Lauren Polansky '13 and the Tigers opened their Ivy title defense with a Jan. 8 win over Penn. (© Beverly Schaefer)
With star forward Niveen Rasheed ’13 in the lineup, Princeton was a clear favorite to repeat as the Ivy League champion in women’s basketball. Without Rasheed, the Tigers still have the talent and experience to come out on top, but challengers like Harvard, Yale, Penn, and Dartmouth could make the title chase a lot more interesting.
Rasheed, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Princeton’s Dec. 29 win at Davidson, led Princeton in scoring during its perfect 14-0 Ivy season last year and upped her average by a point this year, to 16.4 points per game. Head coach Courtney Banghart said the Tigers will need to take on added responsibility.
“She takes 14.6 shots a game, so we need those shots to come from other people,” Banghart said. “Offensively, we have to find a rhythm for 40 minutes without a kid who makes plays like she does.”
Princeton has plenty of scorers – Addie Micir ’11, Devona Allgood ’12, and Lauren Edwards ’12 each average 11 or more points per game – and playmaking point guard Lauren Polansky ’13 is in the middle of another solid year, with a 1.67 assist-turnover ratio (second-best in the league).
Princeton (12-3 overall, 1-0 Ivy) The January exam break may have been a blessing for this year’s Tigers, who played a difficult pair of road games in late December and then got confirmation that they would be without Rasheed for the rest of the season.
“It’s good for our kids to have a mental and physical chance to regroup,” Banghart said. The break also has been good for the coaches, she added, because it gives them a chance to think about any changes that might need to be made to help the Tigers succeed without Rasheed.