After two straight Ivy League championships and the graduation of its leading scorer, the Princeton women’s basketball team returns a wealth of talent this year, as Kevin Whitaker ’13 reports in the Nov. 16 issue of PAW. Princeton holds a 22-game winning streak at home and will test that record Nov. 11 when it opens against St. Joseph’s, one of five teams that managed to beat the Tigers in 2010-11.
Below, PAW provides a brief look at the Tigers and the season ahead.
24-5, 13-1 Ivy League (champion)
2010-11 team leaders:
Scoring – Addie Micir ’11, 12.1 ppg
Rebounding – Devona Allgood ’12, 7.2 rpg
Assists – Micir, 3.2 apg
Steals – Lauren Polansky ’13, 1.8 spg
Field-goal percentage – Allgood, 53.4 percent
3-point field-goal percentage – Micir, 46.1 percent
Free-throw percentage – Micir, 81.3 percent
Niveen Rasheed ’13, guard
Less than a year after tearing the ACL in her right knee, Rasheed said she is back at full strength and ready to pick up where she left off. Arguably the best player in the Ivy League, she averaged 16.4 points per game last season before the injury. The Tigers plan to use Rasheed more as a guard or wing player this year, to take advantage of her speed and quickness. That provides match-up problems for opponents: Rasheed, at 6 feet tall, can drive past most players of comparable height; but if teams try to counter with a smaller, faster guard, she can move to the post and find scoring opportunities there as well.
Devona Allgood ’12, center
Head coach Courtney Banghart said that in three seasons at Princeton, Allgood has improved her skills as a scorer and rebounder, along with her psychological outlook on the court, learning to bounce back from mistakes. This offseason, Allgood’s work in the weight room has helped her to develop a stronger physical presence on the block. “She was playing a physical position as a finesse player for the first three years,” Banghart said. “Now she’s a physical player in a physical position, with the [finesse] arsenal that she’s had to have. She’s in for a big year.”
Lauren Edwards ’12, guard
Edwards, a reliable scorer since her freshman season and a two-time All-Ivy player, enters the year 18 points shy of 1,000 for her career. She has missed just one start since December 2008. But even with that remarkable résumé, Banghart finds herself asking for more from the senior guard, who sometimes seems content to play a supporting role. “She’s so comfortable being a part of it and letting Niveen or Addie [Micir ’11] or somebody else take over,” Banghart said. “Now she’s a senior, and we need her to carry her part of the team.”
With just one loss in the last two Ivy seasons, Princeton will be the favorite to win the league title. Harvard, the lone Ivy team to beat the Tigers last year, appears to be the leading challenger. The Crimson return three players who averaged 12 points per game or more (senior Brogan Berry, junior Victoria Lippert, and sophomore Christine Clark). Yale, which finished 10-4 in the league last year and reached the WNIT, brings back four starters, including leading scorer Megan Vasquez and top rebounder Michelle Cashen. Princeton will play three Ivy games before the January exam break (Jan. 7 at Penn, Jan. 13 vs. Cornell, and Jan. 15 vs. Brown).
Games to watch
Nov. 21, vs. Marist
The Red Foxes – winners of an NCAA Tournament game last March – will provide a strong early test for Princeton.
Dec. 1, vs. Delaware
Elena Delle Donne, the Blue Hens’ All-America candidate, was sidelined by illness last year when the Tigers rolled to a 68-50 win at Delaware.
Dec. 13, vs. DePaul
The Blue Demons – No. 18 in one preseason poll – could be the highest-ranked team not named Rutgers to visit Jadwin in recent memory. (The Scarlet Knights, incidentally, chose not to play the Tigers this year.)
Dec. 17, at Stanford
Visiting the Cardinal will be a home game of sorts for Bay Area natives Rasheed and Lauren Polansky ’13.
Feb. 11, at Harvard
A 73-67 loss at Lavietes Pavilion last year was the only blemish in the Tigers’ Ivy title run.
On Princeton’s new look for 2011-12:
“We have to be really different this year. Last year, Addie shot the ball at 47 percent [on 3-pointers] and never turned it over. So losing that, we have to be quicker. We’re going to be messier. We’re going to have more turnovers [and] we’re going to have a lot more steals. … We’re playing full-court on both sides of the ball.”
– Head coach Courtney Banghart