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Staff Picks: Women’s Basketball at Columbia

Kaitlyn Chen Happy
Senior guard Kaitlyn Chen leads the No. 25 ranked Tigers in scoring with a 16 point-per-game average.
Photo courtesy of @PrincetonWBB/X.

It was a week of national attention and high praise for the No. 25 women’s basketball team (20–3 overall, 10–0 Ivy League), who are coming off of a 45-point thrashing of the Yale Bulldogs (6–17, 3–7) and their 15th consecutive win. 

The Tigers remain nationally ranked in the AP Poll for the fourth straight week and are undefeated in the Ivy League. Senior guard and captain Kaitlyn Chen, who averaged 17.5 points, six rebounds, and five assists across two wins for the Tigers, was named one of five United States Basketball Writer’s Association (USBWA) Ann Meyers Drysdale National Players of the Week.


While the Tigers are certainly riding high and feeling the love, their biggest test of the year will come this Saturday in New York City when they match up with the Columbia Lions (18–5, 9–1), the Tigers’ perennial competition for the Ivy League title.

The two teams have finished first and second in the Ivy League each of the last two seasons and likely will again this year.

The Lions, whose only conference loss of the season came to the Tigers on Jan. 20, will need to take care of business at home this weekend if they want a shot at the Ivy League regular season title.

After losing in the semifinal of Ivy Madness to the Harvard Crimson (14–9, 7–3) as the second seed last year and then falling to the Kansas Jayhawks in the WNIT Championship game, the Lions will need no reminding of the heartbreak they hope to avoid this season — they’ll bring their all.

Though the Tigers seem unbeatable as of late, and the Lions have lost each of their last two matchups with Princeton, expect each of the big cats to leave Schiller Court with scratches — though only one will be crowned queen in the concrete jungle this weekend.

Associate Sports editor Hayk Yengibaryan ’26, assistant Sports editor Harrison Blank ’26, staff Sports writer Allison Ha ’25, and staff Sports writer Max Hines ’25 offered their picks for this weekend’s contest.


Princeton 67, Columbia 63 – Hayk Yengibaryan, Associate Sports Editor 

The Tigers are still not getting the credit they deserve. In the Week 16 Associated Press (AP) Poll, the Tigers came in at No. 25 for the fourth week in a row despite beating Yale by a staggering 45 points over the weekend and beating No. 23 Oklahoma earlier this season. In the latest bracketology released by ESPN analyst Charlie Creme, the Tigers were projected to be a nine-seed in the NCAA tournament. A nine-seed would see the Tigers be major underdogs in a potential second-round matchup. 

If the Tigers want any chance at a top-seven seed in March, they need to not only win, but win in dominating fashion. Thankfully, head coach Carla Berube is used to winning in the Ivy League, boasting a 50–2 record in Ivy League play heading into Saturday afternoon’s contest. 

For Columbia, winning on Saturday may help their chances of getting an at-large bid into the tournament. In Creme’s projections, the Lions are “on the bubble” of securing this lucrative bid.

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Unfortunately for the Lions, the better team will come out on top on Saturday afternoon. The Lions will put the majority of their focus on senior guard and captain Kaitlyn Chen, and rightfully so. However, sophomore guard Madison St. Rose is a threat to score from anywhere on the floor. Senior forward Ellie Mitchell will have at least four offensive rebounds, giving Princeton extra possessions and opportunities to score. 

The Lions are averaging 79.3 points per game, which is a recipe for success against most teams. However, the Tigers consistently “Get Stops” and allow just 50.2 points per game to league opponents. Berube will frustrate the Lions and slow the game down drastically. The Lions will keep it close in the first half and give their fans some hope at the halftime break, but the Tigers will come out strong in the second half and escape with a narrow win. 

Princeton 87, Columbia 73 – Harrison Blank, Assistant Sports Editor

Carla Berube’s squad cannot and will not be stopped as they continue to dominate the Ivy League. They beat the Lions by double digits for the second time this year, overcoming the second-place Ivy League team on the road.

Sophomore guard Madison St. Rose remains the Lions’ biggest fear: She will score 23 points on very efficient shooting since she torched them for 21 earlier in the season. The five weeks since the Tigers’ 80–65 win will not have resulted in the Lions discovering any way to stop the sophomore sensation. 

Senior forward Ellie Mitchell will be unstoppable on the glass, recording 13 rebounds and adding 8 points. The two-time reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year stymies the Lions in the paint and on the boards, anchoring the Tigers on the defensive end.

The Tigers will reach their highest-scoring total yet, seeing success from the long-ball tonight as senior guard Kaitlyn Chen and freshman guard Ashley Chea each hit three threes. The Tigers shot well below their average three-point percentage last time around against the Lions — and they still broke 80 points. On Saturday, the Tigers will flirt with 90.

Princeton 70, Columbia 62 – Allison Ha, Staff Sports Writer 

After coming off a win against Harvard, the Tigers will continue their win streak with a victory over Columbia. This game on Saturday is extremely important for both teams as it will determine who are the Ivy League Regular Season Champions. 

We have seen Princeton succeed in high-pressure situations, and this is no exception. Princeton women’s basketball always seems to find a way to get it done, and especially with the depth this year's team has, this game is Princeton’s to lose.

This is not to say that this matchup will be easy though. Despite the contest ending in an 80–65 win for the Tigers in the two teams’ last matchup, the score did not reflect how close the game felt. 

Princeton did a good job defending senior guard and three-time All-Ivy honoree Abbey Hsu — who leads the Ivy League in points-per-game — and limiting her efficiency. While Hsu shoots 42 percent from the field on average, the Tigers held her to a lower clip. She shot 8–22 from the field, or 36 percent. 

Hsu still, however, led the Lions in scoring with 21 points, proving that even when shots aren’t falling like they normally do, she can still produce. The Tigers will have to continue hitting shots as they have been while doing all they can to contain Hsu if they hope to emerge victorious, and they will.

Princeton 77, Columbia 65 – Max Hines, Staff Sports Writer 

Coming into Saturday’s game, Princeton and Columbia have won their last 21 games combined. Princeton is undefeated in league play, and Columbia’s only loss is to the Tigers. Suffice it to say, this may very well be the Ivy League Championship preview. 

In their first matchup at Jadwin, the two sides were knotted up late in the third quarter until the Tigers turned on the jets to win by double digits. Princeton’s leading scorer, senior Kaitlyn Chen, was limited by foul trouble, but senior Ellie Mitchell, sophomore Madison St. Rose, and first-year Skye Belker all had career nights to pick up the slack. 

I see no reason to think Chen will be plagued by fouls again, and Princeton’s bench has developed since January when the Tigers only had four bench points. With Chen as a more present X-factor and with contributions from players like first-year sharpshooter Ashley Chea, I see the Tigers outlasting the Lions once again.

However, Abbey Hsu is a dangerous threat for the Lions, who feature the 25th-ranked offense in the country. In order for Princeton to emerge victorious, the defense will need to follow their “Get Stops” motto to a T to ensure Hsu and company aren’t too much to handle. 

Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

Harrison Blank is an assistant editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

Allison Ha is a staff Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’ 

Max Hines is a staff Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’

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