No. 22 Princeton remains unbeaten with 83-54 rout of Penn
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — After losing the Ivy League title to rival Penn in the final game of the regular season last year, Blake Dietrick and the Princeton Tigers wanted to make a statement in the conference opener this year.
They did just that.
Dietrick scored 22 points, including the 1000th of her career, to help No. 22 Princeton stay unbeaten with an 83-54 win over the Quakers on Saturday.
“We did bring it up before the game in the locker room before we ran out,” Dietrick said of the loss at home “We remember that feeling.”
The victory kept the Tigers (17-0, 1-0 Ivy) as one of three undefeated teams left in the country after No. 3 Texas lost at Iowa State earlier Saturday. They join No. 1 South Carolina and No. 14 Mississippi State as the only teams without losses so far this year.
“We do pay attention, it’s not our focus and not what’s driving us to win,” Dietrick said of being unbeaten. “We compete and hope it helps with our seed.”
Princeton, which entered the Top 25 this week for the only the second time in program history, will now go on its annual three-week break for exams. The Tigers were ranked No. 24 in the final poll of 2012. The school became the first from the Ivy League to ever get ranked that season.
“Our goal is to win the next game every time,” said Annie Tarakchian, who had a career-best 17 rebounds. “17-0 is really cool, but the end of the day we’re focusing on the next game and getting the next win and getting to the NCAAs.”
Princeton, behind its star senior guard Dietrick, jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the Quakers (7-5, 0-1). Penn rallied to within 20-17 before Princeton blew the game open with a 13-3 run. Dietrick got the run started with a 3-pointer for her milestone point. She also added layup after getting a steal.
“Blake, if you give her any space she’s going to hurt you,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said.
The Tigers led 35-25 at the half and scored the first 11 points after intermission to put the game away.
Michelle Miller added 15 points and Alex Wheatley 13 for the Tigers.
Kara Bonenberger scored 21 points to lead the Quakers.
BEEN THERE BEFORE
Penn lost at home to Princeton in the Ivy League opener by 30 points last season before beating them on the road in the season finale.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Blake Dietrick became the 22nd Princeton player to surpass 1,000 career points in the program’s 44-year history.
“I’m so grateful I got to do it with this group of people,” Dietrick said. “They pick me up when I have bad games. I’m so happy it happened at home, it’s a nice treat.”
Coach Courtney Banghart knows how great her senior leader is.
“I think Blake is a really special example of our program,” Banghart said. “She came in and bleeds Princeton from the beginning. ... All the numbers are gravy as she does things the right way.”
Penn: The Quakers won their first Big 5 championship this past week when Renee Busch hit a 3-pointer with 25.1 seconds left to help Penn beat Temple 52-50. The school’s previous best finish in the Philadelphia basketball conference was third.
Princeton: The Tigers are 8-0 in Ivy League openers under Banghart. ... The Tigers returned home for the first time in nearly a month. Their last home game was on Dec. 19, a 71-point win over Portland State. The only Ivy League men’s or women’s team that has gotten off to a better start than the Tigers is the 1970-71 Penn men’s team that won its first 28 games.
Penn hosts Richmond on Wednesday.
Princeton visits Harvard on Jan. 30.
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