No. 16 Princeton, the only undefeated women’s basketball program remaining in the country, already has achieved the highest ranking of any Ivy League team. With two more wins this weekend — over Dartmouth, 70-31 on Friday night, and Harvard, 78-57 on Saturday night — the 25-0 Tigers are three wins away from tying the 1970-71 Penn men’s basketball for the best start by any Ivy team in history.
Taking control early, the Tigers had no trouble scoring on Friday night. They went into halftime ahead by 18 points, and came out to score the first 12 points of the second half. The Tigers held Dartmouth to only 12 points in the first half, the fewest of any opponent this season. Junior forward Alex Wheatley led all scorers with 20 points.
Saturday, however, proved to be slightly more of a challenge for the Tigers, as Harvard kept the game close into the second half. After four quick points by Harvard cut the Tigers’ 28-19 halftime lead down to 5, the Tigers opened up a 12-4 run, led by senior co-captain Blake Dietrick and juniors Annie Tarakchian and Amanda Berntsen, to give them a double-digit lead, which they would hold for the remainder of the game. While the Tigers shot only 30.8 percent in the first half, they improved in the final 20 minutes, shooting 61.5 percent from the floor.
The Tigers are making history as a team this season, but in the midst of their collective successes have also been personal triumphs. On Jan. 10, Dietrick became the 22nd player in program history to reach 1,000 points, and currently ranks third in three-pointers with 199.
“I just focused on honing all aspects of my game — shooting, defense, passing, to be the best I can be for senior year,” Dietrick said. “As a team, our main focus was recommitting on the defensive end and playing together on offense.”
An All-Ivy selection at the end of last season, Dietrick has been named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list for the 2014-15 season. The award recognizes the best point guard in Division I, and the five finalists for the award will be announced by mid-March. Dietrick leads the Ivy League in assists per game (5.5) and is fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (50.4). She also ranks fifth in the league in scoring (15.8 points per game) and ranked sixth in the nation in field goal percentage from beyond the arc (46.9).
The Wellesley, Mass., native also competes as a member of the Princeton women’s lacrosse team — after the basketball season ends.
Despite all of their accomplishments, Dietrick and the entire Tiger program are aiming higher and approach each game as a chance to be better.
“At this point, the record doesn’t add much pressure,” Dietrick said. “We’re just looking one game at a time and focusing on our next opponent. All that matters now is that we clinch the Ivy League title.”
With five games left on their regular season schedule, the Tigers have beaten all of their remaining opponents except for Yale by a margin of 28 points or greater in previous meetings this season.
Women’s swimming and diving won its 22nd Ivy League title with 1,423 points, defeating runner-up Harvard, which finished with 1401.5 points, and third place Yale, which finished with 1377 points. The Tigers came back from 92 points down with six events to go to win the championship meet.
Princeton’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Claire McIlmail ’18, Nikki Larson ’16, Elizabeth McDonald ’16, and Maddy Veith ’18 clinched the win in the final event, finishing first with a meet-record time of 3:18.25.
Men’s basketball led at Harvard for much of the second half Saturday night and stood even with the Crimson with four minutes left to play. But Harvard scored 10 of the game’s last 12 points to win 63-55. Hans Brase ’16 scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Tigers.
Women’s water polo defeated Brown 9-4 to earn the inaugural Ivy League Championship. Senior Jessie Holechek led the offense with four goals as the Tigers improved to 7-1 overall.
Men’s track and field won six events at the Princeton Invitational in the final meet before Ivy League Heptagonals. Sophomore Chris Cook placed first in the shot put with a toss of 17.86 meters, while senior Tumi Akinlawon won in the long jump with a jump of 6.95 meters. Sophomore Brent Albertson took first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.39.