Tag Archives: NCAA Tournament

Preview: Women’s basketball takes on Florida State in NCAA opener

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Co-captains Niveen Rasheed ’13, right, and Lauren Polansky ’13 at the NCAA Tournament press conference in Waco, Texas, March 23. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)

When asked to describe Princeton’s style of play in a March 23 NCAA Tournament press conference, co-captain Lauren Polansky ’13 talked about the team’s depth, defense, and offense before adding a simple summation.

“I think the best way to describe us is very determined, and we’re a bunch of fighters,” she said.

The Tigers, making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, hope that determination and fight will carry them to the first postseason win in program history.

Led by a talented and dynamic senior class, Princeton earned the Ivy League title with a 13-1 record. The league championship, combined with a 9-5 mark against a very strong slate of nonconference opponents, landed the Tigers in the NCAA field with a No. 9 seed and a first-round matchup against Florida State.


Princeton (9) vs. Florida State (8)
March 24, 5:10 p.m. ET, Waco, Texas
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3/WatchESPN

Co-captain Niveen Rasheed ’13 said the team sees the opener as “the biggest game of our lives,” and head coach Courtney Banghart said Princeton is well past the point of being just happy to reach the tournament. But Banghart also stressed the need to keep emotions in check when the game begins:

“We talk about playing with execution first and emotion second, and I hope that after preaching the two that in some way it sticks in their heads. … Part of my job tomorrow is to manage the game and part of that is to manage the emotions that the athletic mortality of my seniors brings.”

Read more about the Tigers and Seminoles below.

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Women’s basketball: In a game of ‘alternating currents,’ Kansas State made the last charge

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While Princeton worked to contain star forward Jalana Childs, pictured, Kansas State’s other forward, Branshea Brown, responded with a career-high 22 points in the Wildcats’ 67-64 win. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)
Bridgeport, Conn. – Moments before the women’s basketball team’s NCAA Tournament game against Kansas State on Saturday, head coach Courtney Banghart looked much more nervous than usual. Playing not as a long-shot underdog but in the proverbial first-round toss-up game, 9-seed vs. 8-seed, Princeton came in with the highest expectations of Banghart’s seven trips to the Big Dance as a player and coach.
 
And in the opening minutes, the Princeton players seemed tense as well. Showing a lack of poise and patience early on, the Tigers committed sloppy turnovers and gave up open shots, allowing the Wildcats to take a 5-0 lead that could have been twice that. Sitting in nearly the same spot from which I watched Princeton’s previous two tournament games, all I could think was, “Oh no, it’s happening again.”
 
Last March, Princeton brought a team of tournament-tested players to Maryland, where they faced fifth-seeded Georgetown in the first round. After scoring first, the Tigers were blitzed by a 22-3 Hoyas run that virtually ended the game before the second media timeout. Two years ago, in Tallahassee, Fla., Princeton lasted a little bit longer, but a 13-2 run by sixth-seeded St. John’s turned a one-possession game into a comfortable lead midway through the first half.
 
But this year, things were supposed to be different. With the highest seed and first national ranking in Ivy League history, these Tigers were supposed to be tougher to keep down. And, as it turned out, they were: Princeton responded with a 12-2 run on Saturday, taking a five-point lead at the 12-minute mark.
 
“Before the game, Coach Banghart kept reminding us that it doesn’t matter what happens in the first three minutes, we’re going to be out there for the full 40 minutes,” guard Lauren Edwards ’12 said. “It took us a few minutes to get into our rhythm, but when we finally did, we played well and executed our game plan.”
 
After the Tigers loosened up, the contest became, as Banghart said, “a game of alternating currents.” Kansas State scored seven straight points to re-take the lead, Princeton grabbed the advantage back with four points of its own, and so the rest of the game went. The Wildcats held a four-point lead at halftime, but the Tigers flipped it with a 10-2 run, taking the lead when center Devona Allgood ’12 ripped a missed free throw from a defender’s hands and laid it in while being fouled.

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Rasheed ’13 shines but Princeton falls, 67-64 to K-State

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Niveen Rasheed ’13 (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)
Despite 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists by star forward Niveen Rasheed ’13, Princeton women’s basketball fell just short of its first NCAA Tournament victory, losing 67-64 to Kansas State in Bridgeport, Conn., Saturday afternoon.
 
Senior Devona Allgood scored 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds, while classmate Lauren Edwards also contributed 15 points in her final collegiate game.
 
“This was definitely the best we’ve played out here in the tournament, and we put everything out on the floor today,” Allgood said. “We don’t have anything to hang our heads about. We did what we wanted, except for win.”
 
Kansas State led by four at halftime and started to pull away in the latter part of the second half. But Princeton answered the Wildcats and trailed by four points with the ball at one point in the final minute. When that possession ended with a turnover, the Tigers were forced to foul, and Princeton’s comeback bid ran out of time.
 
Head coach Courtney Banghart praised her team’s resilience. “As I told them, you know you’re going to get a hard fighting Princeton Tigers team,” she said. “They play hard, and they play together. That’s who we are.”
 
