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Women’s basketball opens Ivy League play with easy victory over Cornell

Player in orange and black jumps to attempt a layup with three defenders in white uniforms looking on.
Junior forward Paige Morton driving the lane against the Big Red.
Photo courtesy of @PrincetonWBB/X.

The Ivy League season opened for Princeton women’s basketball (11–3 overall, 1–0 Ivy League) last weekend versus the Cornell Big Red (6–7, 0–1) with a resounding 79–38 victory. Traveling to Ithaca, the Tigers defeated their first conference opponent of the season in a familiar fashion: through the dominance of senior guard Kaitlyn Chen and sophomore guard Madison St. Rose.


“I’ve always tried to be an all-around player,” St. Rose told The Daily Princetonian. “If I can get my shot off from the three, or shoot a pull-up [jumpshot], or drive to the basket, I think it makes it more challenging for other teams to have a scout on me,” she added.

St. Rose was certainly a handful for the Big Red on Saturday. She finished with 20 points to lead all scorers and connected on two three-pointers.

Right out of the gate, Princeton was stellar on both sides of the court, shooting 53 percent from the field while limiting Cornell to just two field goals in the first quarter.

During the Tigers’ 16–1 run to open the game, Chen scored nine of her 15 points — all in the first eight minutes of play. Princeton’s initial 10–1 lead forced an early Cornell timeout, but layups from Chen and senior forward Ellie Mitchell opened up a 15-point Tigers’ lead before the Big Red could collect their bearings. 

Chen was also outstanding defensively. She finished the game with five steals, two more than Cornell’s entire roster recorded on the night.  

“I love playing with Kaitlyn. She’s such a veteran; she has so much experience under her belt,” St. Rose said about her partner in the backcourt. “When it comes to her defense, she applies a lot of pressure … she’s getting in the passing lanes, and she doesn’t let anyone bully her,” she added.


Cornell clawed back a few points to end the first quarter 20–6, but the Tigers still had a sizable double-digit lead. 

The Big Red began the second quarter with a quick five-point run that closed the deficit to nine points, but the Tigers quickly snuffed out any real chance of a Cornell comeback with a jumper and layup from Chen and St. Rose.

This sequence began a 13–0 run for the Tigers, extending the lead to 22 points at 33–11. The run was sealed by an impressive three-point jumper by first-year guard Skye Belker.

The teams traded points back and forth, but the Big Red were too far behind to make any real dent in the Tigers’ lead. The first half ended 37–18, with Princeton nearly matching Cornell’s total game score in the first half alone.

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After a Skye Belker jumper and free throw extended the lead to 20, Princeton held a lead of at least 20 points from the 1:51 mark of the third quarter through the rest of play. Princeton’s third quarter continued with much the same dominance as the first half, punctuated by a layup by junior forward Katie Thiers to give Princeton a 55–25 advantage. 

Cornell recorded their biggest single-quarter points total with 13 points in the fourth quarter, but Princeton still beat them out in the final quarter with 24 points of their own. Moving their starters to the bench for much of the final quarter, first-year guards Fadima Tall and Margo Mattes ended the game with a handful of points. Tall and Mattes ended the game with an 11–0 run, scoring six and five points, respectively.

Cornell ended the game with two single-digit scoring quarters whilst Princeton scored over 20 as a team in two separate quarters. 

For the Princeton program, the Ivy League season couldn’t have begun any better, and their key players look to be mixing together really well. Alongside Chen and St. Rose’s production, Ellie Mitchell completed her 46th game with 10 or more rebounds in her career, contributing more than a quarter of Princeton’s total 39 rebounds for the game.

This result takes Princeton to 11–3 overall and means they’re off to a winning start in the Ivy League. 

“When it comes to Ivy League play, we have a different mindset,” St. Rose said. “We’ve been Ivy League champions for the last five years, so we know that everybody wants to take that title away from us.” 

St. Rose and the Tigers proved on Saturday that they are ready for everybody’s best and are primed to earn their sixth consecutive Ivy League championship

Their next steps towards that goal come in a road matchup at Harvard (8–6, 1–0) on Jan. 13, before another trip to Dartmouth (6–7, 0–1) on Jan. 15.

Alex Beverton-Smith is a staff writer for the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’

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