Monday, January 31, 2022

The Chuckle

TigerBlog has noticed that he has a simple, and reflexive, way of responding to athletic greatness.

He chuckles. Like he says, it's reflexive.

It's an acknowledgement that he's just seen someone do something that almost nobody else can. It's not something he does often, obviously. It takes something really, really special.

If he sees something that is unusally impressive, he finds that he nods his head. It takes something amazing to get the chuckle.

He's not sure how long he's been doing this. He knows it goes back to when Tom Schreiber would have the ball in men's lacrosse, and then later when Michael Sowers would. Or when Devin Cannady would do some of the things he did. Same with John Lovett.

It's not just greatness. It's unique greatness. It's the ability to do something that is otherwise unseen in a game, and, you can probably add, make it look routine in the process.

TB thought about that Friday night as he watched the Princeton women's basketball team play against Yale. It came on the first Tiger possession of the game, when Abby Meyers hit a turnaround jump shot from about 12 feet.

That brought a chuckle.

When was the last time you saw a player on any level in basketball shoot a shot that 1) used to be a staple of the game and 2) is hardly employed anymore in a world where analytics suggest it's a bad risk?

Meyers made it look so easy. She had a few of them in the game, as well as shots from basically everywhere else. Her biggest shot came with just under two minutes to go as the shot clock was expiring, when she tossed one in from way beyond the three-point line, basically sealing the outcome, which became 61-49.

The win improved Princeton to 6-0 in the Ivy League and made Carla Berube the first women's basketball coach in Ivy history to win her first 20 league games. If you're wondering, only one men's coach ever won his first 20, and TB doesn't need to tell you who that was (if you're wondering, it was Bill Carmody, who actually won his first 34).

Meyers finished with 22 points, a bit above her league-leading 18.2 average. She continues to be a player who has no fear on the offensive end, who shoots every shot with the utmost confidence, regardless of how the last few shots before that one went. As Pete Carril used to say, "give me someone who can miss 10 straight and shoot the 11th with the same confidence."

The win at Yale was different than Princeton's first five this year in that it was anybody's game into the fourth quarter. For three quarters it was a brilliant defensive battle between the league's top two teams on that end of the court, and as is the case when you have such matchups, the game is played with no more than a possession or two difference in the score at any point.

Such was the case in New Haven Friday night. From the midway point of the first quarter through the end of the third quarter, neither team ever had more than a two-possession lead, and it was within three points either way from Camilla Emsbo's layup with 2:24 left in the second quarter until Yale went up by four at 40-36 with 8:44 to go in the fourth.

That's a long stretch. That's 13:40 of gametime in which neither team led by more than three. That's a lot of pressure on each possession.

And so there was Princeton, who had been putting away its opponents in the first quarter, suddenly down four in the fourth quarter, on the road against a good team. Now what?

Well, now what was a 14-2 Tiger run that made it a 50-42 game on the aforementioned Meyers three-pointer. In addition Meyers, Princeton also got 19 points and 11 rebounds from Julia Cunningham. 

With that game over, Princeton can look ahead to this coming weekend at home against Cornell Friday and then Columbia Saturday as the league season reaches the midpoint. Right now, there are two Ivy unbeatens – Princeton and Columbia, who is also 6-0 with two games between the Tigers and Lions left to be played. 

Yale, even with the loss, is still 5-2 and in third place. From what TB saw of the Bulldogs Friday night, they won't be an easy out for anyone. 

Harvard had a big win over Penn Saturday, putting the Crimson at 4-3, ahead of both the Quakers and Cornell, who are both now 2-4. There are some huge games to be played as the season wears on, and this will be a big weekend at Jadwin.

For now, though, there's still a little time left to look backwards, to a game that was very entertaining, very hard-fought and, for a team that pushed to the limit, very impressive.

Friday, January 28, 2022

A Story Of Three Generations

TigerBlog received an email two weeks ago from Bill Agnew, Class of 1956, that resulted in the latest feature story he's written.

Agnew, one of three brothers who attended Princeton in the mid-1950s, was a football and baseball player who was coached by Charlie Caldwell in the fall and Eddie Donovan in the spring. Today he's retired and living in Hilton Head, after a long career in business and 14 years as a Princeton trustee.

The email that he sent TigerBlog basically said that he had seen the most recent episode of "Hard Cuts" and that a clip of current senior Ethan Wright jolted him a bit. It reminded him of John DeVoe, who was one of Agnew's roommates at Princeton and a standout basketball player under another great Tiger coach, Cappy Cappon.

DeVoe was Ethan Wright's grandfather, one that Wright never had a chance to meet after DeVoe passed away at the age of 34, back in 1968. DeVoe had been the driving force behind the birth of the Indiana Pacers in the American Basketball Association, a franchise that would win three titles in that league before being part of the merger with the NBA in 1976.

DeVoe, the team president, died of an undiagnosed heart ailment at courtside just as a Pacers' game was ending. Agnew had been friends with DeVoe at Princeton almost from Day 1, and they would live together as juniors and seniors. When he saw Wright on "Hard Cuts," he wanted to connect with him to tell him about his grandfather, and he first reached out to TigerBlog, who connected them.

There's a third generation to the story as well, as DeVoe's daughter and Wright's mother is Ellen DeVoe, one of the greatest women's players who has ever played at Princeton. She even held the record for points in a game at Princeton with 38 until Bella Alarie came along and twice got into the 40s. Ellen DeVoe finished her career with 1,290 points and 964 rebounds, a figure bettered only by two women and two men ever at Princeton.

TB spoke to all three principals for the story. You can read it HERE.

Wright, the current senior, has more than doubled his scoring average each season, going from 3.5 to 7.2 to 14.5 this year. His rebounding total has doubled from sophomore year, going from 3.8 to 7.6 this year.

In fact, Wright is fourth in the Ivy League in rebounding, despite being only 6-4, 190. He's also eight in the league in scoring.

Wright's mother was his first AAU coach, one who stressed the importance of rebounding. The lessons were not lost on her son, who had 18 against Minnesota earlier in the year. In fact, he's had six double figure rebounding games this year, and he's been in double figures in points in all six of those, as well as 14 times overall, with four 20-plus games mixed in. 

He's had some pretty impressive games, including 29 points and 10 rebounds against FDU, 24 and 10 against Oregon State and 17 and 13 in the most recent game, an 84-80 win at Dartmouth last weekend. 

He's been a key cog on the current Princeton team, one that is 5-0 in the Ivy League as it heads into its game tomorrow at home against Yale. The Bulldogs, at 3-1, are the only other league team with fewer than two losses.

Tip-off at Jadwin and on ESPN+ is at 4. Remember, the women's game in New Haven has been moved to tonight at 7, also on ESPN+.

When you look at the Ivy League men's basketball stats, you'll see that Princeton leads the league in three-pointers made per game and three-point percentage. Yale, on the other hand, is the best team in the league at defending the three.

Yale has the league's leading scorer in Azar Swain; Princeton has three of the top eight (Jaelin Llewellyn, Tosan Evbuomwan and Wright). 

If you're snowed in, make sure you check out this game. 

And also check out the feature story. It's a story of tragedy, but it's also a story about the enduring bond that is Princeton Athletics, and Princeton University in general.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Abby Chitwood

TigerBlog was sitting under the basket at the end of Jadwin Gym at which Princeton's women's baskeball team was shooting in the first half against Dartmouth.

As the final seconds of the Tigers' last possession ticked away, Abby Meyers had the ball, dribbling above the three-point line. From where he was sitting, TB had only one thought: Hoosiers.

This was just like the end of the movie. Meyers was playing Jimmy Chitwood. She might as well have looked over at the bench and said "I'll make it."

Okay, this wasn't the Indiana state championship game. That didn't matter. It also wasn't the end of the game. It was the end of the half (actually, there were 15 seconds left in the half). What happened next almost exactly from the movie.

Meyers saw the shot clock in front of her. When it went under five, she took a few dribbles and then shot. Just like in the movie, it perfectly swished through the net. It was almost like it was scripted, though it only took one take.

It made the halftime score 45-11, en route to a final score of 78-35. 

Meyers is sort of a real-life Jimmy Chitwood. She is a completely fearless offensive player, one who can shoot from the outside, has a mid-range game and can get to the basket. Yes, the more TB thinks about it, the more he likes the comparison.

Meyers played 23 minutes against Dartmouth and finished with 23 points, which makes the math easy. She is the Ivy League's leading scorer, averaging 18 per game, and she has been in double figures in each of the Tigers' first 17 games.

Her next chance to extend that streak comes up tomorrow night at 7 at Yale in a game that was originally supposed to be Saturday afternoon but has now been moved up due to the impending snowstorm.

It's a huge game in the Ivy League, between the 5-0 Tigers and the 5-1 Bulldogs. These are the top two defensive teams in the league, which gives a sense of what kind of game it could be. Yale is led by Camilla Emsbo, who 1) is fourth in the league in scoring and second in rebounding and 2) is the 6-5 identical twin sister of Princeton's Kira Emsbo.

Yale is less than a week away from a 63-53 win over Penn, a statement game for a Yale team that, along with Columbia, is looking to end the Tiger/Quaker dominance of Ivy League women's basketball.

In the last 11 seasons of Ivy women's hoops, Princeton has won eight championships and Penn has won four (there was one co-championship mixed in). Columbia and Yale, meanwhile, have combined for one Ivy women's basketball championship all-time (that was Yale's title in 1979).

