Tuesday, February 19, 2019

41 Yes. 45 Yes. 58 Maybe.

When TigerBlog saw "41" Saturday night, it immediately made him think of "58."

If you are a serious Princeton basketball fan, then you know where TB is going with this already.

He'll give a hint to get you started: The "41" refers to the number of points that Bella Alarie scored against Dartmouth Saturday night.

It was a very good weekend for the Princeton women's basketball team, who won on the road at Harvard and Dartmouth and got some help from Harvard, who beat Penn, to completely change the Ivy League race. Princeton entered the weekend two games back of an unbeaten Penn team. Now, the Tigers trail by one, knowing that there is a meeting between the teams at the Palestra one week from tonight.

As of right now, the Ivy women's standings go like this:
Penn 6-1
Princeton 5-2
Harvard/Yale 5-3
Dartmouth/Cornell/Columbia 3-5
Brown 1-7

Princeton and Penn host Cornell and Columbia this weekend. Those are actually doubleheaders, by the way, with the women and men home.

By the way, should Princeton and Penn sweep, the Harvard/Yale winner go 2-0 and the Harvard/Yale loser go 1-1, then still nobody would have clinched an Ivy League tournament spot, though there'd be some very serious separation with what would then be two weekends left.

On the other hand, if you get the opposite of those results, then you'd have total chaos in the league. For right now, though, with three weekends left, there's a two-game drop from fourth to fifth, and that's very significant.

Also, if you look at the top four teams, here are there records against each other:
Penn 2-1
Yale 2-1
Princeton 1-2
Harvard 1-2

Of those games, none have been by double figures, all but two were by four points or fewer and two went OT. Should the league tournament involve those four teams, it's really anybody's to take.

Ah, but there's plenty of time for that discussion later. For now, TB wants to get back to Bella Alarie.

So where to start?

Alarie put up 45 points against Columbia earlier this year, setting an Ivy League record for points in a game by a women's player. She came back with 41 more against Dartmouth Saturday night, making her the second Ivy player ever (Penn's Diana Caramanico is the other) to have two 40-point games in a game.

Of course, Alarie is just a junior. More accurately, she's just a junior who is absolutely destroying the Ivy League.

Here are her point totals for the first seven Ivy games: 21, 45, 21, 38, 20, 19, 41. If you don't want to do the math, that's 29.3 points per game, and if you don't want to look on the Ivy League website, that's 10.5 points per game more than anyone else.

Also if you don't want to look on the Ivy website, the record for points per game in a league season is 27.8, by Harvard's Allison Feaster back in 1997-98.

It's also not like Alarie is shooting the ball recklessly to get all these points. Alarie is second in the league at 51.9 percent from the field.

She's also leading the league in rebounding at 13.1 per game, in a conference in which nobody else is even in double figures. She's second in blocks and just for fun, she's also seventh in steals and even eighth in assists.

As TB wrote after the 45-point game and repeated on the radio this past weekend, Alarie is the most complete basketball player - male or female - that he has ever seen in this league.

So that's the "41." What's the "58?"

Well, for that, TB now takes you to the "Bella Alarie/Bill Bradley comparison" portion of your day.

Bill Bradley is the only other Princeton basketball player other than Alarie ever to have 40 points in a game, something he did 11 times.

Oh, and speaking of Bradley, for his entire career, his career low was 16 points. In other words, he scored at least 16 points in every game of his career, which is probably as astonishing as anything else he did her.

Bella Alarie's season low in any game? So far it's 16.

Of course, Bradley's career high was 58, which he scored in the 1965 NCAA consolation game against Wichita State. Those 58 points are still the record for a Final Four game.

In all the years that he's been watching Princeton basketball, TB has never seen a player he thought would ever even remotely approach 58 points in a game. And there's a big jump from 41 and 45 to 58.

Still, would it be that shocking? 


Steven J. Feldman '68 said...

Unfortunately, if you look on the Ivy League sports website, Bella Alarie is not listed at all in any of the statistical leaders categories. I assume this is because she has not played enough games because of her injuries. I would like to know at what point she will start to be listed among the leaders. She is also not listed among the leaders in any category on the NCAA women's basketball website.

Steven J. Feldman said...

To clarify my previous comment about Alarie, she does appear in the conference only games leaders statistics, but not in the lists of overall season leaders statistics.