Women’s basketball extends Ivy League win streak to 35 games
The women’s basketball team remains untouchable in Ivy League play.
On Saturday, Feb. 12, the Princeton women’s basketball team (17–4 overall, 9–0 Ivy League) traveled to Dartmouth and routed the Big Green (2–20, 1–9) in the teams’ second and final matchup of the season. In this game, Princeton had a lot to play for, as they were looking to successfully extend their in-season win streak to 10 games, as well as their in-conference win streak to 35, which continues to be the longest streak in Division I history.
With a blowout win and a score of 70–48, it was clear that the Tigers had no plans of letting those impressive streaks end.
Coming into Hanover, the Tigers were ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense — and they let that be known during the first quarter of play. The game began with Princeton starting hot from beyond the arc as the Tigers scored their first six points off of three-pointers from senior guard Abby Meyers and sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen. Chen was making her twelfth straight start for the Tigers.
Meyers currently leads the league in scoring with just over 17 points per game, and she appeared to be setting herself up for another big day. After two successful free throws from Chen on a driving attempt, the score was 8–2 with 6:05 remaining in the first. However, Dartmouth was able to answer with a three of their own, cutting Princeton’s early lead to three points.
Just as the Big Green appeared to find a rhythm, Princeton’s relentless man-to-man defense began to wreak havoc, forcing 10 total turnovers in the first quarter. The Tigers were able to capitalize on many of these turnovers, pushing the pace in transition and getting easy looks on the fast break. Even so, Dartmouth was able to hang on, with the score at 17–10 with under 30 seconds to go in the first frame. Junior guard Maggie Connolly completed an acrobatic finish near the hoop to put the Tigers ahead by nine points going into the second quarter.
Meyers and Chen were the game’s leading scorers with five apiece, and the Tigers were looking to pull away in the second quarter, which the team was ultimately unable to do. During the first four minutes of the second quarter, the Tigers were held scoreless as the Big Green charged back with a 9–0 run to tie the game 19-all.
Finally, Chen was able to draw a foul as she drove to the hoop. She hit both free throws to put Princeton back up by two. From there, the Tigers were able to put up eight more points in the second quarter, and they went to the locker room with a lead of 29–21.
While they were able to generate 16 total turnovers in the half, the Tigers shot an uncharacteristic 9-for-31 from the field and 4-for-14 from deep. But even with their shooting struggles, Princeton appeared unfazed and came out energized in the second half. Three-pointers from Meyers and junior guard Julia Cunningham fueled a 10–0 run to start the third quarter. The score of 36–21 was the largest lead of the game to that point.
Dartmouth then broke their scoring drought with a mid-range jumper, but it was clear that Princeton had found their rhythm on the offensive, as Cunningham began to catch fire from deep and Meyers remained unstoppable. With the score sitting at 55–29 at the end of the third quarter and more dominant fourth-quarter play, the Tigers easily pulled away and took control, proving to be too much for the Big Green to handle, winning 70–48.
It was the sixth time in nine league games this year that the Tigers had won by 20 or more points.
Once again, stellar play from both Meyers and Cunningham contributed largely to their victory, as they scored 19 and 16 points, respectively. The backcourt pair were the only two to reach double figures for the Tigers. Chen also played a big role, scoring nine and tallying a game-high six assists.
With five games remaining in Ivy League play, the Tigers appear to be locked in for the upcoming Ivy League Tournament, and will look to extend their win streak as they take on Brown and Yale at home on Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb. 19.
Eric Lee is a senior writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince’. He can be reached at [email protected] or on instagram @airic.lee.