All of this could change this year. Columbia is still unbeaten after its impressive 61-56 win over Penn, moving the Lions to 5-0 to keep pace with the Tigers. Those two meet a week from Saturday at Jadwin.

In fact Princeton still has two games against Yale and two games against Columbia, as well as one more to go against Penn. Harvard, in Kathy Delaney-Smith's final season after 40 years as head coach, is also in the mix, at least for an Ivy tournament slot, with a 3-3 league record, which now is good for fourth place in the league, ahead of 2-3 Penn.

TigerBlog spoke to Carla Berube, the Tiger head coach, about the win over Dartmouth and the upcoming game against Yale on this week's podcast. He also had on sophomore Ellie Mitchell, who is the Ivy League's leading rebounder, just ahead of Yale's Emsbo.

Mitchell is another dominant Princeton player from the Washington, D.C., area, along with Meyers and Bella Alarie, among others through the years. 

TB asked Mitchell about her tenacity when it comes to rebounding, what the secrets are, what it was like to go all 40 minutes against Texas and a few other things that give you a pretty good sense of who she is. You can listen to it HERE.

What she is this week is the one who most has to contend with Emsbo. That'll be an interesting matchup in an interesting game. 

It's not even the midway point of the Ivy basketball season, so there is no championship to be won this weekend. Even knowing that, this does figure to be a good one.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Catching Up II

TigerBlog yesterday combined a few items into one entry under the heading "Catching Up."

And now, just one day later, he again has some things to catch up on.

* As he mentioned yesterday, TB is writing a series of feature stories as part of the celebration of the major milestones in Princeton Rowing. The first two were posted yesterday.

One of them was on Amy Richlin and is an excerpt from TB's book on the first 50 years of women's athletics at Princeton. Richlin is the dynamic personality who wouldn't take no for an answer when it came to allowing women to row back when coeducation first began. 

TB first came to speak with her to investigate the legend that said that C. Otto von Kienbusch, for whom the top senior female athlete award is named, was an opponent of women at Princeton until the first women's rowing captain went and talked him into being a supporter. It turned out not to be the case, but there wouldn't been women's rowing as early as there was without Richlin, that first captain.

You can read about her HERE.

The other feature TB did was recommended by men's heavyweight coach Greg Hughes. He suggested looking deeper into the story of Gordon Sikes Class of 1916, for whom the Sikes Room in the Shea Rowing Center is named. As it turns out, Sikes suffered from polio as a child, which left him unable to walk without braces and crutches for the rest of his life. 

Despite that, he attended Princeton, was the coxwain for the men's rowing team and went on to be the first lightweight coach, as well as running the forerunner of the career services office for 45 years. When he left Princeton, no one had worked at the University longer.

You can read all about him HERE.

* Mark Kovler was a first-team All-American lacrosse midfielder who scored 34 goals as a senior in 2009. He was recently inducted into the Potomac chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Michael Biles was another Princeton middie, one whose career was hampered by injuries. Biles graduated in 2007.

Here is something that Kovler tweeted Monday night:

Kovler's last game was a 6-4 loss to Cornell in the 2009 NCAA quarterfinals. It remains one of the tougher losses that TB has witnessed in all of his time here. Kovler had one of the goals in that game, one week after he had five goals and one assist in a 10-7 opening round win over UMass.

After the loss to Cornell, then-Tiger coach Bill Tierney was quoted as saying this: "Sometimes in athletics, it doesn't work out the way you want." 

Maybe it didn't work out the way Princeton wanted it that day in 2009. Still, it's long been established that Princeton Athletics is about the four-year experience and then the way it prepares those who go through it for the rest of their lives.

In this case, it's clear that in Princeton Athletics, this worked out exactly how it was supposed to. How impressive are those guys? 

* The sport of skeleton was first contested in the Olympic Games in 1928 and then again in 1948. After that, it wasn't on the schedule again until 2002. 

Skeleton is almost the opposite of luge. In skeleton, the rider is face-down, head-first. In luge, it's face-up, feet-first.

What they have in common is that they are both on ice and they both require, among other things, total fearlessness on the part of the rider.

Princeton will be represented at the upcoming Olympics in the sport, as former Tiger track and field athlete Nathan Crumpton will be competing for American Samoa. It is quite likely that Crumpton, who finished fifth on the International Cup tour in 2021, will be very much in the medal mix. 

Whether he medals or not, Crumpton is already part of history, having now qualified for both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games after having run the 100 meters in Tokyo for American Samoa last summer.

Crumpton, when he competes in China, will become just the 140th athlete to have reached the Olympics in both.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Catching Up

So much has happened since last week, so let TigerBlog catch up a bit:

* One of TB's all-time favorite musicians was lost with the death of Meat Loaf last Thursday. Meat Loaf was a bit of a larger-than-life figure whose 1977 album "Bat Out Of Hell" is the only album every released on which TigerBlog likes every song. This goes for every other album of all time, from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band all the way down. 

"Bat Out Of Hell" was pure genius in every way, starting with the amazingly original songs (written by Jim Steinman, who was the brother of longtime Columbia sports information director Bill Steinman) and because of the way Meat Loaf put every ounce of energy he could into every note he sang. The result was an album that sold 45 million copies, making it the No. 4 most-selling album ever, and stayed on the charts for nine years. 

As Meat Loaf sang: "Oh, baby, you're the only thing in this whole world, that's pure and good and right.
And wherever you are and wherever you go, there's always gonna be some light."

* The Princeton men's hockey team played No. 1 Quinnipiac last Tuesday in Hamden. This is from the story on

Princeton's most recent game before venturing to Hamden came on December 11, with pauses both expected – the annual break for exams and the holidays – and unexpected – a six-game halt due to COVID-19 protocols – keeping the Tigers away from game action for over a month.

Predictably, that game did not go well, as the Bobcats won 9-0. So what happened next for Princeton? Well, what happened next was character-revealing.

Just three days later, Princeton found itself again on the road against another Top 10 team, this time No. 8 Cornell. What happened? Princeton 5, Cornell 4, that's what.

Princeton then came back the next night at tied Colgate 2-2. That's going from a 9-0 loss to a three-point weekend in a matter of 72 hours, with some long bus rides mixed in.

That's not easy to do. It's not easy to be off for as long as the Tigers were and then come back into that crucible. As TB said, that's character-revealing.

Oh, and Cornell beat Quinnipiac Saturday night after the Princeton loss. 

Next up for Princeton will be Quinnipiac again, this time at home tomorrow at 7, and then Brown at home Friday at 1. 

* It's possible that you can come up with a better NFL game than the Chiefs-Bills game Sunday night, won by the Chiefs 42-36 in overtime. The list, though, would not be a long one. And the last few minutes of regulation? That would be hard to top.

What you can't come up with is a better four-game playoff weekend. The first three were decided on field goals (by the visiting team, no less) on the final play of regulation, and the fourth was the Chiefs-Bill epic, in which there were 25 points scored in the final two minutes. All four games had a made field goal on the final play of regulation, including the wildly clutch 49-yarder by KC's Harrison Butker to force the OT.

Both Bills QB Josh Allen and Kansas City QB Pat Mahomes were ridiculous, taking their teams down the field quickly after the other scored to seemingly salt away the game.

Even a touchdown with 13 seconds to play proved to be leaving too much time on the clock. And yes, a squib kick would have been the smart move probably, but hey, what if that goes out of bounds and you give away great field position. TB can't really fault Bill coach Sean McDermott for that call. He can fault the Bills for not defending better. 

Oh, and the overtime rules in the NFL? They're awful, but football is just not a game that lends itself to an easy overtime solution. 

* TigerBlog has a few feature stories coming this week, including the first two in a series that will commemorate the year-long celebrations of the rowing programs and their major anniversaries. 

For instance, this is the 100th anniversary of the men's lightweight rowing program. TB's first feature will tell the story of Gordon Sikes of the Class of 1916, who was the first coach of the lightweight program. If the name is familiar, it's because there is a Gordon Sikes Room in the Shea Rowing Center.

For the women, TB will be sharing the story of Amy Richlin, who started the women's program through the sheer force of her will 50 years ago. Her story is an excerpt from "I Can Do Anything," the book on the first 50 years of women's athletics at Princeton. To give you a sense of her place n Princeton history, Richlin is Chapter 3 of the book (which you can buy HERE).

* The women's fencing team started the week ranked third in the country. Then the Tigers went out and had a 5-0 run through the Penn Duals, but it's how they beat that makes it so impressive: No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Columbia, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 6 Northwestern.

That's a bit eye-opening with the Ivy League championships and NCAA events on the horizon. 

* And then there's Andrei Iosivas. The extraordinarily talented all-around athlete, who was an All-Ivy League wide receiver who was a threat to score every time he touched the ball, set the Ivy League record for the indoor Heptathlon Saturday at Navy.

Every time Iosivas competes, it begs one question: Is there any sport where he couldn't excel if he devoted himself to it? TB will answer that with a resounding no.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Beyond The Resume

TigerBlog can't begin to guess how many people he's interviewed in his career, whether on the radio, for a podcast or for a story he's writing. 

The common theme has been to let the person answer the question and then follow up on what is said, diving into one subject before moving on to another. He has never once gone into an interview with his questions already written.

As such, the No. 1 piece of advice that TigerBlog would give to someone who is conducting an interview would be to not have a list of prepared questions.

