In perhaps its worst game of the season, Penn women's basketball fell to Princeton, 60-40. The Quakers (15-6, 6-2 Ivy) struggled in all facets of the game, especially on offense, where they recorded season-lows in points, field goal percentage, and assists. Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Bella Alarie is really good at basketball
What didn’t Bella Alarie do tonight for the Princeton Tigers? The sophomore guard/forward scored 18 points on an efficient 6 for 10 shooting, including 2 for 2 from beyond the arc. Her 15 rebounds gave her an impressive double-double. She also added three blocks and two steals in an incredible defensive performance, altogether making her the easy choice for player of the game.
Alarie showed her toughness against Penn’s forwards, hounding them on defense whenever they touched the ball in the post and hustling for rebounds, out-rebounding every player on the floor by a large margin. The Quakers had trouble scoring down low all game, due in part to Princeton’s aggressive defense led by the physical play of Alarie.
On the offensive end, Alarie was also aggressive, attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line three times, including one three-point play opportunity. This relentless attack pulled the focus of the Quakers' defense, opening up the floor for her teammates. The Tigers were able to move the ball well, notching fifteen assists.
Penn played its sloppiest game all season
The Quakers turned the ball over nine times, which inhibited their offensive ability. Combined with their poor shooting (25.8 percent from the field), the Red and Blue scored their fewest points in any single game this season. One big difference maker was the hustle plays. Princeton had seven steals, leading to 11 fast break points, and they out-rebounded the Quakers 47 to 37.
Princeton had 15 turnovers of their own, but the Tigers were able to limit the damage by hustling back on defense, limiting Penn to a grand total of zero fast break points.
The turnovers by Penn and subsequent fast break points by Princeton exemplify the pace of the game. The Tigers played intense defense, converging when the ball was fed into the paint and taking advantage of Penn's mistakes. A couple of careless passes by senior guard Anna Ross and junior guard Ashley Russell early on set the tone for what would become a blowout win for the Tigers.
There was a huge bench point disparity
One of the most glaring differences between the two squads tonight was the points off the bench, and it showed up on the scoreboard. Led by freshman guard Abby Meyers, the Princeton bench poured in half of their 60 points. With an efficient 7 for 15 shooting, including 3 for 9 from three-point range, Meyers scored 12 points in just 10 minutes of action in the first half and added five more in the second.
The bench for Penn was hardly able to find success, scoring just five points on 2 of 13 shooting. It was a difficult night on the offensive side of the ball for the Quakers, and the bench’s shooting woes did not help. The starters for the Quakers were forced to take the bulk of the shots on offense, resulting in a very top-heavy and one-dimensional style of play that was easy for Princeton to defend.
Princeton played outstanding defense
The Tigers played their best defensive game of the season in one of the biggest games on their schedule. They imposed their will on the Quakers, especially in the paint. Penn continuously tried to feed senior forward Michelle Nwokedi and freshman center Eleah Parker in the post, but they were denied time and time again by tough defense from the Tigers. Led by Bella Alarie, Princeton was quick to swarm any Penn player with the ball, forcing turnovers and rushed shots.
In addition to the strong interior defense, the Tigers limited the Quakers to 11.8 percent from three-point range. Shot after shot rattled off the rim and the Red and Blue could not buy an open look, and limited ball movement allowed the Tigers to contest most of Penn’s three point attempts.