Harvard, Princeton Survive and Advance to WNIT Second Round
Photos and portions of this story courtesy of Harvard and Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. and NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Harvard and Princeton each advanced to the second round of the WNIT with wins on Thursday night.
The Crimson (22-7) defeated Iona in New Rochelle, N.Y., 90-89 on a last-second coast-to-coast drive by senior guard Christine Clark. Princeton (21-8) hosted VCU and pulled away for a convincing 94-76 victory.
It's the first time that two Ivy teams won a game on the same day in the same postseason tournament since March 3, 1978, when Yale and Princeton each won their first EAIWA Tournament matches.
With the win, the Crimson (22-7) registered the most victories since 2002-03 (22). Harvard dished out 28 assists, tied for the seventh-most in program history. The Crimson tied a season low with six turnovers.
Junior forwards Temi Fagbenle and Erin McDonnell paced the Crimson, each surpassing the 20-point plateau with 26 and 24 points, respectively. Fagbenle shot 13-of-18 from the floor and added eight boards and four assists.
McDonnell surpassed her personal best, hitting 10-of-13 from the field and dishing out a career-high seven assists. Senior guard Jasmine Evans posted a solid all-around game, recording 16 points, six rebounds, a personal-best seven assists and two steals. The seven assists marked the most helpers for a Crimson player since Miriam Rutzen on Feb. 15, 2013 against Penn (seven).
The Crimson advances to the second round for the third-straight year and will face Rutgers on Monday at 7:00 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J.
For the first time in program history the Princeton women's basketball team will be advancing in the postseason, as the Tigers decisively defeated VCU, 94-76, in the first round of the WNIT Thursday evening at Jadwin Gym.
The postseason victory marks the first since 1996 and ends the Tigers most recent winless drought in their last four consecutive appearances.
With senior Kristen Helmstetter out due to injury, Princeton saw its youth flourish. Four sophomores earned the starting nod, including Annie Tarakchian who made her first career start.
Tarakchian went on to have a career night, establishing new personal bests in both points (18) and rebounds (12), and recorded her first career double-double. She also went a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in 29 minutes of work.
For the first time this season Princeton had two players post double-doubles, as classmate Alex Wheatley had a team and career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Rounding out the Tigers' top scorers were junior Blake Dietrick and sophomore Michelle Miller who added 18 points apiece. Dietrick had a season and game-high eight assists, while Miller posted a career mark in free throws going 9-for-9.
Princeton saw contributions throughout its lineup, shooting 50 percent (30-for-60) from the field and banking returns on its 24-of-27 performance on the line (88.9 percent). The Tigers also maintained their momentum and pace by dominating on the glass, outrebounding VCU 48-30 and limiting the Rams to only six second chance points.
The Tigers will now head to Seton Hall (19-13) for a Sunday, Mar. 23 meeting at 5 p.m. in South Orange, N.J. The Pirates advanced after beating American 63-60 at home Thursday.