The Palestra, in Philadelphia, was buzzing with excitement after the University of Pennsylvania men’s team won the Ivy League Championship in exciting fashion. Penn’s women’s team now had a chance to make it back-to-back Ivy League Champions for the school. Princeton, on the other hand, had a much different image of how the game would go.
Straight from the jump, Princeton was in control of the game. Their defense was suffocating Penn’s offense and forcing bad shots. On the offensive end, Princeton was getting open looks and they were nailing them. After getting out to a 7-0 run, then a Penn timeout, the Tigers would never look back. They finished off the first quarter with a lead of 19-3 while shooting 57% from three and holding Penn to a horrendous 7% from the floor.
Setting the tone early on, Abby Meyers drilled three of her first four shots from beyond the arc. She was a constant source of energy for the team and acted as a scoring safety blanket if Princeton was on too long of a scoring drought. She ended the game with 18 points and three rebounds.
In the second quarter, Penn was able to put the ball in the basket. They had their best quarter with 13 points but were still outscored by three points. Even when it looked like Penn might make a run, Princeton came right back and silenced them quickly. Halfway through the quarter, it was hard to tell whether this was a home game for Princeton or Penn.
Michelle Nwokedi, Penn’s season leading scorer, turned in a 13-point, eight-rebound performance of her own, but it was only on 5-15 shooting. While she struggled, no one else picked up the slack. Only four other players scored, and the team as a whole shot 22% from the floor for the game.
When the second half rolled around, the game had a garbage time feel to it. Both teams, seemingly, went through the motions to get to the end. However, Leslie Robinson and Bella Alarie made sure to keep Princeton’s energy up until the very end to avoid any kind of slipups. Robinson didn’t have too much luck on the offensive end of the ball, but her leadership shined as she was constantly communicating with the coach and relaying it all to the team on the floor.
Bella Alarie ended up being named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament while she joined Robinson and Meyers on the All-Tournament team. Alarie only managed to get eight points, but pulled down 17 rebounds and swatted away six Penn shot attempts.
As the clock ticked away in the fourth quarter, Princeton sat their starters with a good amount of time on the clock. Out of the 40 minutes they played, Princeton was in the lead for 39 of them. The win was easily in hand as they killed the clock, and when the buzzer sounded, the Tigers celebrated their 63-34 victory and their punched ticket to the dance.