You can have a sense of where you want the discussion to go and what subjects you want to cover. That's all good. It's when you script one question after another that you stop focusing on what the subject of the interview says and start focusing on what your notes say you have to ask next.

To that end, when Ford Family Director of Athletics John Mack asked him last week about his own upcoming interview with 11-time Olympic track and field medalist Allyson Felix, TB gave him the same advice. 

The conversation between Mack and Felix was the keynote address of Wintersession. The talk was entitled "Beyond The Resume," and it brought Felix and Mack to the stage at Richardson Auditorium Saturday night for about an hour.

This is not an easy setting. In almost all of the interviews that TB has done (somewhere north of 99 percent), there has not been an audience who was watching live. It can be a bit intimidating.

Despite that, the talk between Mack and Felix was exactly what the audience wanted it to be. Mack asked a series of insightful question – Felix would often pause after he finished to say "that's a great question" - and then she would give a thoughtful answer. Instead of ending the topic right there, Mack would dive deeper and follow up before moving on to a different subject.

As a result, there were no awkward pauses while they spoke, and the hour flew by. The last 10 minutes or so were devoted to questions from the audience, which was made up largely of student-athletes, especially track and field athletes.

It didn't hurt that Felix has such an incredible story to tell. She has competed in five different Olympic Games, beginning in 2004 and running (literally) through the Games of last summer in Tokyo. Along the way she's won those 11 medals, which are the most of any American track and field athlete (male or female), the most of any female track and field athlete from any country and and the second-most of any track and field athlete, behind only Paavo Nurmi, a Finnish distance runner who competed in the 1920s.

Felix began her Olympic career as an 18 year old, winning silver in the 200 meters. In Tokyo she won bronze in the 400 meters and gold on the 4x400 relay team. In between she also ran the 100 (and on the 4x100 relay), a sprinting range that apparently in the track and field world is a very difficult task.

That was one of the highlights of the night. Mack asked Felix about going from the 100 and 200 to the 400, and she said you had to be "crazy" to want to run the 400. Did she know that Mack himself was an accomplished 400 meter runner? 

The fact that Mack was such a great track athlete certainly helped in his questions, especially when he asked her "who is the one competitor you loved to beat?" He also just had an innate feel for what it means to be a track athlete and could really appreciate what it means to be able to compete at that level for as long as Felix has.

Mack also asked Felix about competing after giving birth to her daughter, as well as the business ramifications that she had to deal with after becoming a mother. She also mentioned her difficult pregnancy, how nervous she'd get prior to races, the emphasis her family put on education and how she first started running track in ninth grade as a way to make new friends, some of whom are among her best friends to date.

All in all, it was a great event. Certainly everyone in the audience loved to hear from her.

Maybe the best moment was when Felix was asked if she had a mantra that she has used. It turned out to be a really apt response.

"I can do hard things," she said.

She certainly can. And has for a long, long time.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Conversation With Maddie

TigerBlog's starts your Friday with a trivia question, the answer to which will be at the end: 

The Princeton men's basketball team currently has three players averaging at least 14 points per game (Jaelin Llewellyn at 15.9, Tosan Evbuomwan at 14.7 and Ethan Wright at 14.4). When was the last time the men's basketball team had three players average at least 14 points per game for an entire season?

Meanwhile, TB's weekly "Conversation With Carla" had a different look to it this week.

Or do podcasts not have "looks?" Would that be "sound?"

The different sound this week was the inclusion of the voice of a player. TB will be adding a player each week for the rest of the season, which hopefully extends well into March. 

For this week, TB spoke with Maddie Plank, who missed her freshman season due to injury and then didn't get to play last year due to the Covid pandemic. This year she is starting to get more playing time and more confidence as the year goes along.

Plank speaks about her experiences of being injured, what she learned while being on the sideline and how she spent her Covid year. She also talks about her cross country bicycle ride with men's basketball player Charlie Bagin from this past summer.

From the conversation with Maddie, you can see (hear, actually) how much energy she has and how much zest she has, for basketball and for life in general. It's not surprising that she dove into the cross country bike ride the way she did. It takes physical stamina of course to do something like that, but if you don't have the right attitude, you won't make it past Pennsylvania.

TB wanted Plank to be the first player guest on the podcast, largely because of how much interest he took in that bike ride, something he wished he'd done 35 or 40 years ago. You can hear Plank (and of course, head coach Carla Berube) on this week's conversation HERE.

In the new world of Ivy League basketball, each team in the league has only one game this weekend. In the case of Princeton, that means that the women are home and the men are away against Dartmouth, with tip-off in Jadwin and in Leede Arena both at 2, both on ESPN+.

There is also only one game apiece on the schedule next weekend, when Princeton plays Yale (women away, men home) on Saturday. The Ivy schedule this year is spread over 10 weeks, as opposed to the six or eight it has in the past, with the travel-partner format.

As part of the podcast, Plank spoke about the difference it makes, in terms of preparations, both physical and mental. You can go to the 22-minute mark to hear what she has to say about it. If you don't feel like listening, she lays out some plusses and minuses that are interesting coming from a player's point of view.

Also in the new world of Covid, there are a few postponements that will be made up along the way, such as Dartmouth-Yale Sunday and Penn-Columbia Wednesday on the women's side and Columbia-Yale on Tuesday on the men's side Tuesday.

Princeton enters the weekend unbeaten on the men's side and the women's side. They're also both one of two unbeaten teams in the standings.

The women are currently 4-0, followed by Columbia at 3-0 (the Lions are also 12-3 overall). Princeton's first game against Columbia was postponed and will be made up Feb. 23 in New York, which means that the first meeting of the year between the two is still two weeks away at Jadwin.

Yale (3-1) and Penn (2-1) are next up. The other four all have at least three league losses already as the eight teams chase four Ivy tournament slots.

Princeton is also 4-0 on the men's side, and there is also a 2-0 team, in this case Yale. Harvard is 2-1, and then comes Penn and Columbia with two losses each. The chase for the four tournament spots here would appear to be the most competitive top to bottom since the format began in 2017, and there are no easy dates on the schedule.

The game in New Hampshire tomorrow matches the No. 2 scoring offense team in the league (Princeton at 80.8 points per game) against the No. 2 scoring defense team in the league (Dartmouth at 69.3 points per game).

Finally, the answer to the trivia question:

It was in 1968-69, when Geoff Petrie averaged 20.8, John Hummer averaged 15.8 and Chris Thomforde averaged 14.8.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Field Hockey In Chile, Lacrosse Here

When TigerBlog tells you the score was 14-0, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

The end of the first quarter of a football game maybe? Certainly not field hockey, right? 

Well, yesterday in Santiago, Chile, that was the score of Game 1 of the Pan American Cup field hockey tournament, as Canada took down Peru 14-0. It was also almost the score of the second game, in which the United States defeated Trinidad and Tobago 16-0.

If you're wondering, the weather forecast for Santiago for the foreseeable future is sunny skies and temps in the 80s. That's Chile, not chilly, and TigerBlog assumes that line has been used about a million times.

It was a big day for Princeton at the field hockey tournament yesterday. Elise Wong scored twice for Canada in its win, and Beth Yeager had three goals - including the first of the game in the first minute - for the United States team.

Both Yeager and Wong earned first-team All-American honors at Princeton, Yeager this past year and Wong in 2018. Yeager, in fact, became Princeton's first freshman to be a first-team All-American this past fall after she set the program record for goals by a freshman with 16. She was also the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. 

There's a third Princetonian at the tournament, Julianna Tornetta, who was a two-time All-American at Princeton. 

Up next in the round robin part of the event is a game Friday between the U.S. and Canada in Pool B. Goal differential, by the way, could come into play when it comes to tiebreakers. At stake for the top three finishers is a spot in the World Cup this coming summer. 

In other Princeton athletic news, there will be 14 Princeton teams who will compete in 25 different events this weekend. It's already the start of men's volleyball season and women's water polo season, and the spring sports will be here soon enough, even if that Santiago weather doesn't figure to be here for awhile.

Yesterday marked one month until the start of lacrosse season, as the men will host Monmouth on Feb. 19. As of yesterday, you can see the game times on the men's schedule page of the website. 

If you don't feel like clicking on the link HERE, Princeton begins the men's season with the game against the Hawks and then a game the following Tuesday at 5 against Binghamton. From there Princeton has back-to-back games at Maryland and Georgetown, followed by a home game against Rutgers. That is certainly a challenge.

The women don't play until one day after the men, which means that their opener is one month from today, a noon start at Virginia. This season, of course, is the last one as head coach at Princeton for Chris Sailer, whose resume already includes three NCAA championships and a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Sailer's final season at Princeton begins with that game at UVa, and it will be followed by the home opener against Temple on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Ivy opener is against Cornell on March 5. There is also a spring break trip to California to take on USC and San Diego State.

It's been awhile since the Princeton lacrosse teams have played. TB is pretty excited at the idea that it's just a month away.

The women are ranked 13th in the preseason. The men are unranked. Then again, they were unranked in 2020, and it took five games to reach No. 2 in the country. 

TB is okay with the fact that Princeton's men have gotten very little attention in the preseason. Just as in 2020, the opportunity is there to get into the rankings when it starts to count.

On the women's side, Kyla Sears enters her senior year with 139 career goals and 221 career points. She is 59 goals and 64 points away from the school records for both, held by Olivia Hompe.

And all of that starts in another month. Yes, it'll be peak crossover season, and yes, it'll be really busy and a lot of work. 

