PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/10/2015 – The Princeton Tigers women’s basketball team finished the season 30 – 0. The accomplishment really has not sunk in yet. They do know they beat a good University of Pennsylvania team 55 – 42 to get to the plateau in a game that was very tough, and closer than the final score indicated.
“What a great battle,” said Princeton Coach Courtney Banghart. “We know when we play Penn it will be a tough battle. It was a great Ivy League basketball game in a great venue. It was a special moment for everybody to come out on top and complete a perfect season.”
The Tigers did so by playing a good defensive game holding the Quakers to 29.6% shooting (29 of 54), and allowing just 1 of 15 three-pointers.
“Their (Princeton) pressure and defense was great, ” said Penn guard Kathleen Roche. “A few shots that we normally make would have changed how the game went. But give them credit for playing great defense.”
With 14:10 to play ion the second half Penn cut the Princeton lead to 31 – 29 on a layup by freshman forward Michelle Nwokedi, who registered a double-double for the Red and Blue with 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Tigers responded by going on a 13 – 4 run over the next 7 minutes to take control. Princeton got the ball to the basket, and Penn could not stop it.
“I thought they got the ball at the foul line too easy,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin.
The visitors had a 34 – 26 edge in points in the paint.
Penn sophomore center Sydney Stipanovich also scored in double figures with 13 points.
For Princeton forward Alex Wheatley, a Philadelphia area resident from Council Rock High School, scored a game-high 17 points and took down 12 rebounds. Forward Annie Tarakchian also posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Guard Blake Dietrick scored 11 points and guard Vanessa Smith had 10 points.
Princeton, ranked #13/14 clinched the Ivy League title last Saturday. They came into the game looking to make history, and get ready for the NCAA Tournament. It is their fifth title in six seasons. Penn won the crown last season.
The Red and Blue ended the regular season with a 20 – 8 record posting back to back 20 win seasons for the first time in school history. Penn has clinched a bid to the WNIT which will be their next game unless the NCAA comes calling. The Quakers know they have more games and are a team that can compete.
“We’re going to play more,” McLaughlin said. “We’re going to regroup and go at it on Thursday. We’ll be just fine.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian