Category Archives: Sports

NBA Commissioner Speaks About Activism in Pro Basketball

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a Princeton audience that when a handful of the league’s stars wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups last year, following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, he appreciated their effort to express their point of view.

“Derrick Rose, I think, was the first player to wear the T-shirt,” Silver said. “Credit to him — he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew how much more effective that would be than making a statement to a reporter after a game.” But Silver cautioned that too many political statements on the court would be “a disservice to the fans, who come to see a basketball game.”

Steve Mills ’81, general manager of the New York Knicks, and Craig Robinson ’83, an ESPN commentator and former college coach, joined Silver for a March 24 discussion of “Political Expression and Activism in Today’s NBA,” moderated by Professor Eddie Glaude *97. The event was sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Department of Athletics. Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Falls to Maryland in NCAA Second Round

Blake Dietrick ’15 scored 26 points, but the Tigers couldn’t keep pace with the host Terrapins. (Beverly Schaefer)

Blake Dietrick ’15 scored 26 points, but the Tigers couldn’t keep pace with the host Terrapins. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton women’s basketball faced an unenviable challenge in its second-round NCAA Tournament game: a matchup against No. 4 Maryland on its home floor, where the Terrapins have not lost in nearly 14 months.

For the first 20 minutes, the Tigers were up to the task, keeping pace with a stellar offensive performance, particularly in the paint. Maryland led by just four at halftime, 42-38.

But after the break, Princeton’s fortunes turned. In one stretch, the Tigers missed six shots in a row while the Terrapins made all five of their attempts — plus two free-throws — and jumped ahead by 17.

Point guard Blake Dietrick ’15 did her best to will the Tigers back into contention, scoring 17 of her team-high 26 points after her team fell behind by double digits. But Maryland’s hot shooting never cooled. Princeton lost for the first time this season, 85-70. Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Lacrosse Improves to 6-1 as Sailer Wins No. 350

Olivia Hompe ’17 leads Princeton with 19 goals, including five in Saturday’s win over Harvard. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Olivia Hompe ’17 leads Princeton with 19 goals, including five in Saturday’s win over Harvard. (Office of Athletic Communications)

As it nears the midway point in the regular season, Princeton women’s lacrosse continues to look impressive. The Tigers are off to a 6-1 start (2-0 Ivy League) with their lone loss coming at No. 8 Virginia. On Saturday, the team delivered head coach Chris Sailer’s 350th career win with a 17-12 victory over Harvard, Sailer’s alma mater. Sailer, now in her 29th season at Princeton, has coached three national champions and 11 Final Four teams. In the weeks to come, Princeton enters the bulk of its Ivy season and prepares for another NCAA postseason run.

With the exception of No. 1 Maryland April 8, the Tigers have already faced their toughest non-Ivy competition. Wins against No. 9 Loyola and No. 11 Penn State have put Princeton in a strong position going into the rest of the season. Last year, the Tigers didn’t receive the Ivy’s automatic bid to play in the NCAA tournament, but earned an at-large bid due to strength of schedule and victories over ranked opponents.

“Getting that NCAA automatic bid is always a goal, but then again, we want to be a team that’s also able to qualify for the NCAAs as an at-large selection as well,” Sailer said. “To do that, you have to schedule a competitive slate of nonconference games and win more than your fair share.” Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Basketball Wins NCAA Tournament Opener

Annie Tarakchian ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Annie Tarakchian ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Against Wisconsin-Green Bay March 21, the undefeated Princeton women’s basketball team found itself in an unusual position, trailing at halftime for the first time since early November.

But after intermission, the Tigers reasserted themselves inside, led by 14 second-half points by Annie Tarakchian ’16 and 13 from Alex Wheatley ’16, and earned an 80-70 win, the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history.

Princeton’s defense improved in the second half, pushing Green Bay out to the perimeter, where the Phoenix settled for 3-point attempts. Midway through the second half, Princeton opened up a 10-point lead and held the Green Bay at arm’s length for the next eight minutes. The Phoenix cut the lead to four with 2:14 remaining. Wheatley then upped the lead to six with a layup, and the Tigers forced two Green Bay turnovers in the final two minutes. Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Completes Perfect Season, Awaits NCAA Seed

The 30-0 Tigers will find out their next opponent tonight when the NCAA reveals the 2015 tournament bracket. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton, ranked No. 13 in the AP and USA Today polls last week and No. 12 in the NCAA’s rating percentage index (RPI), has a chance to earn a home game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Selections and pairings will be announced tonight at 7 p.m. (Beverly Schaefer)

In chasing a perfect season and an Ivy League title, the Princeton women’s basketball team performed with an entertaining blend of precision, speed, flair, and grit. The only element missing from most games was suspense: Other than a 56-50 win at Yale in mid-February, the Tigers’ Ivy wins tended to be lopsided by halftime. Their average margin of victory through the first 13 league games was 26 points.

But in the Ivy finale March 10, second-place Penn provided a proper test for a team vying to finish the only undefeated regular season in Division I women’s basketball this year. Princeton was held to just 26 first-half points, and shortly after intermission, the Quakers trimmed the Tigers’ five-point lead down to one.

Then, as it had so many times before, Princeton’s defense took charge. In a nine-minute stretch, Penn managed to score just four points and turned the ball over five times. By the time the Quakers’ offense revived, the Tigers held a double-digit lead. They went on to win 55-42.

“You want to battle, and that’s what we love about playing Penn,” head coach Courtney Banghart said afterward. “It makes for such a great story, and that’s how I categorize my team: This team has made for a great story all year. … We’re certainly glad we can help the story continue.”

Continue reading

No. 25 Men’s Tennis Sweeps Weekend Opponents, Preps for Ivy Season

Three weeks before the men’s tennis team starts its Ivy League season, the conference is shaping up to be one of the toughest that Princeton has seen in years. As the Tigers rounded out this weekend’s 7-0 double-header victories over Army and Binghamton, Princeton solidified its spot on the national stage. Yet even at No. 25 in Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, Princeton is the third-best Ivy team in what could be one of the most exciting seasons in Ancient Eight history.

Zack McCourt ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Zack McCourt ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Leading the pack is senior Zack McCourt, ranked 124th in singles and a member of last year’s first-team All-Ivy League singles team, building on that season with multiple clutch victories at the No. 1 spot this year. McCourt said that he is trying to end his collegiate career with “a punch and a bang,” with mental maturation and match-day focus being a critical component of that. A strong Ivy schedule only adds fuel to the fire.

“Competing at a higher level helps the team to improve even faster, so it’s definitely a privilege — particularly when you’re being tested on a national scale,” McCourt said.

The Tigers were forced to fill holes in their roster left by Ivy heavyweight Matija Pecotic ’13 and last year’s graduates Dan Davies and Augie Bloom. Sophomores Thomas Colautti and Alexander Day have been instrumental in adding depth to the lineup and clinching wins in the hot 13-3 start to this season. More importantly, McCourt added, is that this year’s team just loves to compete.

“The sophomore class returns with invaluable experience, while a deep freshman class fortifies the remainder of the lineup,” McCourt said. “I can’t remember ever playing with a group of guys who have so much fun on the court as our team does now. That kind of competitiveness coupled with the team’s talent and outstanding work ethic has made all the difference.” Continue reading