Monday, February 1, 2016

Hey Handsome

TigerBlog was walking with his colleague Brad Pottieger before the women's basketball game Saturday night at Jadwin Gym when a female voice in the stands above them shouted out "hey handsome."

Pottieger looked up. The man behind Brad, the one to whom the woman was actually yelling, also looked up.

TigerBlog admires Brad's self-esteem and self-confidence, if not his self-awareness. Just kidding. Just kidding.

Actually, Brad looked quite handsome. He wore a light pink shirt with a perfectly tied bow tie, one that had some pink in it as well.

He was certainly dressed for the night. It was "Play4Kay" night at Jadwin, and the game against Yale featured pink t-shirts, pink hoo rags (TigerBlog would have called them bandanas), pink cupcakes and pink cookies, all in the name of promoting the fight against breast cancer.

Brad, the event manager for women's basketball, clearly was in the spirit. So was pretty much everyone in the crowd, which swelled to 2,109 and saw Princeton defeat the Bulldogs 65-50.

Before he talks about the game, TigerBlog would like to mention two things.

First, he doesn't own anything pink, so when he got there, he took one of the pink t-shirts and wore it underneath his "Princeton Athletics" shirt. It created a nice little pink accessory. He thought about a hoo rag, but that wouldn't have been his best look.

And second, TB cannot tie a bow tie. He learned to tie a regular tie when he was about 6 or 7, but a bow tie? Never. If Brad tied his own bow tie, TB is impressed.

Jadwin Gym had a party atmosphere Saturday night, and it was a celebration of life and those who have beaten breast cancer more than anything else that wasn't basketball related.

Ah, but the basketball part was huge.

Princeton came into the weekend having not played in 20 days, not since a 50-48 loss to Penn in the Ivy opener for both on Jan. 9. The opponents were Brown, a team that went 12-2 out of the league, and then Yale, who had turned around and beaten Brown twice while Princeton was on exam break.

The Tigers, though, showed no rust at all. In fact, Princeton scored the first 13 points against Brown and never trailed in either game, beating the Bears 72-53 before the 15-point win over Yale.

For Princeton, that makes it 28 of its last 29 against Brown and Yale. And in its last 38 Ivy League weekends? There have been 35 sweeps.

The good thing about Princeton is that it has so much experience and so much depth that it doesn't need to count on any one player night after night. Annie Tarakchian (17 rebounds) and Michelle Miller (21 points, nine of which came in the first three minutes of the game) were co-Players of the Game Friday night. Saturday night, it was Alex Wheatley who led the way, with 14 points, including 12 in the third quarter - 10 straight at one point - as the Yale run that cut it to three was turned aside.

So where does that leave Princeton?

Penn also won its two games comfortably this weekend, and the Quakers are now 3-0 in the league and the lone unbeaten. Harvard and Cornell are both 3-1, though neither has played Princeton and Penn.

That'll change this weekend, when Princeton and Penn travel to New England. It'll be the Tigers at Dartmouth Friday night and then at Harvard Sunday afternoon (not Saturday night), as the game will be televised by the American Sports Network.

Penn will be at Harvard Friday and Dartmouth Saturday.

Penn will be at Princeton on March 8 in the final game of the regular season. Though Princeton can't look past anyone between now then, the last thing the Tigers want is to be in the position Penn was in a year ago.

That was when Princeton beat Penn in the opener and was 13-0 heading into the season finale at the Palestra. Penn was 11-2 and out of the league race, because the Quakers tripped up at home against Cornell.

Instead of playing for a shot at a tie and a playoff, Penn was out of it. The Tigers would settle for being 12-1 and taking on 13-0 Penn and taking a shot at getting two straight wins, but that's a long way away.

Princeton has to assume two things between now and then: 1) Penn isn't going to lose (not to say they won't; just to say that Princeton has to play assuming that the Quakers won't) and 2) every team would love to beat Princeton. It'll make the next five weekends really interesting.

But that's for down the road. For now, there was this past weekend, Princeton's first games in three weeks.

The fans - the two games combined drew nearly 4,000 - loved all 80 minutes of it. And why not?

The Tigers looked sharp, confident, athletic, deep and ready.

And Brad Pottieger?

He looked handsome. Yeah, let's go with that.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure I would use the adjective "sharp" to describe a team that commits 25 turnovers, many of which seemed very avoidable, even "sloppy," and 17 of which were committed by three seniors: two first-team All-Ivy selections and the starting point guard. If this team wants to win the Ivy title this season, they need to reduce the number of bad turnovers significantly.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the poster above, especially considering that our women also committed 23 turnovers against Brown (losing the ball on steals 15 times), similar to the 25 turnovers against Yale (and losing the ball on steals 16 times). During the weekend we often forced passes and were sometimes out of control on transition (twice against Yale our players ran right over their defenders). The fast pace can be counterproductive if it only results in a few layups while causing many more turnovers.
That said, the best thing about our women's team, I think, is their outstanding rebounding skill - across the board. They outrebounded Brown by 16 and Yale by 14, which is very impressive. They play very good team defense too and that partially accounted for both Brown and Yale shooting so poorly this past weekend. Go Tigers!