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Women's basketball sweeps Cornell and Columbia to remain undefeated in Ivy League play

<h5>Junior guard Julia Cunningham drains a three-pointer against Columbia as her friends celebrate.</h5>
<h6>Photo courtesy of @princetonwbb/Twitter.</h6>
Junior guard Julia Cunningham drains a three-pointer against Columbia as her friends celebrate.
Photo courtesy of @princetonwbb/Twitter.

This weekend, the women’s basketball team (16–4, 8–0 Ivy League) played back-to-back Ivy League opponents in Jadwin Gymnasium, first defeating Cornell (7–12, 2–6) in a 75–37 blowout win, and then taking care of Columbia (16–4, 7–1) 57–39.

On Friday, the Tigers’ solid defense prevented Cornell from scoring for the first eight minutes of the game, and by halftime the Tigers led 35–14. They were able to maintain this 20-point advantage throughout the second half, ultimately doubling Cornell’s score by winning 75–37.

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“We shared the ball really well,” Tigers head coach Carla Berube told The Daily Princetonian. “People stepped up, and players off the bench had some really great contributions, like [sophomore guard] Maddie Plank and [first-year guard] Adaora Nwokeji at the end. It was a really great team win.”

Plank hit two three-point shots and Nwokeji scored in the last 20 seconds of the game, both making major contributions after coming off the bench late.

Junior guard Grace Stone had a particularly strong game, scoring 14 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and dishing five assists. Other impressive performances included 12 points from senior guard Abby Meyers and 11 points from junior guard Julia Cunningham. 

“It’s our first back-to-back Ivy League weekend,” Coach Berube said after the win over the Big Red. “We’re excited. Columbia is a really strong team, so it’s going to be a great challenge here and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

Coming out strong in the second half of a back-to-back is a difficult ask for any basketball team. Doing so against the Columbia Lions, undefeated in the Ivy League, is even tougher. The Tigers, however, made it look easy, defeating Columbia in a 57–39 victory on Saturday evening, giving them complete control of the top spot in the Ivy League.

Princeton was in control from the very start, refusing to give up their lead through all four quarters. At the half, the Tigers led 35–16, fueled by stellar offensive performances from Julia Cunningham and Abby Meyers. The two combined for 24 first-half points, giving the Tigers a comfortable cushion heading into the intermission.

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The second half was no different for the Tigers, who continued dominating on both sides of the floor. Not only did they move the ball more effectively — finishing the game with 13 team assists compared to Columbia’s five — but they also played the passing lanes with great precision, ending with 11 steals and 23 points off turnovers.

Cunningham led all scorers with 19 points and five rebounds, followed by Meyers’ 16 points and five rebounds. Grace Stone added a strong 10 points and seven rebounds, and Ellie Mitchell did all of the little things in the win, ending with a game-high 14 rebounds and a team-high five assists.

At the game, the athletics department also honored the 36th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. As a part of the festivities, the first 100 fans to arrive received a copy of "I Can Do Anything: Stories From the First 50 Years of Women's Athletics at Princeton." Author Jerry Price, who serves as a senior communications advisor and historian for the Princeton athletics department, was also on hand to sign the books for fans. 

The Tigers remain undefeated in the Ivy League at 8–0. They will look to defend their spotless conference record next Saturday, Feb. 12, when they travel up north to take on Dartmouth (2–18, 1–7 Ivy). 

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Matt Drapkin is a staff writer for the ‘Prince’ sports section. He can be reached at mattdrapkin@princeton.edu or on Twitter at @mattdrapkin.

Rachel Posner is a staff writer for the 'Prince' sports section who typically covers sports features. She is also a staff writer for the Features section. She can be reached at rposner@princeton.edu.

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