Photos courtesy of Penn and Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- It took just one
weekend’s work to turn Princeton’s one-game lead in the
Ivy League women’s basketball standings over Dartmouth and
Harvard into a two-game edge over Penn.
The Tigers and Quakers each swept the Big Green and Crimson, vaulting Penn into sole possession of second-place and giving Princeton its 31st-straight League victory, the second longest streak in the nation behind No. 1 Baylor, which has won 36-straight regular-season conference games.
On Friday, Princeton defeated Dartmouth, 77-65, marking the closest conference victory for the Tigers in over a year, as they defeated Brown by the same margin, 57-45, on Feb. 3, 2012. Senior Niveen Rasheed poured in a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 9-of-11 from the free throw line, while junior Kristen Helmstetter contributed 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Big Green junior Nicola Zimmer scored a career-best 19 points in the loss.
At the same time, Penn was working hard to hold on to its first victory over Harvard since 2004. Thanks to a career performance by freshman Keiera Ray, who finished with 31 points, the Quakers held off the Crimson to win, 77-72. They ended Harvard’s 17-game winning streak in the series and earned their first home win over the Crimson since 2001. Ray’s game overshadowed that of Harvard sophomore Temi Fagbenle, who scored a career-high 26 points while grabbing 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.
The next day, Princeton found itself trailing to Harvard, 15-8 early in the first half. But an 18-4 Tigers run gave them a lead they would not relinquish, and they went on to win, 67-51. Sophomore Blake Dietrick finished with a career-high 19 points, including the three-pointer that gave Princeton the lead for good, while Rasheed posted her third-straight double-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile at the Palestra, Penn was doing a super job of putting away Dartmouth, as the Quakers opened the second half with a 17-4 run en route to a 63-40 win. Ray scored a game-high 19 points and Penn finished with 19 field goals on 16 assists, while shooting 17-of-21 from the free throw line. The Quakers earned their first sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard since 2003-04 and the first at home since 2000-01.
Yale also went 2-0 on the week, defeating Cornell, 67-58, and Columbia, 62-43, for it first sweep of the New York schools since the 1997-98 seasons. Senior Megan Vasquez averaged 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steal while hitting all six of her free throws to lead the Bulldogs. She surpassed the 1,300-point plateau in the game against the Big Red and now stands in seventh-place on Yale’s all-time scoring list with 1,325 points for her career.
Cornell earned a split on the weekend, defeating Brown in its other game, 60-58. Junior Allyson DiMagno continued her impressive season, posting double-doubles in each contest to lead the Big Red. DiMagno finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds against Yale and 16 points and 17 rebounds against Brown. She now has a League-best 11 double-doubles on the year, the most in a single-season since 2009-10, when Dartmouth’s Brittney Smith (11) and Columbia’s Judie Lomax (21) accomplished the feat.
DiMagno and senior Clare Fitzpatrick turned a
58-53 Brown lead with 2:02 remaining into a 60-58 Big Red victory,
as DiMagno cut the advantage to 58-55 with a layup off a
Fitzpatrick assist, who then followed with five-straight points of
her own, including a three-point play off a DiMagno assist that put
Cornell ahead by two with six seconds remaining.
Columbia also went 1-1 on the week, as it defeated Brown, 62-51. The Lions never trailed in the contest, snapping a nine-game losing streak and picking up its first League victory of the season in the process. Sophomore Miwa Tachibana scored a career-high 16 points, all in the first half, in the win over the Bears, and then followed that with 15 points against the Bulldogs. Tachibana has scored in double-figures in four of the past five games and is averaging 12.2 points per game during that stretch. Brown was led by senior Sheila Dixon, who scored 17 points in each contest.
Penn and Princeton get to stay home for a second-straight week, as they will host Columbia and Cornell. Dartmouth and Harvard will return to the friendly confines of Hanover, N.H. and Cambridge, Mass., respectively, to face Yale and Brown.
CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Princeton senior guard Niveen Rasheed (Danville, Calif.) posted a pair of double-doubles in a pair of Princeton victories, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds against Dartmouth and 17 points and 10 rebounds against Harvard. It marked the 31st and 32nd double-doubles of her career, as she now has nine on the season, one shy of the career-high she set as a freshman and a junior. Against the Big Green and Crimson, Rasheed also averaged 4.0 steals and 2.5 assists while hitting nine free throws in each contest.
Rasheed was named Player of the Week for the third-straight week and has earned the honor a career-best five times this season. She ranks tied for third all-time in Player of the Week awards for a season and tied for second all-time with 12 career Player of the Week honors, matching the feat accomplished by Penn’s Diana Caramanico (1998-2001).
Rasheed's Statistics for the Week
CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Penn freshman guard Keiera Ray (Aurora, Ill.) led the Quakers to their first sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard since 2003-04 and the first at home since 2000-01. Ray finished with 31 points against Harvard on 7-of-14 shooting. She shot 14-of-20 from the free throw line, including 7-of-8 over the final 1:18 to seal the win. It marked the highest scoring performance for an Ivy player since Dartmouth’s Faziah Steen had 32 against Vermont on Nov. 22, 2011, and the most points in a League game since teammate Alyssa Baron had 38 at Harvard on Feb. 5, 2011. Ray connected on the most free throws by an Ivy athlete since Yale’s Melissa Colborne hit the same amount at UC Riverside on Dec. 30, 2008.
Against the Big Green, Ray again led the team in scoring, finishing with a game-high 19 points while hitting all six of her free throws. In the two games, Ray shot 50.0 percent from downtown (6-of-12) and 76.9 from the charity stripe (20-of-26), while averaging 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal. Ray has scored in double figures in five-straight games and is averaging 18.0 points per game during that stretch.
Ray is the second player to earn Player and Rookie of the Week this season, as Harvard sophomore Temi Fagbenle took home both awards twice (Dec. 17, Dec. 31). Ray receives her third Rookie of the Week honor and becomes the first Quaker to earn both awards since Baron, who took home Player and Rookie of the Week twice as a freshman. Ray is Penn's first Player of the Week recipient since Baron earned the award on March 5, 2012.
Ray's Statistics for the Week
Blake Dietrick, Princeton (So., G – Wellesley, Mass.)
7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal vs. Dartmouth
19 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal, 58.3 FG%, 55.6 3FG% vs. Harvard
Allyson DiMagno, Cornell (Jr., G – Fairport, N.Y.)
23 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 62.5 FG%, 100.0 FT% vs. Yale
16 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 50.0 FG%, 100.0 3FG%, 100.0 FT% vs. Brown
Sheila Dixon, Brown (Sr., G – Schenectady, N.Y.)
17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 83.3 FT% at Columbia
17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 50.0 FG% at Cornell
Temi Fagbenle, Harvard (So., F – London)
26 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 78.6 FG%, 50.0 3FG% at Penn
10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 62.5 FG% at Princeton
Clare Fitzpatrick, Cornell (Sr., F – Southbury, Conn.)
9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist vs. Yale
17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 83.3 FT% vs. Brown
Victoria Lippert, Harvard (Sr., G – San Diego)
13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 66.7 3FG% at Penn
13 points, 3 rebounds, 100.0 FT% at Princeton
Abbey Schmitt, Dartmouth (So., F – Winnetka, Ill.)
10 points, 6 rebounds, 55.6 FG% at Princeton
12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 54.5 FG% at Penn
Miwa Tachibana, Columbia (So., G – Los Angeles)
16 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 63.6 FG% vs. Brown
15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block vs. Yale
Megan Vasquez, Yale (Sr., G – Merrick, N.Y.)
15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 50.0 FG%, 75.0 3FG%, 100.0 FT% at Cornell
12 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals at Columbia
Nicola Zimmer, Dartmouth (Jr., G – Chevy Chase, Md.)
19 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 66.7 FG%, 75.0 3FG% at Princeton
6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 50.0 FG% at Penn
Friday, February 22
*Brown at Harvard, 7 pm
*Columbia at Princeton, 7 pm
*Cornell at Penn, 7 pm
*Yale at Dartmouth, 7 pm
Saturday, February 23
*Yale at Harvard, 6 pm
*Brown at Dartmouth, 7 pm
*Columbia at Penn, 7 pm
*Cornell at Princeton, 7 pm
*Ivy League Contests