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The Scholarly Spotlight: Princeton Tigers Women's Basketball

In the month of March, college basketball tends to shine the brightest. With the highly anticipated NCAA tournament approaching, there are many teams to pay attention to as a potential sleeper. One of them is the Princeton Lady Tigers, hailing from the upset hungry Ivy League conference. With a 12-1 conference record and 22-4 overall, the competition the Tigers have faced this season should give them confidence to battle against anyone in the big dance.

Leading the Tigers is guard Kaitlyn Chen, the senior from San Marino, California. She is currently averaging 15.5 points, 4.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game, showing her two-way ability. The star player for the Tigers is leading the team in both points per game and assists, living up to her role. Chen also has shooting splits of 48.3/33.3/78.6 this season, showing she can score in more ways than one. Last season she won the Ivy League player of the year, and could still win the award this year. Princeton faced tough competition early in the season, which put Chen and the rest of the team under the national spotlight. They lost in their most impressive contest against No. 2 UCLA, and Chen scored a game-high 24 points to go along with 3 assists and 3 steals as well. In their win against No. 21 Oklahoma, she scored 20 points and contributed 2 assists and 2 steals. Chen has another year of eligibility after this year, which she will finish at another program. She has reportedly entered the transfer portal most likely to improve her game, which could land her at an elite program. Chen is not the only one leading the Tigers though, as she is surrounded by a talented supporting cast.

Madison St. Rose is the second leading scorer for Princeton with 13.9 points per game, and she also leads the team in steals at 1.7 per game. Her shooting splits are 42.3/33.9/

76.6%, similar to Chen's. In an important conference win against Columbia University, St. Rose starred scoring 21 points, adding 6 rebounds and 6 assists to her day. The sophomore has taken a massive step up from her first year, which has been vital to Princeton's success. Another player contributing to the Tigers success is freshman guard Skye Belker. She is starting all the games she plays in, and her numbers have been great for a college freshman. Belker is averaging 9.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, with shooting splits of 42.8/30.6/87.0%. In their most recent game against Dartmouth, she scored 10 points in 19 minutes, shooting an efficient 100% from the field. She also scored 21 points in their aforementioned conference win against Columbia. With Princeton running a four guard lineup, their rebounding has come from a senior who leads the conference in that category.

Ellie Mitchell has excelled as a starting forward this year, and being the best rebounder in the conference is a testament to her efforts. She is averaging 5.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. In another key win against Villanova on the road, Mitchell grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds, but she didn't shoot well only scoring 3 points. She has an elite ability to rebound which helps the Tigers on the offensive end, and can be important for their transition offense after defensive stops. This collection of players paired with the coaching of Carla Berube could provide for Princeton to make a run in March.

The Tigers have a glaring weakness in the conference that could be exposed when they face the top teams in the country, but they also have an unspoken strength. They average 69.0 points on offense, which is 8 points behind the conference leader in Columbia, and they also rank third in rebounding only averaging 36.2 per game. This could be because of the lack of scoring outside of Chen, St. Rose, and Belker, and the lack of rebounding outside of Mitchell. Where they struggle on offense they vastly make up for on defense. They lead the conference in points allowed at 56.0 per game, and are tied for second in blocks at 3.7 blocks per game. Their point differential is the best in the conference as well, beating their opponents by 13.8 points per game. Defensive statistics typically stack up well against tournament teams, and that could definitely favor the Tigers. Every year a Cinderella team quietly puts on their glass slippers once the calendar turns to March. The Princeton Lady Tigers could emerge as the team nobody wants to dance with when the tournament is announced on March 17th.


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