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Amanda Berntsen and the Tigers look to extend their home winning streak vs. Drexel Monday.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer

New Year’s Eve Showdown vs. Drexel Next for Women’s Basketball

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 12/29/2012
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 Princeton (7-5) vs. Drexel (7-3)
  Game Info:
Monday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.
Jadwin Gym
All-Time Series Record: 
Princeton leads 7-1
First Meeting: 1982-83
Last Meeting: Princeton won 63-51 on Dec. 31, 2011
Game Notes: Princeton vs. Drexel
Live Media:
Live Stats Live Audio Live Video ($)

@PUTIGERS @CoachBanghart

This Week for the Tigers: The Princeton women's basketball team (7-5) returns home to open a three-game homestand beginning with a New Year's Eve meeting with Drexel (7-3) on Monday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.

Last Time Out: The Tigers went 1-1 during their Midwest road trip. Princeton employed a second half rally to propel past Illinois State, 67-50, on Dec. 19 and snap a two-game skid. Two days later against a receiving votes DePaul team, the Tigers were unable to overcome a first half deficit and fell, 86-75, to the Blue Demons.

On Deck: Princeton concludes the non-conference slate with Navy on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m., before kicking off Ivy League play versus Penn on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

Family Fun Day: The Princeton women's basketball game against Drexel will be a Family Fun Day, with the Bounce House, Inflatables and Facepainting. Inflatables will be open for an hour before the game and again at halftime. The first 150 fans in attendance will receive 2013 glasses and there will be an autograph session following the game with  autograph books provided.

Follow the Tigers: Live video and stats will be available for all Princeton home games at GoPrincetonTigers.com. Live audio, stats and video ($) will be available from courtside versus Drexel via GoPrincetonTigers.com.

Get Connected: Are you following Princeton on Facebook and Twitter? Follow the athletics department at Facebook.com/PrincetonAthletics and Twitter.com/PUTIGERS. Connect with the Tiger women's basketball team on Facebook.com/PrincetonWBB or follow head coach Courtney Banghart on Twitter @CoachBanghart.

Scouting Drexel: Drexel (7-3) enters Monday's meeting following its 58-52 loss versus American on Dec. 28. Prior to the Dragons' six-point loss, they were riding a three-game winning streak.

Hollie Mershon is the squad's top performer, averaging 17.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. She also has team-highs in assists (38) and steals (18). No other Dragon player is averaging above nine points per game.

All-Time vs. Drexel: Princeton leads the all-time series versus Drexel, 7-1. The series was established in 1982-83 and the Tigers' extended their winning streak to five versus the Dragons behind a 63-51 victory on Dec. 31, 2011.

Rasheed Named Ivy Player of the Week: Senior Niveen Rasheed picked up her 17th career Ivy weekly award, being named Player of the Week for the eighth time in her career. The guard is now in sixth-place on the all-time Player of the Week list, moving past current Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart. At Dartmouth, Banghart earned seven Player of the Week honors from 1997-2000.

The co-captain earns not only her first, but also the team's first conference accolade of 2012-13. Over the Tigers' first 12 games, she has averaged double figures in points, including scoring 10 points or more in the last 10 games, and notched four double-doubles.

Dietrick's Career Night: At DePaul on Dec. 21 sophomore Blake Dietrick scored a career-high 16 points. She went 5-for-7 from the field, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 2-for-2 from the stripe. She also grabbed three boards and two assists. Over the Illinois road trip, she tallied 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists in two starts.

Comforts of Home: The Tigers are 4-0 at home this season, putting together a quartet of dominant performances at Jadwin.

At home, Princeton is outscoring opponents 336-197. The Tigers saw a season-best performance versus UMBC on Dec. 2, outscoring the Retrievers 51-8 in the first half.

Ivy Slate on Deck: After a final non-conference game on Tuesday, Jan. 8 versus Navy at 7 p.m., the Tigers will look to defend their Ivy crown for the fourth consecutive season with the commencement of the conference season. Princeton will open the Ivy season with Penn on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 3:30 p.m. in Jadwin Gym.

Rookie Miller Nets Career-High: Freshman Michelle Miller came in off the bench at Illinois State to score a career-high 14 points on Dec. 19. She was the team's second-leading scorer, going 6-for-9 from the field, including a pair of treys. She also had three rebounds in 20 minutes of work.

Opponent Low: Princeton held Illinois State to only 23.4 percent (15-for-64) from the field, for a season-best mark. The Tigers also held differentials in rebounding (42-41), assists (13-7), blocks (8-1) and steals (7-6). The Redbirds did hold an 18-9 offensive board differential.

The Tigers were also limited to just four attempts from the stripe, going a perfect 4-for-4, to ISU's 18-for-24.

