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Women’s basketball maintain steady lead to overcome Quinnipiac 79–70

A woman in a white jersey wearing a black headband prepares to shoot a free throw during a basketball game
Madison St. Rose lead the Tigers in scoring with 17 in their win over Quinnipiac.
Photo courtesy of @PrincetonWBB/X

On Wednesday night, the women’s basketball team (6–3 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) beat the Quinnipiac Bobcats (2–5 overall, 0–0 Metro Atlantic Athletic) in comfortable fashion at Jadwin Gymnasium.

After going down 2–0 to start the game, Princeton quickly took the lead and held onto it for the rest of the game. The Tigers managed to keep the Bobcats at arm’s length with relative ease, and they earned themselves another victory after a tough loss against Rhode Island (6–4 overall, 0–0 Atlantic 10) last week.


Junior forward Parker Hill picked up a career-high 14 points on seven-of-nine shooting, while sophomore guard Madison St. Rose continued to lead the way for the Tigers as she scored a team-high 17 points.

“We definitely wanted to come out strong and turn a new page,” Hill told The Daily Princetonian about the team’s mentality. “So it definitely was important to punch first and I think we did.”

By all accounts, the game should have been a victory for Princeton with their strong form, but Quinnipiac had faced some strong teams and gained experience from those matchups. Indeed, they beat Rhode Island, who Princeton lost to, in a competitive 61–59 win just before facing the Tigers.

Princeton started the game strongly and before long had claimed 15 of the first 20 points. St. Rose ended this run with a three-point jumper and an assist to first-year guard Skye Belker. Indeed, this hot start was characterized by the team shooting 100 percent from the field on their first seven shots.

St. Rose came into this game matching senior guard Kaitlyn Chen’s points per game total. After this performance, however, she now heads the team with a total of 16.33 points per game, nearly doubling her 8.8 point average last year.


“When she [St. Rose] starts a game like that, we’re in a good position,” head coach Carla Berube told the ‘Prince.’ “She shoots the ball well in practice and anytime she’s shooting in the gym, so it’s nice when it can translate in games as well.”

The Bobcats fought back, however, to keep themselves in it — an 11–2 run by Quinnipiac got them within a point of the Tigers, but this was as close as they got for the rest of the game. Senior guard Chet Nweke hit a jumper to see out the first quarter and put Princeton up 19–16.

The Orange and Black, determined to extend their lead, entered the second quarter with some style. A 10–2 run was capped off by some skill from first-year guard Ashley Chea who assisted junior forward Katie Thiers’ layup, before getting a huge stepback three of her own to bring Princeton up 29–18.

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Thiers is a contributing Features writer for the ‘Prince.’

The Tigers kept their lead in the double digits for the rest of the half as the teams traded points from here on, but the Bobcats never really got close. St. Rose closed out her halftime shooting in the double digits with 11 points, while it was Chen who got the final Princeton points of the half with a layup.

Princeton ended the half leading 44–34, and although these were Chen’s final points of the game, it was her assisting that was her best asset of the night. Chen managed to record a career-high 10 assists by the game’s close, becoming the first Princeton player since Blake Dietrick ’15 in 2014 to get 10-plus assists in a game.

“She was finding the open players,” said Berube to the ‘Prince’ about Chen. “We need that, we need her to be the facilitator and make those plays to her teammates.”

The third quarter began with a series of quick breaks, but once again the Bobcats only managed to get within eight of Princeton. Nevertheless, after Quinnipiac made a jumper to get the score down to 52–44 Princeton, the Tigers quickly bounced back with a St. Rose score and Chen assist, followed by a layup.

Chea ended the scoring in the third quarter with a jumper for Princeton to maintain the double-digit lead at 64–52.

A Hill layup and another Chen assist started the scoring in the fourth and final quarter of the game. This capped off Hill’s career-high scoring tally for the night, and she cemented Berube’s choice to give her another start.

“She is just a really big presence inside, both defensively and offensively a great target,” Berube said of Hill. “She’s smart, has a good basketball IQ, and just reads things really well.”

With 6:51 left on the clock, St. Rose scored her 17th and final points of the night after yet another Chen assist. Chen danced down the right side of the court on a fast break getting Princeton a foul which led to St. Rose’s score.

Princeton’s largest lead of the game of 17 came late into the fourth quarter as they went up 76–59 following two free throw conversions by junior forward Paige Morton.

Quinnipiac made a late surge, going on a 7–0 run in the last two minutes of the game, but this, of course, was not enough with Princeton having given a large enough cushion for themselves not to worry.

“We try to play with the mindset that there are no cushions, it’s always 0–0,” Hill said to the ‘Prince.’ “But I guess in some sense it is always nice to have that cushion even if you don’t want to play like you have it.”

The team really came together for the Tigers, and it was important for them to do so after suffering the loss to Rhode Island. A focus on bench production was also emphasized by Berube with 11 different players scoring.

The only thing for the Tigers now will be to shore up the defense even towards the last few minutes, and to not give away any cheap points. A more aggressive and clinical defense will see Princeton go far and do well against any future opposition.

“Our defense isn’t where it needs to be yet,” Berube told the ‘Prince.’ “It needs to be a lot better on Monday if we are going to guard Villanova and their system.”

“It’ll certainly be a test on Monday and Rutgers on Wednesday, so a big week ahead, but we’ve got some work to do this weekend defensively,” Berube added. 

Indeed, next week’s matchup will be a big one for the Tigers. Villanova (6–2 overall, 0–0 Big East) have a similar record to Princeton, having played some tough games as well. But if the defense comes together for the Tigers, and individual players continue their impressive form to unite as a team, then Princeton has every shot of continuing their strong season.

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

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