Read more about the Tigers in Kevin Whitaker ’13’s Monday column on The Weekly Blog and in the April 4 print edition of PAW.
The Tigers (24-5) have dominated the Ivy League in the last three seasons, winning 41 of 42 league games, including a perfect 14-0 mark in 2012. Allgood, Edwards, and reserve guard Laura Johnson ’12 closed their careers with a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament – and as Allgood noted, the program’s best postseason showing. Princeton had lost by double-digits in its two previous appearances.
 
Kevin Whitaker ’13 contributed to this report.

NCAA preview: Princeton women hope to cap week with another first

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Coach Courtney Banghart with her team’s three 1,000-point scorers: Lauren Edwards ’12, left; Niveen Rasheed ’13, second from right; and Devona Allgood ’12, right. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)
This week was filled with milestones for the women’s basketball program. On Monday, Princeton was rated No. 24 in the Associated Press poll, becoming the first Ivy League team ever listed in the national rankings. And that evening, the Tigers earned a No. 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament, the best seeding ever for a team from the Ancient Eight.
 
But those feats will not be well remembered unless the team achieves another milestone on Saturday: the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history. After losing by double digits to St. John’s and Georgetown in 2010 and 2011, respectively, this season marks the best chance yet for Princeton to win in the postseason.
 
Head coach Courtney Banghart summed up her view in the Ivy League postseason media teleconference earlier this week: “If we do what we do well, we’ll be a really good team.”
 
Fans tuning in to the Tigers’ first-round game against No. 8-seed Kansas State (11:20 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2 or ESPN3) who are expecting a flowing, pretty game of basketball likely will be disappointed. Both teams are defense-oriented and will try to make Saturday’s game as ugly as possible. Kansas State enters the game allowing 56.7 points per game; Princeton holds teams to 35 percent shooting and has not given up more than 60 points in a game since the calendar read 2011.
 
The typical profile of an Ivy League team is “soft,” but that does not describe this year’s Tigers, who rebound better than they do anything else. Over the course of the season, Princeton grabbed 59.6 percent of total missed shots, the third-best mark in the nation; Kansas State was near the average at 49.6 percent, though against tougher competition. Princeton already broke the Ivy League mold by putting up even rebounding numbers against Georgetown and St. John’s, but they’ll need a sizable advantage this year.
 
That is largely because Kansas State should be able to overcome the next-biggest strength of Princeton’s defense, a swarming press designed to force turnovers. The Tigers induced 19.4 miscues per game, but the Wildcats gave it away only 14.5 times and have experience facing high-pressure defenses.

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History repeats as Princeton women’s basketball drops NCAA opener

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Addie Micir ’11 scored 13 points in Princeton’s loss to Georgetown. (© Beverly Schaefer)

On March 20, 2010, the women’s basketball team – coming off a stellar regular season in which it outscored its Ivy League competition by 21.6 points per game – allowed 65 points to a Big East foe in a disappointing NCAA Tournament loss.

 
On March 20, 2011, the Tigers – coming off another great regular season in which they outscored conference foes by 21.6 points per game – allowed, yes, 65 points to another Big East team in another first-round exit.
 
This time, it was the fifth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas who knocked the Tigers out of the postseason, cruising to a 65-49 victory in College Park, Md., and handing Princeton its only double-digit loss of the season.
 
“To say I’m disappointed would be a gross understatement,” head coach Courtney Banghart said after the game. “That was not the version of Princeton basketball I’ve seen all year.”
 

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NCAA Preview: Princeton women’s basketball vs. Georgetown

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On Tuesday, Princeton women’s basketball head coach Courtney Banghart gave a candid assessment of her team’s approach to its NCAA Tournament opener against Georgetown in College Park, Md. “Last year was our dance,” she said, “and this year is a work trip.”
 
Ivy League opponents may have already sensed that the Tigers mean business: After dropping a Feb. 4 game at Harvard, defending-champion Princeton dominated the league, winning each of its 10 remaining games, including eight victories by 20 points or more. Even more impressive may be the team’s record – 16-1 – since losing top scorer Niveen Rasheed ’13 to a season-ending knee injury in late December.
 
In Rasheed’s absence, senior Addie Micir added to her already impressive contributions, leading the Tigers with 92 assists while only turning the ball over 39 times. She also topped the team in scoring (12.1 points per game) and hit a nearly unthinkable 46.8 percent of her 3-point attempts (fourth-best in Division I). Micir was named the Ivy Player of the Year, becoming the first Princeton woman to earn that honor.
 
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Micir ’11
Allgood ’12
Edwards ’12
Polansky ’13
Miller ’13
(Photos: Office of Athletic Communications)
 
Two other Tigers – center Devona Allgood ’12 and guard Lauren Edwards ’12 – joined Micir on the All-Ivy first team. Allgood averaged 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while Edwards added 11.7 points per game and made 44.6 percent of her 3-pointers. Princeton’s other starters are Lauren Polansky ’13, a pass-first point guard who averages 2.9 assists per game and was named Ivy Defensive Player of the Year; and Kate Miller ’13, whose minutes increased after Rasheed’s injury. Miller averaged 5.1 points per game in Ivy play.
 

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