Monday, February 11, 2013

Five Day Weekend

TigerBlog figures it was after midnight by the time the Princeton women's basketball bus rolled back into the Jadwin Gym parking lot, which would mean that the Tigers' most recent Ivy basketball "weekend" stretched into a fifth day.

Princeton left Thursday afternoon for the trip to Brown and Yale knowing that it was heading into the heart of the winter storm. As it turned out, Princeton found itself spending a lot more time in a hotel in Providence than it otherwise would have wanted, as nearly three feet of snow fell all around them.

The schedule got a bit messed up, and playing the normal Friday/Saturday became maybe Friday afternoon, then maybe Saturday night, then definitely Saturday night and eventually Saturday/Sunday.

Oh, and the change in schedule didn't really hamper the team.

Princeton defeated Brown 68-37 Saturday and then followed that with a program-record 99-point effort against Yale last night in a 46-point win. For those who don't feel like doing the math, that made the final 99-53.

Princeton is now 5-0, one game ahead of both Dartmouth and Harvard, who are both 4-1 and who both had one game this past weekend postpone by the storm. Dartmouth and Harvard are at Jadwin Gym this Friday and Saturday.

If there's going to be a race in Ivy women's basketball, then Dartmouth or Harvard needs to beat Princeton. If Princeton sweeps this weekend, then it would have a two-game lead on both Dartmouth and Harvard, and the Tigers would have to lose two of their final seven just to fall into a tie.

The Tigers, who have won 29 straight games in the league, have won all five of their games this season by at least 30 points. Still, all it would take would be one slip up this weekend to change the league race dramatically.

Princeton's 99-point effort was two better than the old record, set in 1986 against LIU.

When TB saw that the women were getting close to three digits, he wondered when the last time an Ivy League team reached at least 100.

The Princeton women, he knew, never had done it. The Princeton men last got there in 1971, in a 108-64 win over Yale.

What about the rest of the league?

The Ivy record book lists only the all-time high scores, not the last time it happened.

On the men's side, it's 118 points, done twice, once by Princeton against Wichita State in the 1965 NCAA tournament third-place game, on the night Bill Bradley scored a program- (and Final Four-) record 58. The other time was by Columbia, who did so against Wagner in 1977.

In an Ivy game, the record is 116, by Princeton against Dartmouth in 1967 in a 116-42 win. Dartmouth famously held the ball the next time the teams played, when Princeton would win 30-16.

On the women's side, the overall and Ivy record is by Columbia, who scored 114 in what had to be the wildest Ivy women's game ever, a 114-111 win over Penn in 1988 in a game that did not go to overtime.

As for the last time, TB started down the path of going through year-by-year results on each school's website. He started with the Brown men, and found that the Bears beat Harvard 100-83 in 2004.

He also saw that Brown, on back-to-back nights in 1991, put up 102 and 115 points against Dartmouth and Harvard. That year, in two games against a Princeton team that went 14-0 in the Ivy League, Brown put up 104 total points.

He thought about going through the other 13 year-by-year results for the rest of the league's men's and women's teams, but then he realized that he'll throw the 2004 Brown game against Harvard out there and then someone will probably tell him if someone else did it since then.

Besides, what he really set out to write about was the women's basketball team and its weekend.

TB followed the trip through Twitter and on, and it seemed like the team did just fine killing time. Plus, it looked like an unbelievable storm, one that, luckily for TB, barely touched this area.

The women's basketball team has a way of coming across like it has a blast doing whatever it is doing, as long as it's doing it as a team. Whether that is hanging out in the lobby of a snowbound hotel or anything else.

Maybe that's why they play so well together. Maybe it's a by-product of playing well together.

Either way, the team is off to an extraordinary start to its Ivy season, in search of a fourth straight title. Princeton this year was going to be radically different from Princeton last year, after the graduation of 1,000-point scorers Lauren Edwards and Devona Allgood.

Still, different doesn't mean worse, and Princeton is surging heading into its huge home weekend.

With no snow in the forecast, it's looking like it'll be back to normal Ivy weekend. Two games. Friday and Saturday.

Two big games at Jadwin Gym.

If you haven't seen this Princeton women's basketball team play, you owe it to yourself to be there.

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