Still, TB is looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

New Parents, A New Record And A Big Win

As TigerBlog said yesterday, there are a few things he'd like to mention this week.

He starts with congratulations to Kat Sharkey and Tom Schreiber on the birth of their first child, Lillian Grace.

Off the top of his head, TB can only think of one other time where a von Kienbusch Award winner (Sharkey) married a Roper Trophy winner (Schreiber), and that is when Katie Reinprect married Taylor Fedun. Is he missing anyone?

TigerBlog is rooting for Lillian Grace to grow up and score 108 goals in some sport at Princeton. Why 108? That's because Schreiber scored 106 for the men's lacrosse team, and Sharkey scored 107 for the field hockey team.

In fairness to Schreiber, he also added 94 assists, and his resume includes professional and world championships, professional MVP awards and the game-winning goal with one second left in the most recent World Championship, in 2018 in Israel.

For her part, Sharkey was an NCAA champion and an Olympian. Between the two of them, they earned the maximum eight first-team All-League selections. They also were both three-time first-team All-Americans.

How many kids can say that about their parents? That's a lot of athleticism being passed on to the next generation. 

It's also a lot of another quality that you can't get enough of: Sharkey and Schreiber are two of the nicest people you can ever hope to meet. Again, congratulations to the two of them. 

What else? TB goes from husband and wife to brothers.

This past Friday night in Las Vegas, Princeton's and Sondre and Simen Guttormsen competed at the World Pole Vault Summit, and they both had big-time performances.

Sondre set the Ivy League record by clearing 5.71 meters. Simon had been the previous record-holder, having cleared 5.51 meters earlier this season. Simon bettered that mark too, going 5.61 in Las Vegas.

Just to give you a little perspective on those numbers, the NCAA champion outdoors last spring was Branson Ellis of Stephen F. Austin, who went 5.70. That means that Sondre - who competed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo for their native Norway last summer - would have won the NCAA championship with his performance last week. Simon would have been third, behind Sondre and Ellis and ahead of Kentucky's Keaton Daniel, who vaulted 5.55 meters. 

If you're wondering, 5.71 meters is 18 feet, 7.3 inches. The Guttormsen brothers are two athletes to definitely keep your eye on, in much the same way that Donn Cabral was when he ran the steeplechase at Princeton. 

In other Princeton news, there was the wrestling team's 20-18 win over Arizona State Sunday afternoon. That was sixth-ranked Arizona State, by the way.

The win was the third time in three seasons that Princeton has defeated at Top 10 team. The Tigers are also the defending Ivy League wrestling champion, having ended Cornell's nearly two-decade run atop the league standings in the 2020 season (earning Princeton's 500th Ivy title in the process).

TB knows he's said this before, but the job that Chris Ayres and his staff (Sean Gray, Joe Dubuque, Nate Jackson) have done is as great as anything any other coaches have ever done at Princeton. Starting with a team that couldn't field a full lineup, they have built the Tigers into a factor on the national level.

It's extraordinary.

The Tigers open their Ivy League season Saturday against Columbia. The biggest date on the calendar is Feb. 5, when Cornell comes to Jadwin, but that is hardly the only big match left. In fact, that match is followed by a Feb. 11 trip to Lehigh and then a home date with Penn the following day. It doesn't get any easier after that, as it's Princeton-Rutgers on Feb. 16 in Piscataway.

The EIWA championships are the first weekend in March at Cornell.

And those are some of the things that TB wanted to talk about this week. A birth. A record. A huge win.

It's always good when there's good news.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Charlie Volker, Olympian

There are so many things TigerBlog wants to talk about, and he'll get to all of them this week.

For today, though, he has had to shift on the fly, after the news came out yesterday that Charlie Volker had made the U.S. Olympic bobsled team.

Volker had an amazing athletic career at Princeton before graduating in 2019. His time as a Tiger saw him win seven team championships between football and track and field; individually, he was an Ivy League champion in both indoor and outdoor track and a first-team All-Ivy League football player. 

It wasn't until after he graduated that he was introduced to the sport of bobsledding. And now he's heading to the Olympic Games in Beijing as one of six push athletes for the U.S. sleds.

It's an incredible story. It speaks so much about Volker and the dedication he's shown, his work ethic and his spirit of adventure. 

TigerBlog first caught up with Volker a little more than a year ago, after he'd been immersed in the sport for a few months. This is what Volker said then: 

“I’m not someone who can sit behind a desk. I want to live an adventurous life.”

He also said this:

“Bobsled is track for the first 50 meters and football for the rest. The key is to push the lights out of the sled and then load cleanly. How you jump in the sled has to be practiced over and over. How low you get and how locked in you can be, and how little you can get thrown around.”

It's proven to be a perfect match.

Volker learned the basics of the sport in Lake Placid and has spent two winters competing, mostly in Europe. His goal all along has been to reach the Olympic Games, and now he has.

Princeton has a long history of competing in the Olympic Games, dating back to the first modern Games in 1896, where four Princeton track and field athletes combined to win seven medals. Since then, the overwhelming amount of the Tigers' success on that stage has come in the Summer edition.

To date, Princeton has had five of its athletes win Olympic medals in the winter, and all of those have come in ice hockey (this does not include the three speed skating medals that Joey Cheek won and the snowboarding gold that Chloe Kim won).

Volker is the third Princeton varsity athlete who is heading to these Winter Games, after Claire Thompson and Sarah Fillier were named to the Canadian women's hockey team. Volker is Princeton's first Olympic bobsledder ever.

Why has Volker been able to go from novice to world-class athlete in such a short time? It's because he has the perfect physical and mental makeup for the sport.

Maybe the key lies in what Volker told TB yesterday, after the team was announced:

"I like the Drew Brees quote “You can accomplish anything in life if you’re willing to work for it.”

And there you have it. Ask either of his Princeton coaches - track and field coach Fred Samara or football coach Bob Surace - and they'll tell you all about how hard he works. 

The results speak for themselves. Volker has gone from having 28 rushing touchdowns in his last two years at Princeton while also winning the Ivy 60-meter dash indoors and setting the Ivy record in the 4x100 outdoors to the U.S. Olympic bobsled team.

Volker finished his Princeton career with 1,994 rushing yards, which leaves him in eighth place all time. He also rushed for 32 touchdowns, fourth-best at Princeton, including 14 each as a junior and senior. He earned first-team All-Ivy honors as a senior in 2018, the year Princeton went 10-0.

The Volker family, by the way, has 34 rushing touchdowns at Princeton, as his younger brother John had two (and two more receiving, including a huge one against Yale) this past season as a freshman, when he also helped the Tigers to an Ivy championship.

As for Charlie, how did he react at the news of being an Olympian?

"It was nothing crazy," he says. "I guess it hasn't hit me yet."

Oh, and there's one other thing that he said that goes a pretty long way to defining who he is:

"My goal was never just to get there," he said. "I'm looking forward to doing well there."

And with that, TigerBlog wished him "Cool Runnings."

What else would you say to an Olympic bobsledder?

Monday, January 17, 2022

Martin Luther King Day Basketball

The National Basketball Association first started playing matinee games on Martin Luther King Day in 1986.

The first game to feature NBA players in honor of Dr. King came much earlier, back in 1968, the year in which he was assassinated. In fact, on the day after the assassination, which happened on April 4 of that year, Oscar Robertson began to organize a special exhibition game that would be played outdoors in New York City on Aug. 15.

According to an AP story, that game included players like Wilt Chamberlain, Lenny Wilkens, Dave Bing, Dave DeBusschere, Willis Reed and Walt Bellamy. That game raised $90,000 in support of Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

If you're too young to know who Oscar Robertson is, the concept of the "triple-double" originated with him. The Big O, as he was known when he played, was the first player ever to average a triple-double for a full season (he did it in 1970-71 with the Milwaukee Bucks), and to date only Russell Westbrook has matched the accomplishment.

Robertson won an Olympic gold medal in 1960 and an NBA title with the Bucks in 1970-71. He led the nation in scoring all three of his varsity seasons at the University of Cincinnati, where he averaged 33.8 points per game, which is third all-time behind Pete Maravich (44.2 per game at LSU, yes, that's not a typo) and Austin Carr (34.6 at Notre Dame).

Bill Bradley, by the way, ranks 16th at 30.2, just behind Larry Bird.

The bottom line is that if you make a list of the 15 best basketball players ever and didn't include Oscar Robertson, then your list has no credibility. 

It's definitely worth reading that AP story for more of an understanding of what Dr. King meant to the players of his time. And to get an understanding of what race relations were like in the 1950s and 1960s. And, in honor of the day, it's worth reading more about who Dr. King was and the impact he had on America.

The NBA will have 12 games today, on Martin Luther King Day. It's become a January staple, including home games in Atlanta (where King lived) and Memphis (where he was killed).

This year, the Ivy League will be debuting its own MLK Day tradition, with a full schedule of men's and women's games. Each team will be playing its former travel partner, which means that there will be two matchups between Harvard and Dartmouth, Yale and Brown, Cornell and Columbia and, of course, Princeton and Penn.

The women's game between the Tigers and Quakers tips at 2 at the Palestra. The men's game is at 4 at Jadwin. Both games are on ESPN+.

The Princeton and Penn men and women all come into the game having won on Saturday. 

The Princeton and Penn women combined to win by a total of 57 points, taking down Dartmouth and Brown on the road. Ivy League women's basketball has belonged to Princeton and Penn the last 12 year, as Princeton has won eight championships and Penn has won four (they shared one), while nobody else has won any.

They're both unbeaten in the league so far this year, though it is early. They're joined this year by another team that is currently unbeaten, Columbia.

Princeton and Penn are built around their defenses, and they rank 1-2 in the league in points allowed per game (Princeton at 54.3, Penn at 56.7).

Penn's men won 78-68 over Dartmouth Saturday, while the Princeton men won a tight battle against Brown 76-74. Tosan Evbuomwan continued to be simply dominant, with 21 points and eight assists against the Bears, and he now leads the league in assists by a startling 2.2 per game over the next-best total.

Princeton's men are 3-0 in the Ivy League race, and Penn comes into the game at 3-1. These two have been by far the most successful teams in the history of the Ivy League, and their rivalry has been as good as it has gotten between any two teams in any sport in league history. 

Every time they play is special. 

And that's your Martin Luther King Day Princeton basketball preview. It's a day with a special history in the sport, and it's great to see that the Ivy League is now involved.

Friday, January 14, 2022

A Look At The Weekend

To date, there has been one documented "triple-double" in Princeton basketball history.

That accomplishment belongs to Leslie Robinson, who went for 10 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a 79-44 win over Brown back in 2018. 

TigerBlog used the word "documented" because it's very likely that there have been others, predating when assists were an official stat (it wasn't until 1974-75 when those numbers were first kept). As TB has written before, Bill Bradley very likely had quite a few games where he had double figures in assists, and since he averaged 30.2 points and 12.1 rebounds for his career, it seems probable that he had his share of what was then not something that was tracked.

In fact, if you had gone up to Bradley after a game in the 1960s and said "you just had a triple-double," even a Rhodes Scholar might have been a bit confused as to what you meant. It's the same reaction you would have gotten when you pointed out that more than 55 years later, his feats at Princeton would regularly be mentioned in a blog on the internet.

There are probably others who had triple-doubles as well, on both the men's side and the women's side. TB could think of a bunch of pretty good candidates. 

Still, the only one who has actually done it is Robinson. By the way, Abby Meyers, then a freshman, scored 18 points in that game, which just happens to be her season average this year.

Meyers had 18 more against Towson Wednesday night in a 68-54 win. In that game, Kaitlyn Chen had 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds. 

Does she have a game with three more assists and five more rebounds in the future? Maybe. She's a strong candidate for a triple-double, TB would guess. 

If you're wondering about Bella Alarie, her career high in assists was six. If you're wondering about Carlie Littlefield, her career highs in rebounding (nine) and assists (eight) came up short of double figures. 

Clearly this isn't easy to pull off. 

If you're looking for the most likely current Princeton basketball player to get there, you might want to go with Tosan Evbuomwan on the men's team. 

Tosan's averages this year are 14.6 points, six rebounds and 5.3 assists. Like Littlefield, he has yet to have a double figure rebounding or assist game, but 1) he's gotten close on both accounts and 2) it wouldn't shock anyone if he did both several times each before he graduates.

Just something to think about anyway in advance of a weekend with some pretty exciting events on the horizon, even with some Covid cancellations.

The basketball teams both play Brown (men at home tomorrow at 2, women at Brown tomorrow at 4). Both Princeton teams are 2-0 in the league heading into the games, which will be followed by Martin Luther King Day games against Penn (again the men will be home and the women away).

As far as excitement goes, maybe the one to circle is the one furthest from campus, in Las Vegas, to be exact. That's where the Guttormsen brothers - Simon and Sondre - will compete in the World Pole Vault Summit. Sondre, you recall, competed in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year, and both of them are world class.

The rest of the men's and women's track and field teams will be in Annapolis. It's even the start of men's volleyball season.

The women's squash team takes on its rival Harvard Sunday at noon in a rematch of the 2020 national championship match, after taking on Dartmouth tomorrow. The men also take on Dartmouth and Harvard at home.

There is also another huge wrestling match in Jadwin Gym Sunday, when No. 6 Arizona State comes to town. The women's ice hockey team is at RPI tomorrow (its game at Union and the men's two games against Dartmouth and Harvard have been postponed).

Tennis season also begins, with the women away and the men at home. The complete schedule is HERE.

Keep in mind, with the Covid attendance restrictions, you have to be a Princeton student, faculty member or staff member in the testing protocol to be able to gain entrance. As TB has said all week, the ESPN+  productions are a great way to follow along if you're a fan.

You can watch the Tigers and have the NFL playoffs on TV (muted of course).

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tigers vs. Tigers

So how many teams has the Princeton women's basketball team played who were also nicknamed "Tigers?"

Obviously one of them was last night, when Princeton hosted Towson. How many other Tigers have there been?

The answer is two. Can you name them? TigerBlog will give you a chance to figure it out.

Had TB spent all of this time at one of the other "Tiger" schools, he could still have been referring to himself as "TigerBlog." In fact, he did a quick search yesterday and found there were a few others who wrote their own TigerBlogs, though none of them have done so in recent years and none of them stuck with it for more than a few entries.

One of them was from East Texas Baptist University, which had a few entries before TB started doing this here every day. Here's what was one entry from 2007:

One of the toughest parts of being an SID is the need to try and make everything seem positive with every bit of news released out of the department. No matter how bad the news may be, the good SID will always, always be able to put a good spin on it.

He was spot on there.  

It appears there are 72 four-year colleges who have the nickname "Tigers." The first of those 72, by the way, was Princeton, back in the 1880s. 

The only more common nicknames among four-year colleges are Eagles (118) and Hawks (106). As for the other Tigers that Princeton has played in addition to Towson, it has been Missouri and Pacific.

Princeton is 1-1 against Missouri (loss in 1998, win in 2019) and 0-1 against Pacific (loss in 1996).

As for Towson, Princeton is now 3-1 against those Tigers after the 68-54 win last night. Abby Meyers led Princeton with 18 points - her average - and Kaitlyn Chen had a huge game with 14 points (12 in the fourth quarter), five rebounds and seven assists.

It was the kind of game Tiger, er, Princeton head coach Carla Berube loves, one where her team held the opponent way, way, way below its season average. In the case of Towson, the season average prior to last night was 80 (or, to be exact, 79.6). All of those points, coupled with the fact that Towson allowed only 58 per game, led to an 11-1 record for Towson heading into Jadwin - which made the win 1) even more impressive and 2) an important one for a potential NCAA at-large bid, as Towson's NET was 71.

There was an extraordinary graphic during the ESPN+ broadcast (another great performance from Jon Mozes and Dei Lynam) that pointed out that in each of the last eight seasons, Berube's teams have allowed few than 50 points per game. That's ridiculous. 

The two words that Mozes said most were "tough shot," and that's how it was - every shot was defended. Nothing came easily. The No. 1 thing you need to play great defense is effort, and Princeton certainly gives it every time the ball is on its side of the court.

When you defend like that, you can weather rough shooting nights and scoreless stretches in ways you can't if your game is trading baskets. When you grab offensive rebounds the way Princeton can (18 last night), it makes you even better. 

The game was tight through three quarters, which ended with the Tigers (the visiting ones) up 41-40. Princeton used a 13-0 run to built the lead to 12, but it was a bit shaky after both Grace Stone and Ellie Mitchell fouled out. 

Considering that in the last game played on that court, Princeton's men rallied from 18 down in the second half to win, and considering that Towson cut a 12-point deficit to five after Mitchell fouled out, this one was never really comfortable until Towson missed some big free throws and the Tigers built it back to double figures.

Princeton has little time to reflect on what happened against the Tigers last night, since there are Bears and Quakers on the immediate horizon. The game last night is followed by two road trips this weekend, to Brown Saturday (4) and then to Penn Monday (2) in a Martin Luther King Day matinee.

There are currently three Ivy unbeaten teams: Princeton (2-0) and Columbia and Penn (both 1-0). 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A Busy News Day

Suppose, for a moment, that you wrote a blog every day about Princeton Athletics.

Where would you start today? There was some big news that broke yesterday, and there's a big women's basketball game today.

For instance, it was announced yesterday that Princeton will be represented by two players on the Canadian women's Olympic hockey team. The MLS draft was held, and senior Kevin O'Toole was selected in the second round, with the 34th overall pick, by NYCFC.

Those are both huge stories.

How about this: TigerBlog will mention the women's basketball game and then get back to the other news. 

The Princeton women will take on Towson this evening at 6 at Jadwin Gym. With the current attendance limitations, only faculty, staff and students in the University testing protocol will be admitted. As a result, you definitely want to watch this one on ESPN+ with the great Jon Mozes and great Dei Lynam.

This game is the second of a four-games-in-10-days stretch and the only one of those games that isn't an Ivy League game. In fact, it's a rare non-league game after the first week of January, though this might become more normal with the new Ivy League schedule that has weekends with one game, not two.

If you don't feel like going back through the women's basketball year-by-year results, do you want to know when the last time Princeton women's basketball played a non-league game after it opened its Ivy season? You have to go back to 2004 (unless you count the NCAA tournament, in which case it's happened a lot in the last 12 years).

The opponent tonight is not just a schedule filler. These Tigers (the Towson ones) are 11-1 on the year with a NET of 71 and some really, really impressive wins on their resume. It should be a really good one.

Whatever happens tonight, it'll be a quick turnaround for Princeton, who gets on a bus Friday to play at Brown Saturday and then comes back to make a shorter trip, to Penn for the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day game.

