Princeton women’s basketball preview

Princeton women’s basketball made a significant jump in the Ivy League standings last season — from a tie for sixth place in 2007-08 to third place in 2008-09 — and third-year head coach Courtney Banghart sees opportunities for more progress this winter.

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Lauren Edwards ’12 (Photo © Beverly Schaefer)

“We’ve got a really great blend of young, athletic kids who can make plays, with older, experienced, the-time-is-now kids,” Banghart said. “The future looks really bright for this group.”

Four of last season’s top five scorers return, including Addie Micir ’11, a dangerous three-point shooter who averaged 11.8 points per game, and versatile guard/forward Lauren Edwards ’12. Edwards, a coveted recruit during her high school career in Los Angeles, excelled in the second half of the Ivy season, scoring 10 points or more in six of the last seven games and earning a spot on the Ivy League All-Rookie Team.

Center Devona Allgood ’12, another member of last year’s Ivy League All-Rookie Team, will anchor Princeton’s post play. She led the Tigers with 6.9 rebounds per game and 44 blocks as a freshman.

Senior guard Tani Brown and senior center Cheryl Stevens are the team’s captains, and the Tigers have added four freshmen to their roster: guards Kate Miller, Lauren Polansky, and Niveen Rasheed, and center Megan Bowen.

Princeton opens Nov. 13 at Stony Brook (Update: Princeton won its opener, 68-43) and begins its home schedule Nov. 16 against American University. The Tigers’ nonconference slate includes a Dec. 5 home game against Rutgers (ranked No. 25 in the preseason Associated Press poll) and two road trips that will bring some Princeton players closer to their hometowns. The Tigers’ five California natives are excited about Nov. 25 and 27 games against UCLA and UC-Irvine, and the Dec. 20 game at Houston will be a homecoming for junior guard Krystal Hill.

The Princeton women finished strong last season, winning their final five games and placing third in the Ivy standings. The Tigers played close games against perennial powers Dartmouth and Harvard but lost all four. Their championship hopes may depend on whether they can break through against the Big Green and Crimson.

“To win the Ivy League title, it’s going to go through those two gyms, until further notice,” Banghart said.

Dartmouth and Harvard led the Ivy preseason media poll, with Princeton and Columbia in third and fourth place, respectively.

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