Monday, February 8, 2016

Six For Six

TigerBlog watched the Princeton-Harvard women's basketball game on TV yesterday.

Princeton desperately needed a win, and it got one. It wasn't easy. It took five extra minutes.

It was a win nonetheless.

Princeton defeated Harvard 92-83 in overtime yesterday in Cambridge, completing a weekend sweep that began at Dartmouth Friday night. Princeton has now swept 36 of its last 39 Ivy weekends.

The game was even at 72-72 at the end of regulation, which made it a pretty high-scoring five minutes. The game was basically over when Princeton scored the first eight points of the OT, getting them from four different players, starting with a nice Vanessa Smith drive and then including Amanda Berntsen, Michelle Miller and Alex Wheatley. Those four, plus Annie Tarakchian, all finished in double figures.

Miller had a huge game, with 28 points while playing all 45 minutes. And Wheatley? Her layup to make it 80-72 gave her 16 for the day and 1,000 for her career.

That's a lot of points, 1,000. Only 24 women's basketball players and 30 men's basketball players - of all the players who have ever played at Princeton - have reached 1,000 points. So congrats to Wheatley. And Miller, who got there earlier this year. 

Princeton had no choice but to win this game. Penn is 5-0 and atop the league standings, and Princeton needs to make sure it doesn't require any help from anyone else in the league to catch the Tigers.

This coming weekend will be interesting, as Cornell, who is 5-1, is at Princeton Friday night and Penn Saturday. Since every other team in the league has at least three losses, it's looking like a three-team race for now. That number could change based on this weekend's results.

As TigerBlog says, Princeton couldn't have won the Ivy League title yesterday but it could have lost it.

Princeton has won five of the last six Ivy League championships in women's basketball. This year's race still has several weeks to go.

Other winter sports have already crowned their champs for the 2015-16 year. As a matter of fact, in this current athletic year starting in the fall of 2015, there have been seven women's sports that have already had the championship decided, and guess what?

Princeton is 6 for 6. Six women's sports. Six Ivy League titles, either won outright or shared.

Princeton won three Ivy League championships this past weekend, including one by a men's team. The women's hockey team defeated Cornell 5-0 Saturday, clinching the outright Ivy League championship.

Then, while the women's basketball team was getting its big win yesterday, the women's and men's fencing teams both came away with shares of the Ivy League championship at the Ivy fencing championships at Cornell.

For the year, that's seven Ivy titles for Princeton.

As for the women, that's six - outright titles in field hockey, cross country, soccer and hockey and shared titles in volleyball and fencing.

No school had ever swept all of the championships in one gender in a season before Princeton's women did it in the fall.

The highest number of Ivy League championships that Princeton's women have ever won in a calendar year is eight, something Princeton has done twice, in 1981-82 and 2010-11. Princeton needs two more this calendar year to tie that.

TigerBlog likes the fencing format, where all of the round-robin matches are played in a single weekend. Both the men and the women had a loss Saturday, and both came back with perfect Sundays to earn their shares.

The championships marked the fifth time that Princeton has won both the men's and women's championships in the same year.

As for hockey, the ECAC is the actual league, but the Ivy League takes the results of the games played head-to-head among the six league schools who play in the 12-team ECAC and uses those results to create Ivy League standings. It's a fairly creative way to crown the champ.

Because the teams are playing off the ECAC schedule, not every team has played the same number of Ivy vs. Ivy games. Princeton played its 10th and final game Saturday against Cornell, who was playing its sixth.

The Tigers had a disallowed goal early, but that didn't matter. Princeton shut out the Big Red and tucked in two empty net goals for the 5-0 final and the Ivy title, even though Cornell still has four Ivy vs. Ivy games left.

As for the ECAC, Princeton is currently sitting in third with four games to play.

Quinnipiac is in first with 29 points, followed by Clarkson with 26 and Princeton with 25. Next is Colgate with 23 and Harvard with 22.

The top four teams get home ice for the ECAC playoffs. The second and third finishers avoid Quinnipiac in the semifinals.

Princeton is home the next two weekends, against Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend and RPI ad Union the following weekend.

Goal No. 2 is to be playing at home the weekend after that.

Goal No. 1 was the Ivy League title, which Princeton salted away this weekend, making it six for six for the Princeton women this year.

No comments: