What a difference two years can make. During head coach Courtney Banghart’s first season at the helm, 2007–08, the women’s basketball team finished a meager 7–23 and in the basement of the Ivy League. But the revitalized Tigers have experienced a remarkable turnaround, winning their first 11 Ivy contests this year and posting a 23–2 overall record through March 1. With three league games remaining in the regular season, Princeton was in prime position to clinch the Ivy title and the program’s first bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“This team never loses sight of its goals,” Banghart said after Princeton’s 69–57 win over Columbia Feb. 27. “No win is any bigger than another, and no loss is any more painful than another.”
Pain is something the Tigers have not tasted since the opening weeks of the season. After suffering 10-point losses to UCLA Nov. 25 and Rutgers Dec. 5, Princeton embarked on an 18-game winning streak.
Princeton has routed its Ivy opponents, winning every league contest by double digits. Though Niveen Rasheed ’13 leads Princeton with 15.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, the squad has depth: Starters Addie Micir ’11, Lauren Edwards ’12, and Devona Allgood ’12 each average at least 11 points per game.
An influx of young talent has reshaped Princeton’s program in the last two years, but according to Banghart, the Tigers’ breakout season has relied on strong defense (the Tigers rank 5th in the nation in scoring defense) and senior leadership from co-captains Tani Brown ’10 and Cheryl Stevens ’10.