A new semester did nothing to stall the women’s basketball team’s winning ways: The No. 18 Tigers won their fifth straight Ivy game and extended their undefeated record to 21-0 after beating Columbia and Cornell at Jadwin Gym Feb. 6 and 7.
Friday’s 83-44 victory against Columbia showcased Princeton’s domination in the paint, as the Tigers held a 50-6 margin in points there. Junior guard Michelle Miller continues to be a force to be reckoned with, sinking 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Upperclassman duo Blake Dietrick ’15 and Taylor Williams ’16 put up eight points, six rebounds, and four assists, and joined by junior Alex Wheatley’s 10 points and three rebounds, rounded out the defensive block to thrash the Lions.
On Saturday against Cornell, Princeton never trailed, paced by Miller’s double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds). Wheatley followed close behind with 14 points and eight rebounds, and the Tigers routed the Big Red 75-47. The win matched the 21 straight wins record that was set during the 2009-10 season.
Dietrick said that a huge factor in the team’s success this year is that the Tigers have “recommitted this season to our defense,” as Princeton leads the Ivy League in rebounds and has won by at least a 20-point margin of victory in all but three of its matchups. This points to Princeton’s incredible depth as well — Tigers hold three of the Ivy League’s top five spots in both field goal percentage as well as three-point percentage.
“I think some of the biggest factors in our success are our defense and our ability to work together and have such balanced scoring,” Dietrick said. “Offensively we are really hard to stop because we have so many weapons. If one person has a tough game, other people will step up.”
With just nine games left, Princeton is looking to avoid last year’s late-season stumbles. The Tigers dropped two Ivy games, to Brown and eventual-champion Penn, that kept the team out of the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years. Princeton will play Brown and Yale on the road next weekend before cycling back to face each team yet again.
“We are so excited and happy to be undefeated still, but at this point we really just look one weekend at a time, and focus on each game as it comes,” Dietrick said. “I think if we keep playing like the underdog (which technically we are because Penn is reigning champion) and keep getting better every day we have a good chance to win the remainder of our games.”
No. 4 women’s squash downed Columbia 9-0 on Friday and Cornell 8-1 on Sunday, extending the squad’s winning streak to five. The Tigers will head into Howe Cup competition next weekend, looking to improve on their 5-4 quarterfinal loss to Yale last year. The team will rely heavily on its No. 2 sophomore Maria Elena Ubina, who won Sunday’s match in three straight to finish off a perfect regular season.
Men’s and women’s fencing traveled to New York City on Sunday for the Ivy League Round-Robin championships, where both teams remain in the hunt for the title after solid first-day performances. Though Columbia sits in first on the women’s side at 3-0, Princeton stands at 2-1 and needs to capitalize with a strong second day. The men are 1-1 and chasing Penn, the only undefeated team thus far. Rookie Thomas Dudey was a Sunday standout, finishing 6-0 in foil, while junior Anna Van Brummen went 8-0 in three epee bouts. Each team will face off against Penn, Brown, and Harvard on Monday.
Women’s water polo opened up season play this weekend at the Princeton Invitational in DeNunzio Pool, splitting its weekend in 3-1 battles. The No. 9 Tigers’ only loss went to Indiana in a close 8-9-overtime defeat. Seniors Ashley Hatcher and Jessie Holecheck led scoring with two goals a piece, while junior goalie Ashleigh Johnson made eight saves. Princeton will hit the road next weekend and travel to Bucknell for the Bison Invitational, where it will face its first California opponent Long Beach State.