Virginia Plays Spoiler, Women’s Basketball Falls 69-57 in Tournament Finale
The Princeton women’s basketball team suffered a 69-57 loss in the championship game of the Cavalier Classic to host Virginia Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville, Va. The loss drops the Tigers to 8-5 on the year, snapping their five-game winning streak in the process, while improving the Cavaliers to 7-6.
For their efforts pacing Princeton over the weekend Blake Dietrick and Kristen Helmstetter were selected to the Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team, marking the first career tournament honor for either player.
Junior Dietrick finished with 19 points, notching five three-pointers, to end the weekend with 36 combined points. She also added four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 35 minutes of work.
Senior Helmstetter added five points against UVa and matched her career-high of seven assists for the second straight day. Her assists accounted for a game high, as she also tallied four rebounds and a steal in 30 minutes.
Off the bench freshman Vanessa Smith added 11 points, going 4-for-8, with five rebounds over 18 minutes.
Despite its best effort Princeton struggled to find consistency on the offensive end, shooting 34.5 percent (20-for-58) from the field and going 7-of-26 from beyond the arc.
UVa held a slight 37-35 rebounding margin, but Princeton finished with a 17-13 advantage on the offensive glass. While the Tigers collected 12 second chance points their 20 turnovers were converted into 22 Cavalier points.
Things opened with a hurried pace and added pressure due to Virginia’s full court man-on-man press, but the Tigers were able to distribute the ball and the game remained a momentum battle through much of the first half.
Virginia put together an early run at control, heading off on a 9-0 rally spanning over two minutes to go up 16-11 at 14:23, but the Tigers countered with a 6-0 run of their own to take the lead 17-16 at 11:58.
In a similar game to Saturday’s opening round match versus Alabama, Princeton saw another first half of momentum swings.
Virginia would have another go at control led by six Kelsey Wolfe points to carry the Cavaliers to an 11-0 rally and 31-20 lead at 7:39; however Princeton was not going to let all momentum be clutched by the home side.
Led by consecutive triples from Dietrick and an Annie Tarakchian layin, Princeton bounced back in with 6-0 run to come with four, 31-28 at 5:36.
Dietrick went on to finish the first period with 12 points, all treys.
Princeton was unable to overcome further pushes by Virginia and capitalize on its 20-12 rebound margin, only scoring four second chance points, and went into halftime down 41-33.
Consistent looks inside the paint came at a premium over the second half, but Princeton worked to adjust and find its rhythm. Virginia was able to continue to capitalize and went on a 10-2 run heading inside the 10-minute mark to go up by 16, 63-47 at 9:08.
The sizeable deficit was too much to overcome for the Tigers and they were unable to ever come closer than 12 over the remainder of the contest.
Princeton’s road swing takes them twice to the City of Brotherly Love over the next two weeks, beginning with its final non-conference game at Drexel on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m.