It had the makings of a great comeback story after going down by 18 and coming within a possession, but ultimately the Princeton women’s basketball team’s late rally was not enough in a 78-68 loss to Harvard Friday evening at Jadwin Gym. The Tigers, who suffered their first home league loss since 2009, fall to 10-6, 1-1 Ivy, while the Crimson improve to 13-4, 3-0 Ivy.
Princeton entered Friday’s meeting coming off a three-week break in play, which proved to be an obstacle of its own as the Tigers went 0-for-6 from the field to open the contest.
Charged by seven Michelle Miller points, Princeton responded from its early slump to go up 7-6 at 14:54. The Tigers were unable to create an offensive push to maintain control, as their lead was short lived and it would be their only advantage for the rest of the game.
Miller finished with 11 points, four boards and two assists.
As Princeton’s shooting woes continued, Harvard capitalized and built an 18-point advantage, 31-13 at 6:23, before things began to click for the Orange and Black.
Alex Wheatley headlined a rally for the Tigers with 12 straight points to cut Harvard’s lead to nine with 1:07 left in the half, but Princeton was unable to make key defensive stops and the Crimson went into the break riding a 7-0 run and leading 44-30.
Wheatley led the Tigers with 16 points and seven rebounds, both team highs.
In an unfamiliar spot down by double figures at halftime in conference play, the second half saw an energized Tiger side.
Led by five Taylor Williams and four Kristen Helmstetter points Princeton went on a 12-0 run to make it a one-point game, 62-61 at 6:17.
Teetering around a one-possession game inside the two-minute mark, the Tigers were again unable to make critical defensive stops and allowed Harvard to recreate a cushion down the stretch.
The Crimson, who were led by Christine Clark’s 25 points, saw significant return from the free throw line, going 25-for-30 to Princeton’s 9-of-13.
Harvard shot 41.1% (23-for-56) from the field to Princeton’s 39.7% (27-for-68) and held a 42-37 rebounding advantage.
Looking to rebound, the Tigers will get back at it Saturday versus Dartmouth at 6 p.m. at Jadwin Gym.
Postgame Notes: Princeton’s three Ivy League losses since 2010 have all been to Harvard … the Tigers last Ivy home loss came on Feb. 13, 2009 versus Yale, 56-54.