The Princeton women’s basketball team has not lost to Penn in its last 10 meetings and in the 75th matchup between both programs the Tigers’ Ivy League title defense was not going to open with a loss to the Quakers to kick off conference play.
A 14-0 scoring run put the four-time consecutive Ivy champion Tigers up by double figures midway through the first half and from there it was all Princeton in an 84-53 victory Saturday at The Palestra. The win improved the Tigers to 10-5, 1-0 Ivy, while dropping the Quakers to 8-3, 0-1 Ivy and snapping their eight-game winning streak.
Penn opened with an early push, capitalizing on Princeton missing its first three attempts to go up 7-5 at 16:27.
In their second game in Philadelphia in seven days and fourth straight on the road, the Tigers responded with their crucial 14-point uncontested rally spanning over five minutes to go up 21-7 at 11:24. Princeton’s lead would never decrease lower than 10 points over the remainder of the contest.
Blake Dietrick headlined the run with six of her 16 points in the game to score in double figures for the 11th time this season and seventh straight game. The junior point guard also recorded her first career double-double, as she finished with a game-high 11 boards over 38 minutes of work.
As Penn’s defense hesitated it allowed a flowing Tiger offense to continue to capitalize, seeing Princeton’s lead go as high as 15, 32-17 at 5:12.
With the pace of play under their control, the Tigers went into the break leading 38-25.
The second half saw Penn come within 10, 41-31 at 17:31, but Princeton responded with a 12-6 run to keep things out of range for good from the Quakers.
Senior co-captain Kristen Helmstetter, who had seven first half points, added 10 over the final 20 minutes finish with a game-high 17. She nearly had a double-double herself, collecting nine boards for second-best in the game.
Joining Dietrick and Helmstetter in double figures was Alex Wheatley, who had 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.
As a team, Princeton shot 43.9 percent (29-for-66) from the field to Penn’s 30.5 percent (18-for-59). The Tigers also led in rebounding (48-37), assists (21-10) and steals (11-4), while only committing nine turnovers to Penn’s 17 which they converted into 26 points.
Princeton will now take a break in play to complete first semester final exams before resuming Ivy play with Harvard (Jan. 31) and Dartmouth (Feb. 1) at Jadwin Gym.
Postgame Notes: Saturday’s meeting was the 75th between Princeton and Penn … the Tigers have won the last 11 meetings … under head coach Courtney Banghart Princeton is 12-1 versus Penn … this was the fourth game in 2013-14 Princeton scored 80 points or more.