Friday, April 19, 2024

Someone In The Crowd

TigerBlog saw "La La Land" for the first time the other night. Is it really possible that Ryan Gosling never played the piano before that movie?

TB always thought Gosling would be the right person to play Hobey Baker if a movie about the great Princeton athlete from the Class of 1914 would ever be made. Either way, "La La Land" is amazing. Watch it if you haven't already. Watch it again if you have.

As for this weekend ...


The last time the Penn Quakers played a men's lacrosse game on Sherrerd Field, there were 41 goals scored, the last of which came from the Tigers' Chris Brown in overtime, ending a 21-20 epic.

It was the only game Princeton has ever played in its long, long history in which both teams reach at least 20 goals. The Quakers will be back tomorrow (face-off at 5) for the first time since that game, which was pretty much universally considered the best college lacrosse game of 2022. 

Now, since that game, the teams have played twice, both last year. There was the regular-season game at Penn, won by the Quakers 9-8 in overtime, and then an Ivy League tournament semifinal game, won by Princeton, also 9-8. 

That's a total of 34 goals in two games last year after 41 in one game two years ago. The 2022 game was the highest-scoring game in program history; the two games last year are the only two Princeton men's lacrosse games in the last 55 the team has played where neither team has reached double figures.

Talk about different outcomes. 

If TigerBlog had to guess, he'd say the game tomorrow will be somewhere in the middle. It's a huge game for both teams, as Penn would clinch at least a share of the Ivy title with a win and Princeton is still chasing down an Ivy tournament spot.

Princeton has to make sure it's playing the Penn game tomorrow and not last week's Brown game, a frustrating 13-12 loss to the Bears. It's hard to turn the page from such games, but there's no time to dwell on losses, or, for that matter, wins at this time of year. 




The men's game is the second game of a Sherrerd Field doubleheader, which starts at noon with the women's game against Dartmouth. The current Ivy League standings have Yale at 5-0, Princeton at 4-1 and Harvard and Penn at 3-2, followed by 2-3 Cornell and Brown, 1-4 Dartmouth and 0-5 Columbia.

The league tournament will almost surely be held in New Haven, as Yale needs to win only one of its final two games, either tomorrow against Cornell or next week against Columbia. Princeton has won four straight in the league since an 11-9 loss to Yale in its opener.

Yale and Princeton have clinched their ILT spots. Penn (who plays Brown) and Harvard (who plays Columbia) would also do so with a win tomorrow.

Princeton is at Harvard next week in a game that will have a big impact on seedings. 

Princeton lost 16-12 to Maryland Wednesday night in a game in which the Terps outscored the Tigers 7-0 in the third quarter. Take that away, and well, you can't, but you get the point.

McKenzie Blake, by the way, has 47 goals and 47 draw controls. With three more of each, she would join Elizabeth George as the only players in program history with at least 50 of each in a season. 


Princeton is at Yale for three softball games this weekend. The Tigers head to New Haven one game back of the Bulldogs in the loss column, as Yale is 12-3 and Princeton is 8-4.

The Ivy League tournament for softball will also be at the home of the top seed. It's too early to think about clinching spots with so many games to play, but first place is on the line in these three.

The baseball team is home for three against Penn this weekend, with two tomorrow starting at 11:30 and then a single game Sunday at noon. 

Talk about a tight race? The top and bottom of the league are separated by six games. Princeton is in a three-way tie for third with Penn and Yale at 6-6, with Columbia at 9-3, Cornell at 8-4, Dartmouth and Harvard at 5-7 and Brown at 3-9.


As TB wrote yesterday, the Ivy League tennis championships will be decided this weekend. Princeton's women are home against Dartmouth tomorrow and Harvard Sunday in a match that could decide the title.

There will also be Ivy titles won at the league's golf championships this weekend.

The full schedule for the weekend is HERE.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

On The Bus

TigerBlog is writing today about the last weekend of the Ivy League tennis season. 

It may take him a little while to get there, though. To wit:

The bus driver for the men's lacrosse team's trip to Brown last weekend was an amiable sort named Andy.

At one point, the name "Kaitlyn" was mentioned, and Andy's ears perked up.

"Chen?" he said. 

That's the one.

"I drove them a few times," he said. "You could tell she's the real deal."

She certainly is. Chen, the three-time Most Outstanding Player at the Ivy League women's basketball tournament, has the stats, wins and accolades to prove it. As Andy can attest, she also carries herself like a champion.

This past week, Chen added two more impressive items to her resume. First, she was named a second-team College Sports Communicator Academic All-American, becoming the fourth Princeton women's basketball player to be honored on the national level (Sandi Bittler twice, Michelle Miller twice and Lauren Edwards once were the others).

Also this week, Chen was, not surprisingly, named a first-team All-Metropolitan Basketball Writers' Association selection. Her teammates Ellie Mitchell (second-team) and Madison St. Rose (honorable mention) were also honored.

Who were the other players on first-team?

You had Abbey Hsu from Columbia, as well as players from St. John's, Stony Brook and ... Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart contribution would be Ny'Ceara Pryor, who was honored for the second straight year. Pryor has finished her first two seasons at SHU with 1,222 points, 462 rebounds and 297 assists. 

Are those good numbers? TB will always take a chance to pump up Sacred Heart, being his son's alma mater and all.

Meanwhile, back on the bus, in addition to driving Princeton women's basketball and men's lacrosse, Andy also mentioned having driven the women's soccer team and the men's hockey team. Bus rides are a huge part of the Princeton athletic experience for the athletes, and each team travels with its own culture, traditions and procedures. 

TB has been on the bus with a few teams, most notably field hockey and men's lacrosse. He can attest to just how different those rides are, and he knows that all teams have their own uniqueness.

This past Saturday, the men's lacrosse bus wasn't the only one to arrive in Providence. The women's tennis team stayed in the same hotel as the Tigers, and the women's lacrosse team stayed across the street.

TigerBlog was in Room 616 at the Providence Courtyard Marriott. From his window, he could see all the buses lined up one behind the other. 

The first person TB saw when he came downstairs after checking in was women's tennis coach Jamea Jackson. If you've never met Jamea, she, like Kaitlyn Chen, is clearly the real deal. 

She's always smiling, and she appreciates any time anyone comes to watch her team compete. She has a way of making you feel like you're part of the women's tennis family, even if you just stopped in for a bit.

Jackson introduced TB to her assistant coaches, Nathan Thompson and Richard Sipala. Again, it was like an extended family reunion.

TB asked them about their bus ride. The men's lacrosse team travels on two buses, one for offense and one for defense. Even with the two buses, some of the players have to double up. 

The women's tennis team? One bus. Eight players. 

Princeton, of course, wasn't the only school who had sent teams on the road this past weekend. Princeton's hotel also included Syracuse track and field and a whole bunch of people in Drexel shirts. 

The women's tennis team had two matches this past weekend, first defeating Brown 4-2 Saturday and then taking down Yale 4-1 Sunday. Right now, Princeton is 4-1 in the Ivy League, with a 4-3 loss to Penn in its opener.

Harvard is 5-0, and Penn is 3-2. Harvard is at Penn Saturday and Princeton Sunday at 1. The Tigers play Dartmouth at 1 Saturday at home as well.

This is the final weekend of the Ivy League tennis season. The men's side is crowded at the top, with Princeton, Harvard and Columbia all at 4-1 heading into this final weekend.

Columbia is at Yale and Brown. Princeton is at Dartmouth and Harvard. 

There's a lot on the line this weekend in Ivy tennis. For the Princeton men, it means getting on the bus before getting on the courts. 

Hopefully the ride home after will be a celebratory one.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

100 Percent Chance Of Women's Lacrosse

There's a 100 percent chance of a home game for the Princeton women's lacrosse team tonight. 

There's a 53 percent chance of showers at 7 pm, which is when tonight's game begins. That would make it among the best weather forecasts for the Tigers to play at home this season. 

Hey, it's only supposed to be light rain, even a gentle, soft spring rain. That'll be quite different than the pouring, biblical rains with temps in the 40s that Princeton has endured most of its home season.

A little rain isn't going to deter these Tigers. 

Princeton's opponent tonight is Maryland, whose current RPI is No. 5. This will be Princeton's seventh game against a team currently in the top 20 of the RPI, including five of the current top 10.

That's a team that has been tested. 

Princeton is 8-4 overall, with an RPI of 13 of its own. The Tigers have already clinched a spot in the Ivy League tournament and seem to be in good shape for a return to the NCAA tournament. 

This is a team in every sense as well. Grace Tauckus is fifth in Division I in free position goals per game, making her the only Princeton player to rank in the top 20 nationally in any statistical category.

The top 100, though, is dotted with Princeton players. McKenzie Blake ranks 77th in Division I in points per game. Haven Dora ranks 31st in assists per game. Amelia Hughes in 29th in saves per game. The list goes on like that.

As a team, Princeton ranks 14th nationally in scoring offense and 16th in shooting percentage. Perhaps the best number is 12.33, which is the number of times per game Princeton turns the ball over, a figure that ranks ninth in Division I.

Blake leads Princeton with 43 goals on the year. There are six other players in double figures in goals, and two — Tauckus and Jami MacDonald — who have better than 20 (Dora is one away from joining that group). There are four players in double figures in goals and assists (Tauckus, MacDonald, Dora and Kari Buonanno).

By the way, Blake has 43 goals and 43 draw controls. Should she get seven  more of each, she'd join Elizabeth George as the only player in program history to have a season of at least 50 of each.

When you have a team that has the kind of scoring balance that Princeton does, it makes you harder to defend. It's not like you can simply lock off Blake and take your chances. 

Dora, for her part, has had a huge breakout sophomore year. After six points a year ago as a freshman with three goals and three assists, Dora now has 43 points on 19 goals and 23 assists through 12 games this year. 

While Princeton ranks 14th in scoring offense, Maryland brings the nation's No. 11 scoring defense to the game, as the Terps allow 8.6 goals per game. Emily Sterling, the Maryland goalie and the two-time Big Ten Goalie of the Year, is No. 3 in the country with a .527 save percentage.

The Terps are 11-4 overall but 2-3 in their last five, beginning with a 13-9 loss to Penn on March 27. Princeton beat Penn 14-9 in the Quakers' next game after their Maryland game. Princeton comes into the game tonight after putting up 23 goals Saturday against Brown.

By the way, the forecast for the game at Brown was for sunshine, though a bit windy. And what happened during the women's game? It rained, of course, even though there was a zero percent chance of rain according to the weather.

After tonight, Princeton has two regular season games to go, this Saturday at home against Dartmouth (noon start, Princeton-Penn men follow at 5) and then April 27 at Harvard. Princeton is 4-1 in the league, behind Yale, who is 5-0, including defeating Princeton 11-9 on March 2 in the Ivy opener for both.

Yale, who along with Princeton is the only other team to have clinched its ILT spot, has games remaining against Cornell and Columbia; one win in those two means that the tournament will be at Yale. Harvard and Penn are a game back of Princeton at 3-2 in the league.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Cure For A Bad Mood

TigerBlog walked outside yesterday morning, and the spring weather was already perfect. 

Then he stopped off in a store, where he was the second one on line at the checkout. The cashier said to the man in front of him "have a nice day," to which the man responded "you have a better one."

How nice was that? That comment lifted TB's morning spirits even higher. 

And then? He was driving into Princeton when he came to the point where 206 heads to the left at Nassau Street. The lane to go straight onto Nassau Street was blocked by a broken down van with a tow truck already there, so everyone in that lane had to move over into the other one. 

It was all going smoothly until TB pulled over and heard honking. When he looked in his rearview mirror, he saw a driver who was gesturing wildly at him. 

It didn't cause TB any road rage. More like "road confusion." Where did she want him to go? Wasn't it obvious what was going on? 

Anyway, that did take his spirits down a few levels. Leave it to Joe Dubuque to bring them back up.

The head coach of wrestling at Princeton came into TB's office to introduce his new head assistant coach, Corey Brewer. As Dubuque introduced Brewer, he asked TB when the next entry with him in it would be, suggesting that nothing drives blog traffic quite like a mention of Dubuque.

TB assured him that it would be today, and so here he is. 

Dubuque is a definite, 100 percent can't miss cure for someone's flipping you off on Nassau Street. That's for sure. 

As for Brewer, TigerBlog didn't know anything about him, other than he certainly looks the part of a wrestling coach, and, presumably, a pretty good wrestler before that. As it turns out, he is all of that.

Brewer coached at Virginia Tech and Northwestern before this, and as an undergrad he was the 2015 NCAA champion at 133 pounds. He came into the event as the 13 seed and then won five straight matches, including taking down the top seed 15-3 in the semifinals and the third seed 11-8 in the final. 

The third seed, by the way, was named Cory Clark and he was from Iowa. Two years later, in 2017, Clark won an NCAA title of his own.

TB hopes he enjoyed his few years as making a claim to being the best "Clark" from Iowa until Caitlin came along. Are the two Clarks related? TB can't find anything to suggest they are, but they did grow up 14 miles apart from each other. 

With TB's mood now much back on the positive side, he saw an envelope on his desk, one of those inter-University envelopes that he used to get all the time and now gets once a year or so. These are the envelopes that are sealed with the red piece of string that winds around the two red circles, and the front has different spaces to cross out the last person who had it and add the next address. 

This envelope came to Jadwin Gym from Firestone Library. Before that, it was at the East Asian Library, 693 Alexander, 226 Alexander and originally at Firestone Library. Presumably, TigerBlog will cross out his name and send it off to someone else, even though he hasn't had to send something through the University mail system in years. 

What was in the envelope? 

It was a book entitled "The Princeton University Trivia Book." TB's mood, which Dubuque had rescued, was now even better.

What could be better than a Princeton University trivia book for TB, whose title includes the word "historian?" How about being in the acknowledgements as one of the book's selected sources, from TB's own "I Can Do Anything, Stories From The First 50 Years Of Women's Athletics At Princeton."

The trivia book was compiled by Helene Van Rossum and TB's longtime friend and University archivist  Daniel J. Linke. 

If you're interested, you can order it HERE. It'll be available on Amazon starting next month.

The book is divided into eight sections: History, Student Life, Princeton Culture, Learning and Teaching, People, Extracurricular, Around Campus and Fun Facts. 

Trust TigerBlog on this. You'll absolutely love it. 


Monday, April 15, 2024

Eight For Morrisroe

Today's entry is one of those where TigerBlog went to look something up, got distracted and then almost forgot what it was he was trying to find.

The Princeton women's lacrosse team defeated Brown 23-10 in Providence Saturday, on a day when freshman Meg Morrisroe tied the school record for goals in a game with eight. When TB went to the women's lacrosse record book, he saw that Morrisroe is now the third Princeton women's lacrosse player to reach eight goals in a game.

The first was Kathy Mahoney, who did so in 1981, also against Brown. The second was Catherine McCarthy, who had eight against Yale in 1989.

He figured he'd go to the Daily Princetonian archives to see what he could find out about both of the other record holders. When he went to the Monday edition after Mahoney's big game, he didn't find anything about those eight goals, but he did see a picture of Princeton's baseball shortstop at the time, Henry Milligan.

If you don't know who Henry Milligan is, he won 10 letters at Princeton between football, wrestling and baseball. None of those, though, was the sport in which he'd become most famous.

That would be boxing, where he was an excellent light heavyweight, despite weighing only 185 pounds or so. He reached the semifinals of the 1984 Olympic Trials at 201 pounds before he lost to, well, can you name who beat him? 

The person who beat him then lost to a different Henry, this one named Tillman, in the Olympic Trial final. Henry Tillman then won the Olympic gold medal.

Give up? It was an 18-year-old Mike Tyson.

Milligan fought as a professional and even had a cruiserweight title fight. He was also an engineer. 

Meanwhile, the story about Mahoney was actually in the Tuesday "Prince" that week. Mahoney broke the record held by none other than Emily Goodfellow, one of the very few people who can say "I won more letters at Princeton than Henry Milligan," as she won 12. Goodfellow scored seven against Radcliffe in 1974 to set the record, and Jody McNeil equaled that with seven against Hofstra in 1978.

That 1981 game against Brown, by the way, also had another Princeton player who scored seven, Wiz Lippincott. 

The 1989 game was a 17-3 romp over Yale. This is how McCarthy was described in the student paper after her first goal: 

"McCarthy, who plays like Ming the Merciless and shoots like Larry Bird, was just getting warmed up."

TigerBlog has no idea who Ming is. He doesn't sound like a fun guy though.

Meanwhile, back in the present, TigerBlog was watching the women's lacrosse game against Brown on ESPN+ before he headed over to the men's game. The first quarter ended at 9-6 Princeton and took 45 minutes to play. 

Princeton's defense tightened up. Princeton's offense kept going.

Morrisroe's eight goals came after she had scored six goals on 16 shots for the season to date. Against the Bears she went off for eight goals on 10 shots. 

If you didn't notice, Morrisroe's goal total was the most in the last 35 years. Think about all of the great players Princeton has had since then who never got there. 

It was an impressive win for Princeton, especially considering the quick turnaround from its loss at Loyola Wednesday night. The Tigers then had to come back from Baltimore and head up to Providence Friday for a noon game Saturday — against the No. 25 team in the country. 

Princeton sprinted away from the Bears, and when it was over, Princeton had run all the way into the Ivy League tournament, clinching a spot in the four-team field.  

With two weeks to go in the regular season, Princeton has three games to go. There is this coming Wednesday at home against Maryland, and then the league season concludes with Saturday's noon game against Dartmouth, also on Sherrerd Field, and then a trip to Harvard April 27. 

The Ivy standings right now have Yale at 5-0, followed by Princeton at 4-1 and then Harvard and Penn at 3-2. Yale finishes with Cornell and Columbia, and Princeton can only get a share of the title if the Bulldogs lose at least one of those. Should Yale win one more game, it would definitely host the league tournament.

Princeton, though, is playing as well as it has all season. The game Saturday in Providence was another big step forward.

Friday, April 12, 2024

A Lot Of Athletes

A guy goes in for his physical, and he asks the doctor if she saw the eclipse. The doctor said she missed it, and the guy says the next total solar eclipse will be in 2079, when he'll be nearly 120 years old.

"Will you be around for it?" the doctor asks.

"Depends how good a doctor you are," the guy says. 

That was an actual conversation from TigerBlog's physical Tuesday, by the way.


There will be 15 Princeton teams who compete this weekend. Don't believe TB? See for yourself HERE.

Two of those teams will be the men's and women's track and field teams, who will host the Larry Ellis Invitational.

Larry Ellis, if you don't know, was the first Black head coach ever in the Ivy League. Hired in 1970 to coach the men's track and field team, he would serve in that position for 22 years. Before he coached at Princeton, he was the head coach at Jamaica High School in Queens, where he coached Bob Beamon (look him up if you don't already know), and before that he served in the Korean War.

