Princeton only had 23 points in the first half, but thanks to second half adjustments and a late run the Tiger women’s basketball team earned a 66-59 victory over Drexel Saturday in Philadelphia to close the non-conference schedule.
The Tigers improve to 9-5 with the win and head into Ivy League play winners of seven of the last nine. Princeton kicks off conference action with a return trip to Philadelphia to face Penn on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m.
Michelle Miller led with a career-high 23 points, going 7-of-12 from the field with five triples, and matched a career-best with eight rebounds over 32 minutes of work.
Not far behind was reigning USBWA national and Ivy player of the week Blake Dietrick who scored in double figures for the sixth straight game with 18 points. She nearly had her first career double-double with a game-high nine boards.
Rounding out Princeton’s top scorers was Alex Wheatley who had 10 points, adding four rebounds and two assists.
After over a week break in play the Tigers had to work through first half hiccups. Princeton went up quickly 6-0 behind triples from Dietrick and Miller, but from there a fast paced game combined with struggling to land shots kept things fairly even.
Princeton held an 11-5 advantage at 12:22, but Drexel responded with a 12-point uncontested run to hold the lead into halftime, 25-23, and add pressure to the Tiger defense to keep the game within range.
The Tigers’ 23 first half points were a season-low and due to 9-for-27 shooting from the field.
Riding a 4-0 run to open the second half, Princeton fought Drexel for control and saw the lead change 13 times and tied seven times over the final period.
The possession battle would come down to the final minutes, before a Miller triple at 1:54 put Princeton up for good 59-56. The Dragons came within a point, but the Tigers rode things out with a 7-3 run.
Princeton finished shooting 39.6 percent (21-for-53) to Drexel’s 38.6 percent (22-for-57) and held a 43-30 rebounding advantage.