On March 20, 2011, the Tigers – coming off another great regular season in which they outscored conference foes by 21.6 points per game — allowed, yes, 65 points to another Big East team in another first-round exit.
This time, it was the fifth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas who knocked the Tigers out of the postseason, cruising to a 65–49 victory in College Park, Md., and handing Princeton its only double-digit loss of the season.
“To say I’m disappointed would be a gross understatement,” head coach Courtney Banghart said after the game. “That was not the version of Princeton basketball I’ve seen all year.”
The Tigers’ second NCAA Tournament appearance got off to a promising start. Princeton forced Georgetown’s offense into three straight scoreless possessions to open the game and took a brief lead on a floater in the lane by Lauren Edwards ’12.
But the Hoyas would score 22 of the next 25 points — a 3-pointer by Addie Micir ’11 providing Princeton’s only basket — in a nine-minute run that proved to be the difference. The final two Georgetown scores, both 3-pointers from star guard Ta’Shauna “Sugar” Rodgers, were set up by Tiger miscues against a tough full-court press.
Princeton committed 14 turnovers in 31 first-half possessions, managing only 14 points in the half. The turnovers led to 22 of Georgetown’s 34 first-half points, and Rodgers outscored the Tigers in the period, notching 16 points.
The Tigers actually won the second-half turnover battle, six to four, and began to play with more confidence on offense — cuts were sharper, passes were quicker, drives were more aggressive. But it was too little, too late for Princeton, which never closed within single digits.
“We knew they were going to come out and really be all over the place,” Micir said. “We worked on it all week, and we thought we were prepared for it. We kind of folded a little bit in the first half, but at halftime I think we made a really good adjustment.”
Princeton finished its season at 24–5 overall, second only to last year’s 26–3 finish in the program record books. With four starters returning — all save for Micir, the Ivy Player of the Year — and star forward Niveen Rasheed ’13 coming back from a knee injury, the Tigers will be favorites to again reach the postseason.