NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Bella Alarie scored 25 points and Gabrielle Rush added 18 to help Princeton beat rival Penn 66-54 on Sunday and win the Ivy League Tournament, clinching the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAAs.
With the game tied at 51, Princeton (22-9) scored 15 of the final 18 points, holding Penn without a basket for the final 6:28 of the game. Rush’s layup got the game-changing run started and Julia Cunningham hit a 3-pointer with 2:19 left to make it 58-52.
Penn could get no closer the rest of the way as the Quakers missed their final eight shots. The Tigers ran out the final few seconds before celebrating in front of their bench as the clock ran out.
This was the third straight year that these two teams met for the Ivy League title. They split the first two meetings.
Ashley Russell scored 14 points to lead Penn (23-6).
The Tigers trailed by seven in the third quarter before closing to within three at the end of the period. They scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to take their first lead since early in the third period on Alarie’s layup that made it 49-47.
Princeton built a 23-17 lead early in the second quarter before Penn clamped down defensively. The Quakers held the Tigers scoreless for nearly six minutes and scored nine straight points to start a 14-4 run. Penn was up 31-27 and could have held the ball for the final possession of the half, but Princess Aghayere was called for an offensive foul with nine seconds left. Rush then made a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to get the Tigers within 31-30 at the break. Alarie, who won the conference’s player of the year award for the second time this year, had 17 of Princeton’s points in the first half.
The Ivy League announced it’s rotating the conference tournament, going to the other six schools that haven’t hosted yet over the next six years. Harvard will host the 2020 tournament. ... The two teams split their regular season matchups, winning on the opponents’ home court.
Penn: Awaits postseason tournament bid.
Princeton: Awaits NCAA Tournament seeding.