If you want more on the women's basketball team, click HERE (game notes) and HERE (Carla Berube podcast).

And that's the game tonight.

As for the other news yesterday, Sarah Fillier and Claire Thompson were named to the Canadian women's hockey Olympic team, which sort of guarantees them either a gold or silver medal. This will be the seventh time there has been a women's Olympic ice hockey tournament, and Canada currently stands at four gold medals and two silvers. 

The United States has won the other two golds, along with three silvers and a bronze. The only time Canada and the United States have not met in the final was back in 2002, the second tournament, when Sweden defeated the U.S. in the semifinals before losing to Canada in the final.

Fillier and Thompson were teammates on Princeton's ECAC championship team in 2020, Fillier's sophomore year and Thompson's senior year. They were also teammates on the Canadian team last summer that won the gold at the World Championships. They've been playing together on the Canadian team all fall.

The Games in China begin Feb. 2. The first game for Canada is the next day, against Switzerland, in Group A. The championship game will be Feb. 17.

Fillier and Thompson are the first two Princetonians to be assured of being in the Winter Olympics. There will almost surely be others to follow. It's an exciting time.

It was also exciting to hear the news about O'Toole, who led Princeton to a 7-0-0 men's soccer record last fall while earning the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year award for the second time. 

This is from the story:  

"Princeton Soccer is thrilled for Kevin and his family," said head coach Jim Barlow. "It has been his dream to play professional soccer after his time at Princeton. He put that dream on hold for a year to come back to his team and he led us remarkably during our run to an undefeated Ivy League season and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. He's been a first-class player, student and leader during his Tiger career and it's awesome to see his efforts rewarded with a chance to play for NYCFC."

Over his career, O'Toole appeared in 58 matches, scoring 15 goals and adding 18 assists -- the fourth-most assists in a career by a Princeton player.

TB wrote about O'Toole late in the season. He learned to play soccer in Poland, where he lived for two formative years, and he came back to Princeton after taking a Covid gap year to make that run that the team eventually would. He is an outstanding young man, the exact kind you want representing your athletic department.

Now he has a chance to play professionally, near his North Jersey home on top of that. It was great news to hear yesterday, when there was plenty of good news to go around.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


TigerBlog starts today with a trivia question that has absolutely nothing to do with Princeton Athletics.

If you get it right, then you know a lot of trivia. 

There are currently five living ex-Presidents (Carter, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama, Trump), which ties for the most living ex-Presidents ever. In fact, it's the fifth time this has been the case, with four of those five being from 1993 on. Here is that list:

1993-94 (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41)
2001-04 (Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton)?
2017-18 (Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama)
2021-present (Carter, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama, Trump)

Here's your trivia question: When was the only other time that there were five living ex-Presidents. TB will give you the answer at the end.

Seguing into today, TB goes back to yesterday, and Matt Allocco's game-winning shot against Cornell Saturday night at Jadwin Gym.

What was the best buzzer-beater Princeton has ever had? You could get a lot of votes for Douglas Davis' shot in the 2011 Ivy playoff to beat Harvard 63-62 and send the Tigers to the NCAA tournament.

In case you forgot that one, you can see it again here (the entire video is Davis highlights; the game-winner against Harvard is at the 2:47 mark):

Davis is Princeton's third all-time leading scorer in men's basketball, by the way, with 1,550 points. When he graduated, he was second; a year later Ian Hummer passed him to finish with 1,625. Neither came close to No. 1, which is Bill Bradley and his 2,503.

The most amazing thing about Davis' shot in 2011 is that it comes from a mid-range distance that he couldn't have practiced often. It's not like it was a three-pointer or a drive. It was, what, a 14-footer or so? He even did the up-and-under move just to get it off in the first place. This was a completely unsettled situation.

Davis almost certainly didn't have a "Sense of Where He Was," as it were.

That, of course, is a reference to the John McPhee book "A Sense Of Where You Are," which he wrote about Bradley when Bradley was a senior. It was McPhee's first book, and it refers to the idea that Bradley practiced every shot on the court so often that he always knew exactly the spot and what the shot would be.

Meanwhile, back at Allacco, his shot earned him some national attention, especially through SportsCenter. In doing so, it also got Derek Jones some national attention with his call, which went along with the clip everywhere it was aired.

Jones and his partner Noah Savage are so good together. With the rise of videostreaming has come a demand for broadcasters that has not been seen before, and Princeton basketball is lucky to have these two (and Jon Mozes and Dei Lynam on the women's broadcasts).

Jones, who had been the women's play-by-play man, took over from Savage's first partner at Princeton, John Sadak, when Sadak left to do Triple-A baseball. He is now the TV voice of the Cincinnati Reds.

Before that, Sadak had been the women's broadcaster, and he moved over to the men's side when Tom McCarthy left. McCarthy is now the Philadelphia Phillies TV voice.

McCarthy also does the NFL on CBS, including this past weekend, when he took over for an ill Jim Nantz and did the Tampa Bay-Carolina game with Tony Romo. 

There are six NFL playoff games this weekend, and two of those six will feature Princeton basketball broadcasting alums on the Westwood 1 radio broadcasts. McCarthy has the Eagles at Tampa Bay, and Sadak has the New England-Buffalo game. McCarthy gets the better weather.

That's a pretty good statement on just how good the Princeton broadcasters have been.

And if you need more Princeton, Sadak will be working with former Tiger offensive lineman Ross Tucker on that broadcast. Tucker has worked with both of them at various times.

Again, that's a lot of Princeton in the first round of the NFL playoffs.

And finally, the trivia question answer: 1861-62 (Van Buren, Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan).

TigerBlog was an American history major and he had no idea. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Happy Birthday

There is one obvious problem that Matt Allocco has after the way his Saturday night at Jadwin Gym went.

What in the world is he going to be able to do to have a better birthday than that one?

In case you didn't hear yet (and TigerBlog will guess that nobody reading today hasn't heard yet), Allocco made his first career start for the Princeton men's basketball team something incredibly special Saturday night. Allocco had a career-high 14 points (his first career double-figure game), and oh by the way, he also ended up on SportsCenter.

It was Allocco who tossed in the long three-pointer that splashed through just as the backboard turned red, giving Princeton a 72-70 win over Cornell.

By the way, that's a great call by Derek Jones, who was great all night, along with Noah Savage.

There is so much to stay about Princeton's sweep of Columbia and Cornell this weekend, which started with the 84-69 win over the Lions. In both games, Princeton trailed by double figures at halftime, by 12 Friday and 14 Saturday. In fact, Princeton trailed Cornell by as many as 18 in the second half before rallying.

Put the two games together, and Princeton was outscored 84-58 in the two first halves and then outscored the other two 98-55 in the two second halves. 

Then there was the fact that Brian Earl is the Cornell head coach. If there is anyone who can appreciate a great Princeton comeback, it's Brian Earl, who was the main reason why the Tigers came back from 27 down in the second half against Penn to win in 1999.

Much like all future Matt Allocco birthdays, all Princeton basketball comebacks since that night at the Palestra can never really match up. The one against Cornell was up there, though, along with that game against Penn State in the 2013-14 season, when the Tigers came back from 20 down with less than 10 minutes to go to force OT and then win 81-79.

If you recall the 2013 game, Will Barrett led the Tigers with 24, shooting 6 of 11 from three. 

Back in 1999, it was Earl who led the Tigers with 20 points. Princeton trailed 33-9 at the half in that game, and it grew to 40-13 with 15 minutes left. Princeton won 50-49.

And there was Earl Saturday night, again in Jadwin Gym, watching another great Tiger comeback. Of anyone who has ever competed against Princeton, Earl is the toughest to root against for TB, and he assumes most Princeton fans (it wasn't easy rooting against Bill Tierney when Denver lacrosse played on Sherrerd Field either).

Earl was a beloved Princeton player, on some great Tiger teams. He was also a teammate of Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson, and they have always stayed close.

The bigger picture from the weekend is that Princeton is now 2-0 in the league. No other team is unbeaten, unless you consider Yale, who is 0-0. There have already been some scores that make predicting how the race will go difficult, such as "Cornell beat Dartmouth who beat Brown who beat Harvard but lost to Penn, who in turn lost to Columbia."

Maybe the best prediction to make is that every win is crucial. That's why getting a weekend sweep when trailing by double figures at the half both times is huge for Princeton.

And then there is Allocco, a sophomore from Ohio who had only scored more than two points in three games prior to Saturday. This time, he shot 6 for 9 from the field, 2 for 3 from three, and added four rebounds to his 14 points.

The final 1:08 of the game saw four lead changes, including one when Cornell went up 70-69 on Dean Noll's driving layup with four seconds to go. From there the last chance found its way to Allocco (it was a great piece of awareness from Ryan Langborg to whip the ball to Allocco), who was off balance as he got rid of the ball. 

The win wasn't official until after the officials reviewed the play, and the light clearly didn't go until after the ball had left Allocco's hand. A few hours later, his play was all over ESPN.

And so it was a happy birthday, the happiest of birthdays, for Matt Allocco.

And the end of a huge weekend for Princeton.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Scheduling Updates

When TigerBlog was a kid, the forecast of snow came with the hope that there might just be a day off from school.

Snow days were better than planned off days. For holidays, you just pushed your homework off a day. For snow days, you could never really be sure, so you had to have all your homework done. The snow day was a total bonus, a day off, with nothing really to do (other than play football in the snow or something like that).

