The women’s basketball team earned two important road victories this weekend, defeating Columbia 70-41 in New York City on Friday night before beating Cornell 71-56 in Ithaca the following evening. With the back-to-back victories, the Tigers (13-6 overall, 4-1 Ivy League) extended their current winning streak to three games and are 10-2 in their last 12 games. Princeton sits tied for second place in the Ivy League while Cornell (11-9, 3-3) and Columbia (4-16, 1-5) occupy the fifth and seventh place spots, respectively.
The Tigers’ matchup with Columbia on Friday evening proved a tale of two halves. Despite shooting 50 percent from the floor in the period, significantly higher than the Lions’ 33 percent total, Princeton went 0-5 from three-point range and finished the half with a narrow 29-25 advantage. But the second half told a different story, in which an energized Tiger squad outscored Columbia 41-16, shooting over 62 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Michelle Miller set the tone early in the half with two quick three-pointers, vaulting Princeton to a 39-27 lead before the five-minute mark of the period. Miller, who scored 14 points in the contest, was one of three Tigers to finish the game with double-digit points. Sophomore forward Alex Wheatley led all scorers with 18 points, followed by junior guard Blake Dietrick’s 15.
Princeton carried its momentum to Ithaca on Saturday, as the Tigers picked up where they had left off the evening before. Although the Big Red jumped out to an early lead, by the end of the period Princeton had regained a commanding 38-26 margin that would serve as a cushion for the rest of the matchup. The Tigers performed particularly well in the paint, out-rebounding Cornell by a substantial 43-29 margin. Dietrick led all players in scoring, totaling 19 in addition to grabbing six defensive rebounds. Sophomore forward Taylor Williams scored 12 points, and Miller earned the first double-double of her college career. In addition to notching 11 points, Miller led the Tigers with 12 rebounds.
The victory over Cornell represented the ninth defeat for the Big Red. Cornell has now dropped two consecutive games, while Columbia has likewise lost five straight matchups. Despite Princeton’s recent success, the Tigers remain a half game behind Harvard (15-5, 5-1) in the Ivy League standings. Although Princeton already fell to the Crimson 78-68 at home at the end of January, the Tigers will have a shot at redemption when they travel to Cambridge in a few weeks.
But first, Princeton will focus its attention on two important home matchups this weekend. Brown (8-12, 2-4) will take on the Tigers at Jadwin Gymnasium on Friday evening, and Princeton will take on Yale (10-10, 4-2) at home the following night. Although the Tigers have yet to face either squad this season, Princeton swept both teams last year in very strong showings. In fact, neither team has defeated the Tigers for several years. Yale last beat Princeton in 2009, and the Bears haven’t beaten Princeton since 2006.