Friday, March 15, 2019

Getting Serious

If you want to see something low-key and cute involving the Princeton women's basketball team, then you can click HERE.

If you want to see something really serious involving the women's basketball team, then you can click HERE, though not until tomorrow at 6.

The first link takes you to this week's "Beyond The Stripes" video, which is a lighthearted look at the skateboarders against the scooters on the women's basketball team. As TB said, it's all in good fun.

The other link takes you to the ESPN3 feed of the Ivy League tournament semifinal at Yale between the top-seeded Tigers and the fourth-seeded Cornell Big Red. Tip-off for that one is at 6, after the two men's semifinals.

It all starts at 12:30, when Harvard plays Penn in the first men's semifinal, followed by the Princeton-Yale game at 3:30. Penn and Harvard play the second women's semifinal at 8:30.

The men's final is noon Sunday. The women's is at 4.

The men's semifinals are on ESPNU, and the final is on ESPN2. The women's semifinals are ESPN3 broadcasts, with the final on ESPNU Sunday.

At around the time that the Princeton-Yale men's basketball game reaches the under-8 media timeout or so in the second half, the puck will be dropping in Minnesota in the NCAA women's hockey tournament between the host Golden Gophers and the Tigers. Face-off there is 4 local time, which is 5 Eastern.

You can see that one HERE.

No women's hockey team in the country has scored more goals this year than Minnesota, who has put up 153, and only one team, St. Anselm, has averaged more goals per game than Minnesota's 4.25. On the other hand, no player in the country has averaged more assists or points per game than Princeton freshman Sarah Fillier.
The Golden Gophers, the No. 2 team in the country, are also 30-5-1, and three of those losses are to No. 1 Wisconsin (along with two wins). Princeton is making its third NCAA trip, and all three have been games at Minnesota.

Can the Tigers win this one? It seems like 5-4 is a more likely score for Princeton than 2-1, so if Minnesota gets a goal or two, it's not time to panic.

With spring break here, it's a very busy week for Tiger spring teams, though mostly on the road. You can see the whole schedule HERE.

Another mid-afternoon start tomorrow featuring a Princeton team in a big game will come in Philadelphia, where the men's lacrosse teams goes against Penn in the Ivy League opener for both. This game has been a pretty important barometer the last three years: When Princeton's won the game, it's reached the Ivy tournament; when it's lost that game, it hasn't.

As a subplot, there's the individual matchup between Princeton's Michael Sowers and Penn defenseman Mark Evanchick, one year after Evanchick held Sowers to three assists in 14-7 Quaker win. No player has done a better one-on-one job against Sowers than Evanchick did a year ago.

You can watch the men's basketball game on TV and the men's lacrosse game HERE and keep track of both. As for the basketball game, it does remind TB of men's lacrosse tournaments past.

The Princeton men's basketball team lost its regular season finale to Yale last Saturday night by an 81-59 score. Can the Tigers turn it around that quickly in the rematch?

The 2013 men's lacrosse team lost its regular season finale to Cornell 17-11, in a game that wasn't really all that close. Then, a week later, the Tigers defeated the Big Red 14-13 in the Ivy semifinals.

Then, two years later, the men's lacrosse team did the exact same thing, turning a 15-10 loss to Cornell to end the regular season into an 11-7 Ivy tournament win a week later. Both times the Tigers made key adjustments that resulted in, well, a different result.

As for the women, Princeton is 2-0 this year against Cornell, having defeated the Big Red by 29 and by four. The Tigers led the second game by 21 with nine minutes left before a furious Cornell run.

Cornell did a better job on Bella Alarie than any other Ivy team this year, by the way. Alarie had her season low of 10 against the Big Red in the four-point win at Jadwin, and she had had 21 in the win in Ithaca. Her 15.5 points per game were the lowest against any Ivy school, 3.5 fewer than the next-lowest total, her 19.0 against Harvard.

The stakes are high in New Haven. For the winners of the tournament there is a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Princeton and Penn have played in the first two Ivy League women's basketball finals, and though they are co-champions this year, it's hardly etched in stone that they'll play against each other Sunday.

As for the men, Harvard and Yale tied for the league title at 10-4, something that curiously happened four straight times in the mid-1980s and never before that or after that until this year. What it tells you is that on any given night, who knows what could happen in this league.

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