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Women’s basketball topples No. 20 Oklahoma for fourth win against ranked opponent in program history

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Sophomore guard Madison St. Rose shot for 26 points which equalled her career-high score against Duquesne to open the season.
Photo Courtesy of @PrincetonWBB/Twitter.

On Thursday, Nov. 23, the Princeton Tigers (4–2 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) defeated the No. 20 ranked Oklahoma Sooners (5–2 overall, 0–0 Big 12) by double digits, 77–63. As the Tigers emerged victorious in their first game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament, it marked just the fourth win ever for the Tigers against Top-25 ranked opponents in program history, and the third win against ranked opponents in the last three years.

With this decisive victory, Princeton handed the Sooners their first loss of the season and did so in stunning fashion, having led at the end of the first quarter, 23–7.


In particular, sophomore guard Madison St. Rose shot for 26 points, matching her career-high score against Duquesne. After the game versus Oklahoma, St. Rose was averaging 19.4 points per game and was tied for 51st across the country with this record.

“Tonight’s win was such a great feeling,” St. Rose told The Daily Princetonian. “I knew going into that game, we had nothing to lose. So when stepping out on the court I gave it my all."

"I am extremely proud of how we executed the scout and maintained the lead throughout the whole game," she continued. 

Indeed, the Tigers did lead the entire game — the closest the score got was in the second quarter when the Sooners made it 27–23 following a 16–2 run. Although the Tigers grabbed a 16 point lead in the first quarter, Princeton’s biggest lead came in the fourth quarter when they went up 73–52 after a layup from first-year guard Skye Belker. 

The strong start by the Tigers clearly shocked Oklahoma, as after first-year guard Mari Bickley made a three in the first quarter to extend Princeton’s lead to 15–3, Oklahoma was shooting just 7.7 percent from the field. Another Bickley layup forced an Oklahoma timeout as Princeton claimed 17 of the first 20 points.


The first quarter ended with the Tigers up 23–7, but Princeton's dominance extended across the statistical categories. They were up 16–14 on rebounds, 50–14.3 on three-point percentage and 42.9–15.8 on field goal percentage.

“When we went on our run in the first quarter, I believed we shocked Oklahoma a bit,” St. Rose told the ‘Prince.’ “We came out with a lot of energy and we executed the scout very well.”

A three-minute Princeton dry spell in the second quarter allowed the Sooners to force their way back into the game, but points by senior guard Kaitlyn Chen, first-year guard Ashley Chea, and senior forward Ellie Mitchell brought Princeton’s lead back into the double digits at 35–25.

Princeton ended the half up 38–29 after Oklahoma dominated the scoring 22–15 in the second quarter. Although it wasn’t enough to even up the score, the Tigers knew that Oklahoma was just as hungry for the win after a poor start.

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“There were a lot of emotions going into halftime,” Mitchell said about the team’s feelings going into the half. “We came out strong in the first quarter and then in the second OU went on a run, so we wanted to come out in the second half with the same energy we had in the first quarter and have a strong first five minutes to help us pull farther away.”

Three consecutive jumpers by St. Rose kept Princeton ahead by double digits. It was the third quarter when Princeton really began to extend their lead as they came out the tunnel motivated for the win.

Madison St. Rose led the pack with 24 points, followed by Kaitlyn Chen with 20. Ellie Mitchell and Chet Nweke got the most rebounds with 18 and ten, respectively, while Mitchell led the team on assists with seven.

In the third quarter alone, St. Rose got the Tigers 13 of 25 points and over half of their total points for the quarter as she was unstoppable on the court. Making layups, jumpers, and three-point jump shots, the Oklahoma defense couldn’t handle her. 

“[St. Rose] was great yesterday,” Mitchell told the ‘Prince’ about St Rose’s game. “She always plays so confidently and very composed and she’s been making plays on both ends of the court, which is big for us. She’s just a sophomore, but she’s a great role model for all of our young guards.”

Princeton thus ended the third quarter up by 16, having gone on an 8–0 run in the midst of the second quarter. The Sooners got within eight points, but after that, the Tigers led comfortably in the double digits for the rest of the game.

Continuously impressive throughout the game was Chen, the 2023 Ivy League Player of the Year, who ended the game with 20 points — her second game of the season with a 20+ point total. Scoring eight of Princeton’s 14 points in the final quarter, she helped secure the win for the team.

After a Chen jumper made the score 77–57 Princeton, Oklahoma clawed the score back with a 6–0 run to see out the game. The Tigers, dominant throughout, ended the game 77–63 to mark their fourth victory of the season.

Symbolic of Princeton’s dominant display was the fact that they led individually across all five main statistical categories: points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals. Particular amongst this group was Mitchell, who not only finished with a game-high 18 rebounds, but also had seven assists and four steals. 

“It’s really fun playing with Ellie,” St. Rose said. “She is constantly diving on the floor and creating turnovers to help give us more opportunities on offense. She ended the game with 18 rebounds which is insane. Her toughness made it really hard for Oklahoma to get those extra possessions.”

Although a less important facet, Princeton’s bench production was still important to their win. In particular, senior guard Chet Nweke played 24 minutes and scored six of the 16 bench points for the Tigers. 

It was clear that Princeton still felt they had a lot to prove after a tough and narrow loss against UCLA two games prior. Despite the Tigers coming up against the then-No. 3 ranked team (now No. 2), the team felt like they could have won and were understandably disappointed to lose by just three points, 77–74.

“UCLA was tough. We battled for forty minutes and it was a full team effort, but we fell short,” Mitchell said to the ‘Prince’. “I think it was eye opening for us and for the rest of the basketball world. We took it down to the wire, but we don’t just want to be in close games with these top 25 programs, we want to win them. And yesterday, we came out hungry to do that.”

“I think we played with a chip on our shoulder,” Mitchell continued. “And from the tip, we played really aggressively and were able to slow them in transition and get a lot of stops, which then fueled our offense.”

This game marked the first of two matchups for Princeton against ranked opponents with their next game against No. 19 Indiana (5–1 overall, 0–0 Big 10) on Saturday, Nov. 25. The team fell 72–63 to Indiana, as the Hoosiers handed the Tigers their second loss of the season despite 16 points from Chen and 11 from Mitchell. 

With Princeton already getting votes in the Coaches’ Poll last week, the strong showing this weekend could propel the Tigers into Monday's AP top-25. This win also makes the Tigers women's basketball team the only Ivy League team, men's or women's, to have three wins against top-25 opponents since 2019, when head coach Carla Berube was hired. 

Ranked or not, the Tigers will next play at Jadwin Gymnasium versus Seton Hall (4–2 overall, 0–0 Big East) on Wednesday, Nov. 29th at 7PM. 

Alex Beverton-Smith is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’

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