Tuesday, December 11, 2018

That's 10 For Bella

Bella Alarie needed one game this year to earn another Ivy League Player of the Week award.

Alarie, returning from injury that forced her out of the first nine games of the year, had that 16-point, 19-rebound outing in the 54-42 win over Quinnipiac Saturday night. The performance earned her league Player of the Week honors.

To put this accomplishment in perspective, TigerBlog offers a little Ivy Player of the Week history, courtesy of the Ivy League website.

For Alarie, it was her 10th Ivy Player of the Week honor, which makes her the 10th player in league history to win 10 or more. And that doesn't include her six Ivy Rookie of the Week honors two years ago.

TigerBlog isn't sure exactly how long the league has been choosing a Player of the Week in women's basketball. It goes back to at least the late 1980s, since Sandi Bittler, a 1990 grad and the all-time leading scorer in Princeton women's basketball history, won six of them.

The Player of the Year award goes back to the 1979-80 season. TB presumes the Player of the Week award started at some point shortly after that.

There are now three Princeton players who have reached double figures in Player of the Week awards, and it shouldn't be all that shocking who the other two are. Any guesses?

This is so easy that TigerBlog won't even give you a few paragraphs to think about it. The answer is Niveen Rasheed and Blake Dietrick.

In fact, Rasheed ranks second all-time in league history with 14 Player of the Week awards, while Dietrick had 11, which actually ties for fourth. The all-time Ivy leader? That should also be easy - Harvard's Allison Feaster, who was honored a remarkable 21 times.

It's also not shocking that the three players who are 1-2-3 on the list are, in TigerBlog's opinion, by far the three best players in Ivy women's basketball history (******who have already completed their careers): Feaster (21 times), Rasheed (14 times) and Penn's Diana Caramanico (12 times).
As for the rest of Princeton, there are two other former players who have won the award more than Bittler but less than Alarie. Can you name those two?

This one isn't as easy, so TB will give you a few paragraphs.

Your hint is that they were teammates and even classmates. One won it seven times. The other won it eight times.

Oh, and speaking of players who have won seven of them, Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart  won seven times while she was a player at Dartmouth, where she scored 1,423 career points. She also had 273 career three-pointers, which remains tied for the league's career record.

And the answer to the question about the classmates who won 15 Player of the Week awards between them? They were members of the Class of 2016, Annie Tarakchian (with eight) and Michelle Miller (with seven).

Another not surprising fact is that of the 10 players who have won the Player of the Week award at least 10 times, a total of eight also have at least one Player of the Year award on their resumes.

The two who don't are Nia Marshall of Cornell and Camille Zimmerman of Columbia, both of whom graduated in the last two years, or during the current eight-year stretch in which the winner of the Player of the Year has come from either Princeton (five times - Rasheed twice, Dietrick, Alarie and current assistant coach Addie Micir) or Penn (three times).

Alarie's next chance to move up the list begins tonight, when the Tigers are at Monmouth. The Hawks are 3-5, but they have won three of their last four after an 0-4 start. Included in this current stretch is a 55-51 win over George Washington, who has a 64-49 win over Princeton from back on Nov. 11.

After the game tonight, Princeton will be home Saturday against Marist, who will be the team's third straight MAAC opponent. Marist will bring a 7-2 record to Jadwin for that game.

This is actually a busy stretch for the Tigers, who will play five games in 18 days beginning with tonight's game. There are also games within that time, all on the road, against St. Francis (N.Y.), Hartford and New Hampshire.

The game at New Hampshire, on Dec. 29, is the seventh and last of December. There's only one game for the entire month of January, against Penn at home on Jan. 5.

Things will get much busier once February rolls around.

In the meantime, it's Princeton at Monmouth tonight, with tip at 7.

It's the next chance to see Bella Alarie, who is already established herself as one of the best ever to play in the Ivy League.

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