Ellis, who was also an Olympic coach, was part of one of the most insightful moments TB has ever experienced. TB was walking down the Jadwin balcony when he saw Ellis and one of his athletes outside of his office, and TB heard the athlete ask the coach what he needed to do to be able to get to a certain time in his event.

And what did Ellis answer? With all the wisdom of the world, he said simply "run faster."

As anyone who ever met him could confirm, he was an extraordinarily kind man. He was a real gentleman, to quote a coach Ellis brought to Princeton in 1977 — Fred Samara.

Larry Ellis passed away in 1998. The Larry Ellis Invitational originated one year later.

Of all the athletes who will be on this campus this weekend, one who bears watching is Dartmouth softball freshman pitcher Jensin Hall, who has been the Ivy Pitcher of the Week three of the last four weeks. Hall earned her most recent honor this past week after striking out 17 Brown Bears in a Big Green win.

The Ivy softball race is a good one, with Columbia currently on top at 7-2, followed by Yale at 9-3 and then Princeton and Dartmouth at 5-4 and Harvard at 6-6. The path to the NCAA tournament goes through the Ivy tournament, in which the top four teams will play.

Princeton and Dartmouth will play twice tomorrow, starting at 12:30, and then once more Sunday, at 12:30.


Here's something TigerBlog didn't realize about Karlie Samuelson when he wrote about her and the London Lions yesterday: She's Devin Cannady's sister-in-law.

Cannady, one of the great scorers in Princeton men's basketball history and an NBA player himself, is married to Katie Lou Samuelson, Karlie's sister who is two years younger and herself a professional basketball player. 

By the way, if you haven't seen the shot that Holly Winterburn hit to give London the win in the game the other day, look it up — and then imagine this had happened in an NBA playoff game or an NCAA championship game.


TigerBlog's longtime friend Matt Ciciarelli is a former Princeton baseball contact for the Office of Athletic Communications, but he hasn't been to Clarke Field in quite some time. He said he might come by for the Monmouth game, but it was moved up a day to Tuesday, which made it tougher for him.

What was the draw? The son of a friend of his plays for Monmouth. Turns out his name is Trey Porter, and it turns out that Ciciarelli missed out on something incredible by not being at the game.

First of all, Porter made his first start of the season Second of all, he made this catch:

It doesn't get much better than that, does it? Apparently it does: It was only the No. 3 Play of the Day on SportsCenter.

As for the Ivy baseball standings, they also have Columbia on top, at 8-1. Behind the Lions, only four games separate second from eighth and only three games separate second from seventh. The race for the tournament spots will be intense.

Princeton currently sits tied for third with Penn at 5-4, one game behind Cornell and one game ahead of Yale. Princeton has three this weekend at home against Harvard (doubleheader tomorrow at 11:30, single game Sunday at noon) and then three with home against Penn followed by three-game trips to Yale and Columbia


There is a lacrosse doubleheader in Providence tomorrow, with the women's game at noon and the men's game at 3:30. By the end of the night, one or both (or neither) of the Princeton teams could have clinched an Ivy tournament spot. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

EuroCup Champs

TigerBlog said before the NCAA basketball tournaments started that the women would outdraw the men if Caitlin Clark got to the final, and that's exactly what happened.

Oh, and it wasn't even close — the women drew four million more people than the men for the championship games.The NBA Finals and the World Series couldn't match Clark either. Again, what other athlete has ever had this kind of impact? 

There were more than 18 million who watched the women's game. You have to be either college or NFL football to exceed that number. 

There were far fewer viewers for the basketball game TigerBlog watched from start to finish yesterday. It seemed like viewership peaked around 7,000, at least according to the tracker on YouTube.

This one, though, was about as crazy as you can hope for out of a championship game. In fact, TigerBlog has never really seen anything quite like it. You could even say it was a championship game where the winner wasn't important.

The game was between the London Lions and Turkish team Besiktas, who were playing Game 2 of the EuroCup women's finals at the Copper Box Arena in London. The first game had been seven days earlier in Istanbul, where Besitkas had won 75-68.

The way the series works is that it's a two-game, home-and-home, total points situation. Because of that, Besitkas went into the game yesterday needing only to lose by fewer than seven to win the championship. 

It was a very strange way to watch a game. London led throughout, but the lead jumped above and below seven a bunch of times. It put all kinds of craziness on the proceedings — and on the play-by-play man, who kept giving the score as this particular game first and then aggregate second.

What was TigerBlog's interest? First and foremost, there was Abby Meyers, the 2022 Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton who played in the WNBA last summer and who was in her first season with the Lions this year. 

Then there was the fact that when TB was in England this past winter, he went to write a story about Meyers and saw the Lions play twice, once in the Copper Box. It was a great experience for TB in terms of the facility and the fan base in addition to the basketball, and he has been following the team ever since.

London made its way through the EuroCup playoffs, becoming the first team from England ever to reach the final. And now all the Lions had to do was win by eight or more. 

Meyers came off the bench to hit a huge three and a layup in the first half, on a night when every single point mattered. Then, midway through the second half, she came off the bench to take two foul shots when Karlie Samuelson, who played at Stanford and for Great Britain the Olympics, was hurt while being fouled. Meyers had missed two free throws earlier in the half, but, again with the pressure of knowing every point mattered, she knocked down both.

London was in control of the game itself, and had that been all that mattered, the final few minutes would have been played much differently. Not on this night.

The fourth quarter began with London ahead 60-55, or minus-2 in the aggregate. It was 60-59 two minutes into the fourth, but the Lions scored five straight. Minus-1. 

It was 68-61 with 4:01 left. Even. It was even again at 70-63 and 73-66, the latter with under two minutes left. 

Now what? Turkey cut it to 73-68, but plus-two, with 1:35 left. A London three made it plus-one Lions with 1:16 to go. With 31 seconds left, Besitkas scored again. 76-70. London now minus-1. 

Holly Winterburn, who played at Oregon and is another great young English player at 23, drained a three-pointer with 12 seconds left. 79-70. London plus-two. That was the biggest shot of the night, one that became the game-winner when Samuelson came up with a steal and then Megan Gustafson, who held the career scoring record at Iowa before Caitlin Clark, sealed it with two foul shots. 

Final score: London 81, Besitkas 70. Lions, plus-four. 

When TigerBlog was there in December, he met a teacher named Becky Power, who had brought her daughter Elsie to that game. They were both there yesterday for the clincher.

These were the videos that Becky sent postgame last night:


What do you see there? You see joy. You see a huge crowd. And you see a lot of men in the audience. 

You also get to see Elsie at the very end of the second video. 

Here is what Becky said about the game: "We were there!!! It was amazing!!! I've never seen the Copper Box so packed! Elsie's been to a few sport games, including the Premier League and even a Women's World Cup game, and she said this was the best event she's been to."

This was also a very high level of basketball. It just shows you how much the women's game has grown, especially in Europe. 

Congrats to the London Lions and to Abby Meyers. And to the London fans, who were treated to something very special.

Do you think the NBA playoffs would be better if that was the format for the first round?

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

76 Degrees

As pre-tournament prognostications go, TigerBlog did pretty well for the recently completed March Madness.

First, he picked South Carolina to win the women's tournament, which the Gamecocks did. That wasn't all that difficult, though. South Carolina was something of a lock from the start.

On the men's side, TB went with Purdue in his pre-tournament guess. The Boilermakers didn't win, but they did make it all the way to the final Monday night before losing to Connecticut.

It would have been too easy to pick South Carolina and UConn. Picking Purdue to get to the final? TB is guessing not too many people did that after the way the Boilermakers played in the tournament the last two years. 

As for the moving screen call at the end of the Iowa-UConn women's game, here are TB's four thoughts:

1) it was clearly a violation of the rules
2) what percentage of similar violations of the rules are called moving screens during the course of the season, whether it be the first quarter of a game in November or the third quarter of a game in February?
3) he's glad he wasn't the ref
4) would Paige Bueckers have made the shot to give the Huskies the win?

Here was another pre-tournament pick that came true: In general, the women's tournament was much more exciting than the men's. When it was over, TB could name way more players from the women's teams than the men's teams.

And, obviously, the most significant part of the last few weeks is the impact that Caitlin Clark had on women's basketball and American sports in general. Who was the last athlete who has had that kind of an effect on a sport? What athlete literally tripled the national TV audience for a sport besides Clark?


Meanwhile, back in the post-eclipse world of Princeton, the women's lacrosse team heads to Loyola tonight for a game against the seventh-ranked Greyhounds. The game starts at 6, and the forecast for that moment in Baltimore is for 76 and partly cloudy.

That's quite a stark difference from seven days ago, when the craziness was in full bloom — with heavy rains, cold weather, flooding, some snow flurries and then an earthquake and an eclipse. 

Also going back seven days, the forecast for Ivy League women's lacrosse was radically different than it is today. Penn was unbeaten in the league and ranked in the top seven as well, fresh off a win over then-No. 1 Maryland.

Since then, Princeton took down Penn 14-9 in the rain on Sherrerd Field last Wednesday, and then Penn lost at Yale Sunday afternoon. Princeton followed up the Penn win by defeating Columbia 24-12 Saturday.

