The No. 9-seeded Green Bay women went into the NCAA tournament Saturday hoping the glass slipper would fit against previously unbeaten No. 8 Princeton.
The Phoenix (28-5) led by three late in the first half and took a 35-34 lead at halftime, but in the end, it was the glass that determined Princeton’s 80-70 win in the first round game in College Park, Maryland. The Tigers (31-0) outrebounded the Phoenix 49-22, and had almost as many offensive rebounds as Green Bay had total boards.
“So much of what we do is generate offense off our defense, so we have to rebound well,” Green Bay sophomore Tesha Buck (Mdewakanton Sioux) told ICTMN. “We like to all crash the boards so we can get the outlet and go.”
That didn’t happen against Princeton, and it eventually let the Tigers back into what had turned into a real street fight. Princeton’s Annie Tarakchian controlled the defensive end with 14 of her game-high rebounds coming on the defensive glass. Tiger forward Alex Wheatley took over on the offensive end with six offensive boards. Tarakchian (19 points, 17 rebounds) and Wheately (15 points, 10 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles.
Princeton used a 15-3 run to take a 60-48 lead with around 9 minutes left on Wheatley's fastbreak layup to end Green Bay’s 11-game winning streak. Buck, who was the Horizon League Tournament MVP, finished with 14 points and six assists in her first NCAA Tournament experience. She was 6 of 21 from the field and just 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
President Obama and members of the first family were in attendance. Obama's niece, freshman forward Leslie Robinson, did not appear in the game for Princeton.