On Saturday, Jan. 21, women’s basketball (13–5 overall, 4–2 Ivy League) defeated the Dartmouth Big Green (2–18, 0–6) by a score of 79–59.
With a push in the second half, the Tigers secured their thirteenth win of the season and are now tied for third in the Ivy League. The top four teams in the Ivy League will qualify for the Ivy Madness tournament, which will be hosted at Jadwin Gymnasium this year.
Despite Dartmouth’s last-place ranking in the Ivy League, the game started off very close. Princeton led by six points with three minutes left in the first quarter. The Big Green then produced a quick jumper and some threes to tie the game at 17–17 to end the opening frame.
Dartmouth was hot from beyond the arc in the first and shot a solid seven-for-13 from the field.
Princeton’s defense gained momentum in the second quarter, forcing five Dartmouth turnovers compared to Princeton’s one. The Tigers were also able to take advantage of size mismatches in the key and many of Princeton’s points came from inside the paint.
On the other hand, Dartmouth’s three pointers were keeping them in the game, and, at the half, the Big Green was shooting a phenomenal five-for-seven from the three-point line.
Princeton trailed 33–31 with one minute left in the second quarter, but junior guard Kaitlyn Chen put up a quick five points to help give the Tigers a lead heading into the locker room. Even with Dartmouth’s better shooting percentage in field goals, three-pointers, and free throws, Princeton still led 36–35 at the half.
Princeton came out swinging at the start of the second half. The Tigers got a steal right off the bat, which led to an and-one by first-year guard Madison St. Rose, giving Princeton a four-point lead. While Dartmouth cooled down from beyond the arc in the third, the Tigers had fluid ball movement that led to easy buckets in the paint.
“The way we moved the ball in the second half wasn’t anything new [the] coach had drawn up,” Chen told The Daily Princetonian. “We had been working on it all week and were finally able to execute it and hit open teammates.”
Sophomore forward Paige Morton contributed eight points in the third, all of which came from inside the paint. In the third quarter, the Big Green were unable to make the same shots they had made in the first half and the Tigers began to set up their bigs for easy layups near the basket, giving Princeton a 56–49 lead heading into the final period.
Princeton picked up where they left off in the fourth quarter. The Tigers went on an 8–0 run to extend their lead to 12 with eight minutes left in the game.
Even as the Tigers cooled down near the end of the game, it was too late for the Big Green to catch up, and the game ended with a 20-point victory for the Tigers, 79–59.
A real difference-maker in the fourth was Princeton’s defense. The Tigers were able to hold the Big Green to only ten points in the last quarter.
“Our defense has always helped dictate our offense, so once we were able to lock in on defense it helped lead to easy offense,” said Chen.
Princeton’s inside advantage stood out, with the Tigers scoring 46 points in the paint compared to Dartmouth’s 26. The Tigers also had an 11-to-five offensive rebounding advantage; the Tigers turned these 11 rebounds into 15 second-chance points. For Dartmouth, their leading scorer, guard Victoria Page, was in foul trouble for most of the game and only came away with one field goal.
Balanced offense was also key to the win for Princeton, as five Tigers players finished in double-figures for the night. St. Rose led the Tigers in scoring with 15 points, shooting a solid six-for-12 from the field. Chen produced 13 points, three assists, and eight rebounds, while senior guard Julia Cunningham added 11 points and five assists.
Sophomore forwards Parker Hill and Morton both shot 100 percent from the field on Saturday, with Morton contributing 11 points and Hill adding on ten. Junior forward Ellie Mitchell also notably had eight rebounds and three steals, and senior guard Maggie Connolly dished out five assists.
Princeton returns to Jadwin Gym to face off against Yale (10–9 overall, 4–2 Ivy) on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Allison Ha is a contributing writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.