The Tigers are facing a true heavyweight in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
After defeating another blue-blood program in No 6. seed Kentucky (19–12, 8–8 Southeastern) by a score of 69–62 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the 11th seed women’s basketball team (25–4, 14–0 Ivy) advanced to the tournament’s second round to face No. 3 seed Indiana (23–8, 11–5 Big Ten).
With the game fast approaching, we’ve compiled all the information you should know about the Hoosiers and Tigers ahead of the matchup.
The Hoosiers have significantly more experience against the nation’s top teams
Coming from a bigger conference, it’s no surprise that Indiana has more experience against top opponents than Princeton. The Hoosiers played heavyweights like Iowa (24–7, 14–4) and Maryland (23–8, 13–4) in league play this season, and faced off against national powerhouses Stanford (29–3, 16–0 Pac 12) and North Carolina State (30–3, 17–1 Atlantic Coast) in preseason. The Hoosiers lost all three matchups against Iowa, although each game was decided by single digits. Indiana went 2–1 against Maryland, and lost to Stanford and N.C. State by three and eight points, respectively.
The Tigers, meanwhile, have only seen three ranked opponents this year, including Kentucky (who were ranked No. 15 in the AP Poll). The Tigers have gone 2–1 against ranked opponents this year, with wins over the Wildcats and Florida Gulf Coast (30–2, 15–1 Atlantic Sun), and a loss to Texas (28–6, 13–5 Big 12). The only common opponent between the Tigers and Indiana is Kentucky, whom the Hoosiers demolished by 21 points early in the season.
Defense will be paramount for the Tigers
As has been the case all season, defense will need to remain the hallmark of the Tigers’ performance on Monday night if they want to win. Entering the matchup, the Tigers are fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just over 51 points per game. They will face up against a high-powered Hoosiers offense that puts up over 72 points per contest.
The Tigers have allowed more than 72 points just twice this season, and haven’t done so this calendar year. They went 1–1 in those games.
Talented scorers on both teams
Indiana is led by two players who score over 15 points per game in guard Grace Berger and forward Mackenzie Holmes, who combined for 37 points in the Hoosiers’ first-round win. The Tigers, meanwhile, have just one player with such an average in Ivy League Player of the Year and senior guard Abby Meyers, who scored a season-high 29 points in the win over Kentucky to increase her average to 18.2 points per game on the season.
However, sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen (10.5 points per game) has stood out in recent weeks, closing out the season with three consecutive Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors before winning Ivy Madness Most Outstanding Player thanks to her 30-point performance in the Ivy Madness Final. Chen followed up that performance with a 17-point outing against Kentucky.
Princeton looking to make school (and tournament) history
The two schools have matched up just once previously, with Princeton winning 62–51 in December of 1978.
With the win over Kentucky, the Tigers got their second-ever March Madness win in program history. With a win Monday night, they could make the first Sweet 16 in school history and book their ticket to Bridgeport for next weekend’s regional semifinal against either Connecticut (26–5, 16–1 Big East) or Central Florida (26–3, 14–1 American).
In addition to being the first-ever Tigers team to make it to the second weekend of the tournament, the Tigers would also become just the 13th No. 11 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in tournament history.
You can watch the Tigers go for this history Monday night at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
Wilson Conn is a co-head editor for the Sports section at the 'Prince' who typically covers football, basketball, and breaking news. He is also a senior writer for the Podcast section. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @wilson_conn.