PRINCETON – Last season, Penn women’s basketball went on the road and ended Princeton’s season, upsetting the Tigers to win the Ivy League title.
In their return trip to Jadwin Gym, the Quakers weren’t as fortunate.
No. 22 Princeton extended its undefeated season into Ivy play, dispatching the Red and Blue, 83-54, in an inauspicious start to the defending Ivy League champions’ title defense.
The Tigers (17-0, 1-0 Ivy) came into the game with a flawless start to the season, winning each of their nonconference games. With its last regular season loss coming against Mike McLaughlin’s squad, Princeton easily avenged last season’s disappointment after trouncing their non-Ivy foes.
“We did bring [last year’s loss] up before the game,” Princeton senior captain Blake Dietrick said. “It was just kind of a ‘remember that feeling.’ Remember what we’ve been working for this whole offseason and don’t let one team stand in our way.”
Penn (7-5, 0-1) won the opening tip, but turned the ball over on each of its first two possessions. After senior forward Kara Bonenberger added a jumper to knot the game at two apiece, the Tigers ended up leading the rest of the way.
Princeton was bolstered early by its three leading scorers – juniors Michelle Miller and Annie Tarakchian along with an All-Ivy guard in Dietrick. While Dietrick drained two three-pointers for a team-high 11 first-half points, Miller shot 5-for-7 from the field while Tarakchian grabbed 11 of the Tigers’ 28 first-half rebounds, finishing with a career-high 17 rebounds on the day.
Meanwhile, the Red and Blue struggled to shoot the ball efficiently. Sophomore center Sydney Stipanovich was held without a point in the first half, while the team as a whole shot 28.6 percent from the field before the break.
“She had a couple easy ones early and she missed,” McLaughlin said. “We’re missing that wing player who can make a play to beat the clock at the breakdown of a set ... last year, we would have just gone to [then-senior guard Alyssa Baron].”
Despite their offensive struggles, the Quakers kept within striking distance during the opening period. Penn fell down by nine early but a run engineered by senior guard Kathleen Roche brought the Quakers within two.
Roche and Bonenberger led the Red and Blue with eight points each in the first half, but the Tigers took a 35-25 advantage into the break.
From there, it was an onslaught featuring Princeton and only Princeton.
The Tigers went on a 20-4 run to begin the half, dominating the offensive end while putting the Quakers’ lack of a go-to scorer on clear display. Dietrick finished with a game-high 25 points, draining long-range jumpers to lead Princeton to victory. Junior forward Alex Wheatley added eight in the second half, while Princeton’s bench was all smiles for the final 20 minutes.
After the game, Tigers’ coach Courtney Banghart praised Wheatley not only for her offense but for her strong defense on Stipanovich, an effort that limited Stipanovich to one field goal on 11 attempts.
The Quakers have only beaten Princeton once – last season’s de facto Ivy League title game – during McLaughlin’s time as coach. Bonenberger was Penn’s leading scorer with 21 points, maintaining her intensity in the post throughout the game.
“I just told Kara and the team in the locker room, I thought she was terrific,” McLaughlin said. “I go back to three years ago at Princeton her freshman year. She didn’t play well, didn’t handle herself well. Three years later ... she showed fight. She showed leadership. She carried her team, and I don’t think she could have done that a few years ago.”
Penn will now have to rebound with three nonconference games before rebooting Ivy play. The Quakers face Richmond on Wednesday before taking on Villanova and NJIT over the next two weeks.Comments powered by Disqus
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