Women’s Basketball Falls to Penn in Ivy Title Game

Annie Tarakchian ’16 scored 12 points off the bench against Penn. (Beverly Schaefer)

Annie Tarakchian ’16 scored 12 points off the bench against Penn. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton women’s basketball’s remarkable run as the Ivy League champion came to an end Tuesday night when the Tigers lost to Penn, 80-64, at Jadwin Gym, falling one game shy in their bid for a fifth-straight title. Both teams entered the game with 11-2 Ivy records, guaranteeing that the winner would be the league champion.

Defensively, Princeton had few answers for Alyssa Baron, the Quakers’ versatile guard, who led all scorers with 23 points, or 6-foot-3-inch freshman center Sydney Stipanovich, who finished the game with 19 points and nine rebounds. Both played all 40 minutes. But the game hinged on Princeton’s offense, which managed just 64 points after averaging 75 in its first 27 games.

The Tigers shot 32 percent from the field in the opening half and turned the ball over 12 times. Those 12 turnovers led to 19 Quaker points, accounting for much of their 32-19 lead at intermission. “To be honest, I think the moment was a little bit big for my youngsters,” Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart said afterward, referring to her starting lineup, which includes three sophomores.

Princeton trimmed the lead by four after halftime, but Penn replied with consecutive three-pointers by Kathleen Roche and Baron. When the Quakers extended the lead to 42-25, Banghart called a timeout.

After a few possessions, the momentum seemed to turn when Tiger reserve forward Annie Tarakchian ’16 scored three straight layups, cutting the lead back to 10. But Penn kept Princeton at arm’s length, never leading by less than nine. Princeton began fouling to get more possessions in the final three minutes, and Quakers made enough free throws (13-of-16) to win comfortably.

Blake Dietrick ’15 led Princeton with 14 points. Michelle Miller ’16 and Tarakchian each added 12. As the Ivy runner-up, Princeton earned a postseason bid to the Women’s NIT, which begins next week.

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