They’re a lot of the reason the program is what it is,” Rush said. “Just to have them here cheering us on in the sidelines shows a lot of what this program is about – and what it will be about for a long time.”
The Tigers will next make their way to Harvard for their game on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a game at Dartmouth on Saturday at 5 p.m.