As a result, the Ivy standings now look like this:

Yale 4-0
Princeton/Harvard 3-1
Cornell/Penn/Brown 2-2
Dartmouth/Columbia 0-4

Suddenly Penn has gone from beating the No. 1 team in the country to needing a strong push over the final three weeks of the regular season just to get into the Ivy League tournament. 

Princeton has five regular season games to go, with the game tonight and a game at Maryland next Wednesday. The three Ivy games to play are at Brown this Saturday (the first game of a women/ men doubleheader), home against Dartmouth next weekend and then at Harvard April 27.

As for the game tonight, Loyola is 11-1 overall and 6-0 in the Patriot League, ahead of three 4-1 teams (Holy Cross, Navy, Army West Point). The Greyhounds have lost only to No. 2 Syracuse.

Princeton has four players in the top 12 in the Ivy League (and top 136 in Division I) in points per game — McKenzie Blake, Grace Tauckus, Jami MacDonald and Haven Dora. Of that group, Dora is the one who is having the biggest breakout year.

Last season, as a freshman, Dora had three goals and three assists. This year, she has 14 goals and 19 assists through 10 games, with at least one goal in eight of the 10 games. And the two games she has not scored in? She had three assists in each. 

Dora had a huge night against Penn last Wednesday, with three goals and four assists for seven points, all of which were career highs. 

Princeton finds itself ranked 17th this week, having moved up only one spot after the Penn win. Tonight's game is the second of three straight Wednesdays against highly ranked opponents. 

Remember - the opening draw is at 6, and it'll be a really nice night in Baltimore.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

The first eclipse must have really freaked out the people who were alive back then, whenever it was.

Presumably, this was well before a great knowledge of astronomy existed. It probably seemed like it went from day to night to day very quickly, leaving everyone wondering if this would be the new normal.

"Hey, what the heck just happened?"
"No idea. I'm still trying to figure out how to make fire."
"Well, whatever it was, it was strange — though it might make a good song."

That, of course, is Bonnie Tyler's 1983 mega-hit "Total Eclipse Of The Heart," which was her first single and which sold more than six million copies. Who wrote it? The same guy who wrote every wildly creative and out of the ordinary song in the 1970s and 1980s — Jim Steinman, who 1) wrote all of Meat Loaf's songs and 2) was the brother of longtime Columbia sports information director Bill Steinman. 

Ah, but TigerBlog digresses. Did you enjoy the eclipse?

One thought that TigerBlog had regarding the eclipse is this: What would have happened had it been two days earlier? Or one day earlier? 

Think about how many athletic events there were outside over the weekend. Would they have played through the eclipse? Would they have had to take a break? 

There were no Major League Baseball games scheduled yesterday afternoon. The only ESPN+ college event yesterday afternoon was Boston University at Colgate, which started at noon. 

There was one Princeton team who competed yesterday afternoon — the women's golf team, who was the Wolfpack Match Play at North Carolina state. The event itself is a pretty cool one, with eight teams that were all to play three rounds, with five head-to-head singles matches to determine who wins each round, with two matches yesterday and one today. The field includes four teams in the top 51 of the national rankings.

Princeton opened with a loss to Wake Forest, the third-ranked team in the country, yesterday in the early match, which put Princeton into the consolation bracket with a 1:00 start. This would mean prime eclipse time.

So would they keep playing?

TB reached out to Princeton coach Erika DeSanty to see what the answer was, and it was this: "We are!! Yes. We all have glasses."

So there you have it. 

As for the BU-Colgate softball game, TB asked Raiders' Director of Athletics Yariv Amir the same question. Will they keep playing? 

His response was the perfect administrative response: "That's why we started early."

Ah, but what if the game ran long and overlapped with the eclipse? 

"I guess we'll see," Amir said. 

Somewhere in that response was a great punchline. Ultimately, BU won the game before the eclipse started.

TigerBlog walked around the campus yesterday in the early afternoon, and it was a weird phenomenon, almost like the beginning of some apocalyptic horror movie. People were gingerly looking skyward, almost like they were expecting to see space aliens descending, weapons already firing.

Of course, there was humor too. As TB walked past the chapel, he heard one student call to another, and they had this actual exchange, which ended when one pointed to the sky:

"Are you going to watch the eclipse?"
"I guess. Where is it?"
"Up there I guess." 

As for the actual eclipse, TB went upstairs around 3 and found a large crowd of coaches, administrators and athletes in the general area of the front of Jadwin Gym. As you might have expected, it got darker and colder and then lighter and warmer.

It never got as dark as TB thought it would. He was expecting pitch-blackness, and that didn't come close to happening.

And yes, BrotherBlog, he did look through the glasses that he got up on Nassau Street earlier in the day. TB isn't quite sure he really believes the whole "your eyes will be damaged if you look up" but he wasn't tempting things.

If TB read correctly, the next total solar eclipse here will be in 2079, when he'll be approaching 116 years old.