When TB's kids were in nursery school over at U-League, on the other side of the Jadwin parking lot, there was a phone list that would go around, where the school would call one family and then that family would call two, who would call two more, until everyone was notified.

Once they got into elementary school through high school, it would just a matter of going on the website and looking, or signing up for a text message that would tell you.

When TB was a kid, there was no internet and there was no cell phones. To find out if there was no school, you had to listen to the radio in the morning, or catch the crawl on TV. Once you heard your school called, everything was great. If you didn't hear your school but you heard neighboring districts? That was the worst.

The forecast in Princeton was for three inches of snow overnight. That one would have been iffy. It's not a sure thing, like in 1978, when 30 inches of snow wiped out a whole week. On the other hand, it's not just a dusting, where MotherBlog would say "get up and go to school."

For those who are in charge of scheduling college athletics (and pro and high school, for that matter), there's a bit of nostalgia for having to deal only with bad weather. The three inches of snow wouldn't have mattered as far as the weekend schedule for Princeton Athletics, but unfortunately there's a tougher factor these days to have to work around.

As such, the weekend at Princeton has been greatly affected by the new Covid variant. 

Today is still a gameday. Probably. Hopefully, perhaps, is a better word to use. 

In the current world of athletics, there is no way to be certain what the schedule will be from one day to the next, especially with indoor sports involved now. Actually, that's more hour to hour.

It's not an easy way to prepare, probably more so mentally than physically. It also makes, or should make, every athlete on every level appreciate the moments of competition.

The women's basketball team had its game against Columbia for tonight postponed and will play only at Cornell tomorrow afternoon (4). Hopefully.

The original word for the men's hockey team was that it would not be able to play Brown tomorrow but would be able to play Yale tonight. Then, about five hours later, the game against Yale was postponed as well.

The men's basketball team is set to play twice this weekend, hosting Columbia tonight (7) and Cornell tomorrow night (6). 

For all that, there's a huge event on the calendar Sunday, when the 19th ranked wrestling team hosts No. 5 North Carolina State. Hopefully. 

This is from the preview story on 

Princeton will wrestle six fellow teams in the most recent NWCA team rankings, which have Princeton at No. 19. Along with No. 1 Iowa in November and Sunday's match against No. 5 N.C. State, the Tigers will host No. 7 Arizona State next Sunday and No. 8 Cornell in February, and visit No. 17 Lehigh and No. 12 Rutgers later in February.

The match against North Carolina State would have brought a huge crowd to Jadwin. Unfortunately, Princeton has had to make changes to attendance policies, limiting attendance at Princeton events to only students, staff and faculty "who are fully compliant with the University's COVID-19 protocols. This attendance restriction will begin immediately and extend through January 31." 

Keep in mind, the ESPN+ broadcasts will go on as scheduled, and the coverage is excellent. 

It's unfortunate that things are in this place right now, but hopefully it's just a blip. The fall went off as smoothly as could have been expected. There will be outdoor events in a few weeks.

For now, it's time to hope that the schedule can get back to as close to normal as possible, and that things get better in February.

And that the events that are on for today stay on for today. 

Again, it makes you appreciate every opportunity to compete. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Small World

 TigerBlog starts today with some thanks to the great Ken Perry from the Class of 1950.

Ken emailed TB to give him two additions to the list of Princeton athletes who had been named Rhodes Scholars. Here is what Ken wrote:

JAMES H. BILLINGTON was a goalie on the varsity soccer team, playing as a freshman and three years on the varsity.  He went on to  be our 13th Librarian of Congress serving from 1987 to 2015. PHILIP T. ZABRISKIE played baseball his freshman and sophomore years. ’50’s third Rhodes, JOHN B. LAWSON, did not play varsity sports at Princeton, but wrote in his 10th reunion bio that during his Rhodes, “an acute shortage of lacrosse talent enabled me to play defense for Oxford.”

Ken signed his email "at 94 still a daily follower of Princeton sports." That's one loyal fan there.

James Billington's name immediately jumped out at TB. Billington was in fact a soccer letterwinner and in fact the Librarian of Congress, appointed to that position in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. More than that, Billington was the Librarian of Congress for 28 years.

He passed away in 2018 at the age of 89. This is from his obituary in the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

During his long tenure he led the library into the digital age and added millions of books, films, and artifacts to its collections. Among the many books he wrote, six were on Russia and revolutionary tradition. He received more than 40 honorary degrees. The Washington Post described him as “commanding.” In his own words, “the way I work is very intensive.” Jim is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marjorie; children Anne ’83, Susan, James Jr., and Thomas; and 12 grandchildren.

Billington was a world-renowned Russian scholar. The way his name caught TB's attention, though, was from the women's history book.

It was James Billington to whom Helena Novakova was introduced when she first arrived in the United States after escaping from the Soviet invasion of her native Czechoslovakia in 1968. Of all the stories in the book, for sheer drama that is one of the best two or three.

Novakova was one of the first two women to compete for Princeton, back on Oct. 17, 1970. She and Margie Gengler Smith drove up to New Paltz to play in the Eastern women's tennis championships, where Helena reached the semifinals, Margie won the championship and the two of them won the doubles championship and, all by themselves, the team championship.

Before that, Novakova had to get out of Czechoslovakia and into West Germany, doing so a few hours before the border was sealed. Then she made her way to England, while at the same time two Princeton students met up with her brother outside of family home, completely by chance.

There are about 10 other completely random occurrences that would land Novakova at Princeton. She would work in the Slavic Languages library for a year before she became a student, and it was during that year that she lived with the Princeton professor to whom she'd been introduced by the two traveling Princeton men who'd met her brother.

That Princeton professor was James Billington. Small world, right? 

Helena, by the way, would become the first winner of the von Kienbusch Award as Princeton's outstanding senior athlete of 1972. She was also a swimming letterwinner.

If you like stories like that, then you can click HERE for information on ordering the book.

By the way, when TB first began to do the book, he went to South Florida to meet up with Merrily Dean Baker, the first woman to be an athletic administrator at Princeton. He spent a few days speaking to Merrily, who is the subject of Chapter 1.

When he came back to Princeton, he reached out to Helena Novakova. As it turned out, Helena was also retired and living in South Florida, about 10 minutes from where Merrily lives. Neither realized the other lived so close.

TB was able to connect them, and they met up after all those years. They even sent TB a picture of the two of them together, which is also included in the book.

As he said before, small world, right?

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A Look Back, And A Look Ahead

If you read yesterday, you saw that TigerBlog talked about the Battle of Princeton and then the story in the Daily Princetonian 200 years later about the announcement of the 1977 Rhodes Scholars.

TB loves the archives of the Prince. Pick any random day, and there will be something there that touches on some great historic event, or something that has a modern-day equivalent. 

That same issue of the Daily Princetonian had a preview of a game that night – Jan. 3, 1977 – at Jadwin Gym before Princeton and eight-ranked Notre Dame. Princeton would end up defeating the Fighting Irish 76-62, and attendance that night was listed as 8,000.

The game story in the following issue included this line about Frank Sowinski: "The only shots Sowinski missed were during the warmups, as the 6-5 forward connected on all of his six attempts from both the field and the foul line for 18 points."

Frank Sowinski, in addition to being the 1977 Ivy League Player of the Year, has been a tireless friend of Princeton Athletics through the years, including being one of the most dedicated members of the Princeton Varsity Club Board.

Pete Carril, for his part, was not without a pretty good post-game quip: "My recruiting budget is $2,700," he lamented. "You expect me to bring out Walt Frazier or Earl the Pearl?" 

Yeah, that's what covering Pete Carril was like for a sportswriter, something that TB did for five years before he was actually hired at Princeton. You never knew what he was going to say next.

That Princeton-Notre Dame game had some crazy stats to it. For instance, Princeton shot 22 for 34 from the foul line. Thirty-four foul shots? That's a ton (though not close to the record, which was 56, in a game against Rutgers in 1954). That same year, Princeton set the record for free throws made it a game, with 37. For some context, Princeton and its opponents combined this season average 27.5 free throws per game.

In addition, Princeton shot 27 for 50 from the field, which is 54 percent, while Notre Dame shot 26 for 67, which is 39 percent. Those numbers suggest a Princeton win. But how about the rebounding stats? Princeton had 30. Notre Dame had 50. 

And both teams turned it over a ton. Princeton had 16 assists and 19 turnovers (the current Tigers average 17 assists and 10 turnovers per game). Notre Dame? How about six assists and 26 turnovers. 

And neither team attempted a single three-pointer in the game. How's that possible? Oh wait, the three-point rule was 10 years away still in 1987.

Princeton had five players in double figures, led by Bob Slaughter, who went for 19, followed by Sowinski's 18. Bob Roma had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Billy Omeltchenko had 11 and Bob Kleinert had 10.

It's always fun to look back on great games in the program's history. It's also fun to watch the current editions make their own history.

Princeton's current men's team had its Ivy League opener against Harvard postponed due to Covid issues with the Crimson. That game was pushed back to a weekend in February and is now a home-and-home, with a game at Princeton on Feb. 25 and then a game at Harvard on Feb. 27.

In fact, two of the Ivy League games scheduled for last weekend were postponed, along with Yale-Columbia. There were two games that did get played, as Cornell defeated Dartmouth and Penn defeated Brown.

Princeton will open the league at home this weekend, with home games against Columbia Friday night (7) and Cornell Saturday night (6). 

