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Princeton Rips Columbia in the Lions' Den

Just the Facts, Ma'am: The Columbia Lions scored the first basket- then never led again as the Princeton Tigers rolled to an 86-46 win. Lauren Edwards led four Tigers in double figures with 13 points, while Niveen Rasheed narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Tyler Simpson was the only Lion in doubles with 10. Princeton dominated the boards 52-27, including 23 offensive rebounds.

For ennui, a distressing lack of dorkiness, a studied lack of Wizard of Oz puns, and lots of tapped-around rebounds, join your intrepid and tardy blogger after the jump.

I'm not sure, but I may be a masochist. This is my third venue in six days, with two more to come.

I've been curious about Princeton all year, but Princeton Junction is a fair piece away from where I live in Queens, and Hofstra played their home game against Princeton in the middle of the afternoon (as the Guest Notes of Doom can attest to). Their home visit to Columbia was the only shot I had to get a look at the Tigers

Of course, Columbia is a fair piece away from where I am in Queens too, so I only made it to my seat at tip. Columbia's band is not in attendance, which makes me a sad fan. No Korobeiniki for us tonight.

At half, Princeton is up 45-23, and it could easily be more if Princeton could hit their free throws. The Tigers' rebounding has been astonishing, and they've hit some ridiculously long threes- Lauren Edwards ended the half with one that was approximately from Princeton Junction.

The scary part is that Niveen Rasheed can't shoot straight tonight.

So it was the whipping we expected, but that's okay, because we didn't come to see a competitive game, and we didn't expect a competitive game. It's a little sad to see how far Columbia's fallen since they were contending with Judie Lomax, but these things come in cycles.

We got to see lots of bench players today- Princeton carries thirteen, all of whom played; Columbia carries seventeen, twelve of whom played. That's a lot of players.

Princeton's deep reserves seem to be three-point specialists. There were a lot of long shots being hoisted in the second half. Blake Dietrick looked like she was scoring for playing time- she came off the bench in the third wave and just kept firing away, even when the original plan was clearly to get it to the one player who hadn't yet scored. Jess Shivers never did get to score, but she got a couple of blocks and a rebound, and did nice work on the defensive end. Mariah Smith, wearing a different number than the one on the program, for reasons that even the Princeton folks next to us didn't understand (as she was apparently in the proper uniform the last time they wore the road orange) had a beautiful steal and fast break lay-up in the first half, but showed a disturbing propensity to commit stupid fouls. They were not the stupidest fouls on the floor, but they were not of the caliber that would be expected of an Ivy League student. Kristen Helmstetter got on the board late, but was working hard on the boards. It's actually a fairly safe assumption that if a player was wearing the orange and black, they were working hard on the boards. Megan Bowen was first off the bench and established herself as a defensive presence in the middle. Nicole Hung shows the signs of being able to run this offense when Princeton runs out of Laurens- good, solid player who stil needs some of the rough edges taken off her. She gambles a lot on defense; against a team like Columbia, it works, but against better teams, I'm not sure it will.

It's nice to have a big solid post in the middle who presents herself as a target when all the fancy passing is said and done. Devona Allgood was that player for the Tigers in the first half- at least two of her baskets were wide open and uncontested because the Columbia defense couldn't chase the ball around any longer. Niveen Rasheed handles better than I expected from someone who had previously been doing a lot of her play inside; I wonder if she's trying to transition to the three for a longer pro career. Lauren Edwards showed off her range a little bit and got things done when her team needed her to. Lauren Polansky ran the show, though the numbers won't show it because of all the offensive rebounding. Kate Miller was solid but unremarkable.

I suspect, though without adequate data or ways of finding that data, that a lot of the Princeton players also played volleyball. Their offensive rebounding, especially backtaps, was amazing. Their passing was also exceptionally crisp at times- sometimes they tried too hard and the extra pass got picked off, but they did a great job finding the open player.

Taylor Ball, breathe. Two fouls, and both of them rough fouls- the first an intentional after a steal by Polansky, the second a trip on Rasheed near the end of the game. It's only a basketball game. No need for all of that. Campbell Mobley reminds me a little of Kristen Mann around the eyes. I like her communication on the floor. Miwa Tachibana has the same dynamo energy as Sara Yee, who we used to call 'ten pounds of crazy in a five pound bag', though with a good bit less terrifying intensity. Nicole Santucci got things done in the second half- her batles with Rasheed were interesting. Amara Mbionwu reminds me a little of Judie Lomax in build- unfortunately, not in rebounding skill or shooting ability. Taylor Ward played good defense, helping set up a nice steal by Agata Jankova in the first half.

I love Tyler Simpson's defense! Hands everywhere! Agata Jankova had some passing issues, but otherwise had a solid game for the Lions. Melissa Shafer scored her points early, but then got in foul trouble and was pretty much a non-factor from the second quarter on. Courtney Bradford established herself well in the post in the second half, but got into foul trouble trying to deal with the Princeton posts. I was impressed with Jazmin Fuller, but I can't necessarily put my finger on statistically why, though that might be because it's been a while and I was a bit sleep deprived last night. She gave off a general sense of 'gets things done'.

The box score says that one of the officials in this game was Cynthia Brook, but she looked an awful lot like Denise Brooks, so either the GNoD's favorite ref has a sister, or someone screwed things up in the box score. I rather liked how the crew ran the game- crisp communication, everything clear and precise- but there were a lot of what our colleague Ray has referred to as "game management" calls. Columbia received the advantage on most fifty-fifty calls and a couple of other ones besides. Not that it made a difference in the game, but it was a good close-up look at how officials try to handle a game that's wildly unbalanced between two teams who don't necessarily like each other.

Columbia was almost actively dissuading students from going to this game. I'm not sure what to think about that. I mean, yes, it probably doesn't do a lot for school spirit to watch your team get crushed like bugs, but at the same time, you shouldn't be telling people not to go to games.

It might have been a bad sign that Roar-ee was out of uniform, wearing instead a referee's stripes. When even the mascot doesn't support you, you might have a problem.

It hurts to see how far Columbia's fallen since they were at least a middling team in the Ivy a couple of years ago. On the other hand, it's good to see the promise of Princeton, in both its stars and its freshmen waiting their turn- but how long will a coach as good and well-rounded as Courtney Banghart stay in a one-bid league, even if that league is the Ivy?