The Princeton women’s basketball team set an Ivy League record for consecutive league wins with a 59-34 victory over Cornell on Feb. 23.
The Tigers earned their 33rd consecutive victory over an Ivy League opponent with a solid defensive effort but lukewarm offensive showing. The win also extended the Tigers winning streak to 11.
“It’s one of those games we kind of just scratch out and move on,” sophomore guard Mariah Smith told the Daily Princetonian. “It wasn’t our best performance.”
Niveen Rasheed, the team’s leading scorer, was the only Princeton player in double figures as she scored 14 points. Smith and Blake Dietrick each tallied eight points for the Tigers (18-5, 9-0).
Offensively, Princeton shot 45.3 percent (24-53) from the floor for the game but turned the ball over 21 times.
With a shaky offensive effort, it was the Tigers’ tenacious defense and solid rebounding that got the team the win. Princeton jumped out to a 27-5 lead in the first eight minutes of the game and led 34-14 halftime. The Tigers held the Big Red to just five field goals (5-of-21) in the first half and forced 10 turnovers of their 14 turnovers during the first stanza.
For the game, Princeton limited Cornell to only 13-of-48 shooting from the field (27.1 percent). The Tigers also out-rebounded the Big Red 45-22 including 16-8 on the offensive end. Kristen Helmstetter grabbed nine boards to lead the Tigers.
2012-13 Ivy League race
Princeton has a two-game cushion over Pennsylvania with five games remaining in the race for the right to represent the Ivy League in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have games with Harvard (away), Dartmouth (away), Yale (home), Brown (home) and Penn (away). Penn and Harvard are the only two teams that have a winning record. Princeton defeated Penn by 30 points and Harvard by 16 in their last meeting.
If the Tigers win the conference this year, it would be their fourth straight conference crown. Princeton’s four women senior class – Rasheed, Lauren Polansky, Kate Miller and Megan Bowen — is 50-1 against Ivy League opponents in their career.
Rasheed, who is averaging 17.0 points a game and 9.1 rebounds a game, leads the Tigers in several categories. She is shooting 45.6 percent from the field and has dished out 75 assists. Rasheed moved into third place on the school’s all-time rebounding list versus Cornell.
While Rasheed is the only player scoring in double figures, the Tigers have seven players averaging at least 10 minutes of playing time and 5.0 points per game. Princeton’s other major contributors are Kristen Helmstetter (8.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 49 field goal percentage and 40 3-pt percentage), Megan Bowen (8.3 ppg, and 3.5 rpg), Dietrick (8.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 67 assists), Michelle Miller (7.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 40.3 3-pt percentage), Alex Wheatley (6.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg), Smith (5.4 ppg and 2.4 rpg) and Kate Miller (5.3 ppg and 3.4 rpg).
Princeton is 11-0 at home and 7-5 in road games. The Tigers average 73.1 points a game on 44.2 percent shooting from the floor while holding their opponents to 53.0 points a game and 33.4 percent shooting from the floor. They also have out-rebounded their opponents 44.4-to-32.7 and have a plus-2.7 turnover margin.
– Rasheed was one of 20 women’s college basketball players named to the 2013 Anne Myers Award Midseason Watch List on Feb.26. She already has been selected to the Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30, 50-player Naismith Watch List and 33-player State Farm “Wade Watch” list. She is the only Ivy League representative on any of the national award watch lists.
The award will be presented on Sunday, Apr. 7 at the New Orleans Arena at the NCAA Women’s Final Four semifinals.
Rasheed was also named the Ivy League Player of the Week on Feb.25. It was the fourth time this season and 13th time of her career to be so honored.
Rasheed has scored in double figures in 22 games this season, including the last 21. Prior to the game against Cornell, Rasheed tallied 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out four assists and came up with four steals on Feb. 22, against Columbia.