Helmstetter Makes Her Mark: She's already eclipsed personal bests in points, three-pointers and assists, but junior Kristen Helmstetter managed to establish a new career-high in rebounds on Dec. 9 at Delaware. The forward grabbed nine defensive boards, tying for team leader in the stat.

Since moving into the starting lineup seven games ago, she's become the team's second-leading scorer (7.8) and rebounder (5.0).

Smith Swats: Sophomore Mariah Smith has a team-high 13 blocks in 11 appearances. She tallied a career-high three blocks at Illinois State on Dec. 19.

Ranked Opponents: Princeton's meeting between then-No. 19/22 UCLA on Nov. 25 marked the squad's first game versus a ranked team. The Tigers have also faced three teams who were receiving votes towards a national ranking in Rutgers, Delaware and DePaul.

The Tigers are 0-1 versus ranked teams and 1-2 versus receiving votes programs. Overall, Princeton's three losses were by an average of 8.3 points.

College Insider Mid-Major Top-25: The Tigers remain tabbed No. 8 with 495 votes in this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll.

Quintet in Double Figures: For the first time this, season five players scored in double figures versus UMBC on Dec. 2. Four of the starting five reached the scoring mark, along with newcomer Michelle Miller in 17 bench minutes.

Kate Miller led the offense for the first time this season with 13 points, going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Assists 4 Africa: The Princeton women's basketball team will be hosting Assists 4 Africa events at Jadwin Gym as part of the Princeton Varsity Club Service Circle. Its efforts will raise money for Vivre Ensemble Madeshael, the orphanage in Senegal the team visited in 2011, working with Progress 4 Africa (501(c)3) charity.

To pledge a one-time donation search for "Assists4Africa" on www.crowdrise.com or pledge an amount based on the number of assists the team makes throughout the season. Please direct all questions to PrincetonAssists4Africa@gmail.com.

Banghart Reaches Career Milestone: Sixth season head coach Courtney Banghart won her 100th career game at the helm of the Princeton women's basketball program Sunday in the Tigers' 93-46 win over UMBC. Banghart is now 102-55 all-time and 65-16 in Ivy play. Assistant coach Milena Flores has been on Banghart's coaching staff throughout that span, as well.

Rasheed Named to Wooden Award Preseason Team & Naismith Watch List: Senior Niveen Rasheed was selected to the Wooden Award Women's Preseason Top 30 and to the 50-player Naismith Watch List. The Tiger guard is the only Ivy League representative on the prestigious preseason teams recognizing the top NCAA Division I players in the nation.

Preseason Poll Predicts Ivy Four-Peat: Behind 132 votes and 13 first-place nods, Princeton was predicted to win the Ivy League title for the fourth consecutive season in the Ivy preseason media poll. Harvard was the only other team to collect first-place votes, earning 120 points and three first-place votes.

Ivy First: The Tigers made history a year ago by becoming the only Ivy League women's basketball program to earn a national ranking. Princeton was No. 24 in the final AP Poll of 2011-12.

Welcome Back: The Tigers welcome back 10 letterwinners from a year ago, including unanimous Ivy Player of the Year Niveen Rasheed and two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Polansky. Princeton will be led by a sturdy group of four seniors, looking to conclude their careers on top of the League for a fourth straight season.

The Newbies: Five freshmen join the Tigers in 2012-13. Princeton bolsters its lineup with a versatile group, each looking to become immediate contributors. The Tiger newcomers are: point guard Amanda Berntsen, guard Michelle Miller, guard/forward Annie Tarakchian, forward Alex Wheatley and forward/center Taylor Williams.

Preseason Honors: The Tigers have already picked up several preseason honors entering 2012-13. College Sports Madness tabbed head coach Courtney Banghart as the Preseason All-Mid Major and Ivy League Coach of the Year. Senior Niveen Rasheed was named the Preseason Ivy League Player of the Year and to the Preseason All-Mid Major and All-Ivy First Team.

Ivy Domination: This year's senior class has only seen one Ivy League loss throughout their careers, going 41-1. They have won the last three consecutive conference championships and were members of the first group to advance to the NCAA Tournament in Princeton history.

My Captain, Oh My Captain: Princeton's co-captains in 2012-13 are reigning Ivy Player of the Year Niveen Rasheed and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Polansky.

New Faces, New Roles: In addition to five new players on the court, the Princeton coaching staff saw some new additions. After two years at the team's director of basketball operations Megan Griffith has been promoted to assistant coach. Griffith replaces Melanie Moore.

Tyler Cordell was hired during the summer as the program's new director of basketball operations. Cordell comes from Ithaca where she was a graduate assistant with the Division III women's basketball team.

Status Update: Junior Nicole Hung suffered a season-ending knee injury in November.











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