He'll have to see that one from the other side — with his after-life approved glasses, of course.

Monday, April 8, 2024

A Weekend With ESPN+

There will be a total eclipse today.

Of course there will be. Why wouldn't there be? There's been everything else around here of late. Why not an eclipse?

Floods? Check. Crazy winds? Check. Snow flurries? Check.

Oh, and that's nothing. There was an earthquake Friday. An actual earthquake.

TigerBlog was in his car Friday when the earthquake came along, and so he missed the whole thing. Still, an earthquake? After all the other craziness that Mother Nature has thrown around the Princeton area this past week? 

And now an eclipse. TigerBlog found a pretty good eclipse website that says that the event will begin at 2:09:18 in the Princeton area, will peak at 3:24:34 and then end at 4:35:33. This will be a partial solar eclipse, and the next total solar eclipse here will be on May 1 — in the year 2079. 

If you want to know what time the eclipse will peak near you, click HERE.

There will be a total lunar eclipse on March 14, 2025, which will be a small part of March Madness next year. What's the difference between a lunar eclipse and solar eclipse? A solar eclipse is when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. A lunar eclipse is when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun. Apparently a lunar eclipse can only happen at night during a full moon.

Anyway, maybe all of this is what happens when there is an April weekend without a men's lacrosse game, something TB can't remember ever happening before in a full season since he's been around the team. 

With no men's lacrosse game to cover, TB spent much of his time this weekend on ESPN+. If you're an Ivy League fan, you can't ask for much more. It's wall-to-wall of pretty much any event you want to see. 

First of all, if you like ESPN+, and odds are good you do, then you really owe a thank you to the video departments at the eight Ivy schools. At Princeton, that means Cody Chrusciel, Dave Turner and Mike Galayda.

It's not easy to broadcast all of the events that are currently being produced in the Ivy League, let alone do them so well. It requires so much administrative and technical work, and, much like the game officials themselves, their work is going best when they're noticed the least.

The growth of the number of broadcasts has also created unprecedented opportunities for play-by-play announcers and color commentators. Many are young. Some are very experienced. Their ability — and in some cases, their homerism — varies, but most are doing at least a credible job. 

TigerBlog watched all of the Princeton-Brown baseball game yesterday on ESPN+, and the announcers were excellent. The play-by-play man was Scott Cordischi, who has been the voice of the Bears in many sports for a long time. The color commentator was named Nick Coit, the sports director at Providence's ABC station and a sideline reporter for Brown football and men's basketball. Like TB said, they were excellent, easy to listen to for nine innings.

One thing TB learned from watching Brown's production was that John Krasinski, the actor, was in the Class of 2001 there. TB had no idea about that — until he saw the Brown institutional spot, many times actually.

Princeton and Brown split the two games of the Saturday doubleheader, and each game lasted more than three hours. The game Sunday, a 4-2 Princeton win, was more of a pitchers' duel between Tiger freshman Sean Episcope (six innings, two runs allowed, seven strikeouts) and Brown junior Santosh Gottam (eight innings, 12 strikeouts). This game moved along at a great pace, taking barely 2:15 to complete.

The Tigers snapped the 2-2 tie in the eighth when Jake Bold tripled in a run and then got another run in the ninth on an RBI double from Tommy Googins. Jacob Faulkner took over from Episcope for the final three innings to get the win. 

It was a big win, potentially at least, for the Tigers, who entered the day fourth in the Ivy standings, one game ahead of Brown. As you know, the top four teams advance to the Ivy League tournament, and the win yesterday gave Princeton a two-game lead over Brown but also the head-to-head tiebreaker should it come to that.

TB also watched some of the Princeton-Harvard softball doubleheader yesterday. It looked cold in Cambridge too; kudos to the fan sitting directly behind home plate who was wearing shorts.

Of course TB also watched some lacrosse, including the Princeton-Columbia women's game and the other Ivy men's games Saturday, (Yale beat Penn, Cornell beat Brown and Harvard beat Dartmouth), as well as a few other men's lacrosse games. Sacred Heart, by the way, thumped Wagner to get to 6-0 in the MAAC.

As for the Princeton women, they rolled past Columbia 24-12, building off the big 14-9 win over Penn from Wednesday night. The Tigers had two players with six points each, as McKenzie Blake had five goals and an assist and Jami MacDonald had three goals and three assists. 

The win left the Tigers at 3-1 in the league and hoping for a Penn win over Yale yesterday, which would have created a four-way tie for first with those three and Harvard. Instead, Yale had a huge win over the Quakers, and now the standings go Yale 4-0, Princeton/Harvard 3-1 and Penn 2-2 and suddenly tied with Cornell and Brown. 

That Yale-Penn game was on ESPNU. TB watched a little of it, but he was more interested in a different game. 

Anyway, enjoy the eclipse. And don't look straight at the sun.