Put the ball in the basket. That’s what the game is all about.
There are lots of other skills involved in basketball — rebounding, passing, ball-handling — and the Princeton women matched sixth-seeded St. John’s in all of those aspects March 20 in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. The only thing the Tigers couldn’t do was put the ball through the net, as they fell to the Red Storm, 65–47, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Princeton (26–3) battled St. John’s to a draw on the boards and turned the ball over only four more times than its opponent. But the Tigers made just 28.3 percent of their field-goal attempts and hit one of 10 3-pointers, both season lows. The Red Storm shot 45.8 percent from the floor, pulling away late in the first half and never letting up.
Perhaps most frustrating was the fact that Princeton took the attempts it wanted. But all too often the ball would go halfway down and pop right back out.
“One of my coaches when I was younger told me that if the ball hits the rim twice, it’s a good miss,” guard Addie Micir ’11 said. “We had a lot of good misses that just didn’t fall.”
The Tigers led 10–9 after five minutes, largely thanks to a pair of baskets each from Niveen Rasheed ’13 and Lauren Edwards ’12. But St. John’s took control with a 13–2 run in the last seven minutes of the half and led by 16 at the break.
Princeton’s offense showed marginal improvement in the second half, but the Red Storm kept a double-digit lead throughout. Rasheed, Edwards, and center Devona Allgood ’12, three of the four most accurate shooters in the Ivy League, combined to make just nine of 34 attempts in the game.
“If you would have told me that we would shoot 17-for-60 from the field, I would have certainly not believed you,” coach Courtney Banghart said. “I have not seen them shoot that poorly in a practice or a game all year.”With all five starters returning next season, the Tigers seem poised to get another shot at playing in the postseason.