Sports shorts: Basketball updates

i-afb992907ef41cf27734ed5266dccd95-wb_sports.jpgWith a 21-2 record and a 16-game winning streak, Princeton WOMEN’S BASKETBALL has leapfrogged perennial Ivy League favorites Harvard and Dartmouth and earned national attention, drawing a handful of votes in both of the major top-25 polls. The Tigers also made a certain four-star general take notice. Gen. David Petraeus *85 *87, on campus to receive the University’s James Madison Medal, gave the team a shout-out during the opening remarks of his lecture Feb. 20.

Princeton has dominated Ivy opponents, winning its first nine league games by an average of 22.8 points. No Ivy team had led the Tigers in the second half of a game. A victory over Cornell Feb. 26 would give this year’s team the program record for wins in a season, but the ultimate goal is still on the horizon: an outright Ivy title, which would give Princeton its first trip to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

In MEN’S BASKETBALL, Princeton had one of its best shooting performances in recent memory Feb. 19 when the Tigers drained 13 of 19 3-point attempts in an 82-58 win over Yale. But the following night against Brown, Princeton struggled from behind the arc, and the Bears took advantage, pulling ahead in the final four minutes to win 57-54.

Co-captain Marcus Schroeder ’10, who scored 17 points in the loss, said afterward that the Tigers’ energy and effort were lacking. “No matter if you win or lose, you want to hold your head high because you played hard and gave the best effort you could, and tonight, we just didn’t do that,” he said.

The loss to Brown dropped Princeton out of first place in the Ivy League, but the Tigers have an opportunity to revive their bid for the title Feb. 26 when they face Cornell in Ithaca. Beating the two-time defending-champion Big Red will be a tall order: Cornell has not lost at Newman Arena since November.

Both of Princeton’s basketball coaches — Sydney Johnson ’97 of the men’s team and Courtney Banghart of the women’s team — joined the Tigers in 2007, and both struggled in their opening campaigns (Johnson’s team was 6-23, Banghart’s 7-23). This year, both coaches have guaranteed their first winning seasons at Princeton.

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