It's by all accounts a fascinating league this year, and the scramble for the Ivy League tournament spots will be a rough one. There are absolutely no gimmes this year, which makes for competitive games every night out.

In this first year of the new Ivy schedule, Princeton then follows that with two more home games the following weekend, though not with the teams you might imagine.

First up will be Brown on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 4. Two days later, it won't be Yale, the traditional travel partner for the Bears, but instead Penn, who will be at Jadwin on Martin Luther King Day, Monday the 17th, also at 4.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Battle Of Princeton

Do you know what it says on Rodney Dangerfield's tombstone? 

"There Goes The Neighborhood." It's the most perfect headstone of all time.

Rodney, whose real name was Jacob Cohen, is one of TigerBlog's all-time favorites. His stand-up routines are incredible. There are a million of them on YouTube; check out any of his appearances on the Johnny Carson show. 

He also made some really, really funny movies (and some forgettable ones), the best of which was "Caddyshack." Another one of them, "Easy Money," is a bit underrated, though it did have some pretty good scenes.

One of them is when Rodney is being blasted by his mother-in-law, who is talking about all of the others her daughter could have married, pointing out where they started and where they ended up. To that, Rodney says: "Yeah? Well I used to be a baby, and now I'm a baby photographer."

For TigerBlog, he can say that he used to be a history major and now he's a historian. And as such, he was fascinated when he read all about the history of the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution, a battle fought 245 years ago yesterday.

The best part was to check out all of the maps, which showed how the British troops were heading south along what presumably is now Route 206 and the Americans under George Washington were heading north along what presumably is now the Princeton Pike. They had a chance meeting the British saw American scouts in the woods, and that led to the battle, which ended up being a big win for the Americans (TB almost wrote "the Tigers" there by mistake).

The Battle of Princeton is considered a major turning point of the war, both from the strategic value (the British withdrew to New York) and from the psychological value of having faced the British and won. TB drives up and down those roads all the time, going past the battlefield itself. The next time he does, he'll be thinking back to Jan. 3, 1777.

And how about 200 years later, on Jan. 3, 1977? 

TB looked up the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Princeton in the Daily Princetonian archives yesterday. There was, in fact, a battle reenactment. This piece for the story made TB laugh a bit:

The mock battle will be followed at noon by a reenactment of the British 40th regiment's surrender at NassauHall. Students can reach the battlefield by taking free shuttle buses from lots 20, 21 and 24 (Jadwin Gym and the main student parking lots.) For those who wish to follow the troops, the British will march the 1.5 miles to the battle from Nassau Hall, while the colonists will start from the intersection of Route 1 and Quakerbridge Road.

That same issue also included some interesting Princeton Athletics news.

First, there was the story that Rhodes Scholarships had been awarded to six Princeton students, including three athletes. One was football player Daniel Fournier, a Canadian who would go on to play in the Canadian Football League. 

Another was Rick Stengel, who played for the men's basketball team that won the 1975 NIT championship. Stengel has gone on to a long career in media, including serving as managing editor at Time magazine. His resume also includes time as the chairman of the National Constitution Center, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and as an author and television commentator.

The third athlete was Sue Perles, who also happened to be Princeton's first woman athlete to be a Rhodes Scholar. Perles was a captain of the field hockey team in the early 1970s, when Merrily Dean Baker was the head coach.

Princeton Athletics first had a Rhodes Scholar back in 1931, when Julius Byles was honored. Julius won three letters in football and track and field, and he then went on to serve as an officer in World War II in Europe and then to a career as an oil executive before he passed away in 1991. 

The second was a man named Frederick Tremaine Billings, who lettered in three sports as a Tiger (football, wrestling, lacrosse) while also earning the Pyne Prize. He went to Johns Hopkins medical school after graduation, and he served in the Pacific in World War II, becoming a Lt. Colonel, before spending the majority of his career practicing and teaching at Vanderbilt while also starting healthcare programs in Appalachia. 

That's quite a life story as well.

Here is the complete list of Princeton's Athletic Rhodes Scholars:

1931-Byles, Julius (Football, track and field)
1933-Billings, Frederick Tremaine (Lacrosse, Wrestling, Football)
1948-Douglas, John Woolman (Football)
1948-Harr, Jr., Karl Gottlieb (Football)
1957-Stewart, Michael MacCracken (Football)
1960-Sachs, Daniel Martin (Football)
1965-Bradley, William Warren (Basketball)
1965-Smith, Michael Edward (Football)
1966-Spence, A. Michael (Ice Hockey)
1967-Peters, Charles (Football)
1970-Hicks, David Vern (Rowing)
1975-McCaffery, Michael Gerard (Swimming)
1976-Perles, Suzanne (Field Hockey)
1977-Stengel, Richard Allen (Basketball)
1977-Fournier, Daniel Edward (Football)
1990-Dechet, Andrew John (Soccer)
1992-Hessler, Peter Benjamin (Track & Field, Cross Country)
1993-Ticktin, Miriam Iris (Swimming)
1995-Babik, Jennifer (Field Hockey, Softball)
2003-Shackelton, Laura A. (Track & Field)
2005-Miller, Jeff (Basketball)
2008-Stankievech, Landis (Ice Hockey)2015-Skokowski, Rachel A. (Cross Country/Track & Field)
2016-Barton, Nicholas (Men's Squash)

Monday, January 3, 2022

An Ivy Opening Tiger Win In A Legendary Coach's Final Jadwin Appearance

So did you have fun on New Year's Eve?

TigerBlog hopes so. He also hopes you had a safe holiday, and he wishes everyone the best for 2022.

For his first entry of 2022, he starts out back in 1983, or Feb. 11, 1983, to be specific. That was the date of the first game Harvard's Kathy Delaney-Smith coached against Princeton.

That game, a 64-46 Princeton win, was played in Cambridge. She'd get her first win over the Tigers 15 days later, in her first appearance in Jadwin Gym.

She's gone on to win 44 more against the Tigers. With Princeton's 68-50 win over Harvard yesterday afternoon in the Ivy League opener for both at Jadwin, Delaney-Smith's career record against the Tigers now stands at 40-38, with at least one more to go.

Delaney-Smith announced earlier that this will be her final season as the Crimson women's basketball coach. She won the first of her 11 Ivy League championships in 1986, and her most recent one came in 2008, which you won't be surprised to learn also happened to be Courtney Banghart's first year at Princeton.

Even as the balance of power shifted away from Harvard and Dartmouth (17 Ivy women's basketball titles, most recent in 2009) to Penn and especially Princeton, Harvard has remained a tough opponent year after year. And Delaney-Smith has remained one of the most-respected coaches in any sport in Ivy League history. As she heads down the final stretch of her career, her place as an icon not only in the Ivy League but also in women's college basketball history is secure.

The game yesterday was Delaney-Smith's 1,050th as Harvard head coach. That's an extraordinary number. Her predecessor at Harvard was another legendary coach, Carole Kleinfelder, though she was legendary for her 25 years coaching lacrosse for the Crimson, where one of her many first-team All-Ivy selections was none other than Chris Sailer. 

Her career record stands at 623-427. When you've won more games as an Ivy League basketball coach than Pete Carril did at Princeton, that's saying something.

Delaney-Smith was honored at Jadwin before the game. She and Princeton head coach Carla Berube developed a strong relationship when Berube was at Tufts for 17 years, and Berube often attended Harvard practices before the NESCAC teams began their preseasons.

As for the game itself, it was something of a primer for everything Berube believes. Princeton shot only 31 percent from the field, but that's going to happen sometimes, especially after a long layoff (Princeton last played Dec. 22 against Texas after its game against Central Florida last week was postponed due to Covid issues at UCF). 

Ah, but if you can defend, you can win on off shooting nights. And that's exactly what Princeton did yesterday.

Princeton led 12-10 after one and then built the lead to double figures in the second quarter before leading 31-22 at the break. The third quarter was the kind of quarter that Berube loves, since her team held Harvard to a single made field goal in the 10 minutes.

Harvard shot 1 for 15 for the quarter. For a defensive-minded coach like Berube, that's a great stat. 

Princeton had a 16-9 (or is that 9-16) advantage in turnovers (Princeton turned it over way less) and outrebounded the Crimson, which resulted in 10 more attempts from the field. The Tigers also had twice as many made foul shots (18-9) and three-pointers (six to three).

After the game, on the ESPN+ broadcast, Kaitlyn Chen called it a "total team win," and yes, it was. There were three Tigers in double figures, including Chen, who has continued to get better and better as her first college season has gone along. She finished with 17 points and three steals.

Abby Meyers led Princeton with 19 points and 11 boards, while Julia Cunningham had 15 of her own. Ellie Mitchell was in foul trouble all game and finished with only two points, but she had 11 rebounds, which leaves her tied with Yale's Camilla Emsbo for the Ivy lead.

Speaking of the rest of the league, Columbia defeated Yale 65-55 in the league opener for both of those teams. Columbia, coached by former Tiger assistant Meg Griffiths, was down by eight at the half before outscoring the Bulldogs 43-25 the rest of the way.

The other winners on opening day were Penn (66-37 over Brown) and Cornell (45-36 over Dartmouth).

Princeton is at Columbia Friday and Cornell Saturday. This year, of course, is the first of the new non-travel partner format, so there was only a single game this weekend. Next weekend is the first with two games. In all, there will be four weekends of back-to-back and six of just one.