by LIAM BEATUS
Just two days after Barack Obama attended Princeton’s victory over Green Bay, the Tigers squared off against the Terps at College Park on Monday evening. The Princeton Tigers were the last undefeated team in women’s college hoops and ranked an 8 seed in this year’s tournament. Maryland, the number one seed in the Spokane bracket, hosted the first two rounds of their bracket. Following a victory against New Mexico St., Maryland’s next challenge was the undefeated Tigers.
“I think I jinxed us when I said, ‘You wait until the bracket comes out, whoever has to play Princeton is going to have a game,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Freese.
Behind the scenes, security was heightened for this game. UMPD received an eight minute threatening voicemail involving Leslie Robinson, the daughter of Craig Robinson, brother of Michelle Obama. Since the threat had not been reported to the public until halftime by USA Today, at tipoff, the headline was seeing if Princeton basketball had what it takes to compete against a number one seed.
Princeton did put up a great challenge and had the lead over Maryland for nearly 10 minutes of the first half. Princeton played strong inside, lead by Alex Wheatley who shut down Maryland center Brionna Jones the entire first half, limiting her to no shot attempts and just one rebound. Princeton out rebounded Maryland in the first half and looked much more poised at the start of the game. Despite this, Maryland had a 42-38 lead at half time due to converting 12 points off of Tiger turnovers.
After halftime, Laurin Mincy and Lexie Brown took over the game. Mincy scored 7 points within the first five minutes of the second half and the Terps went on a 17-2 run against the Tigers and did not look back. Brionna Jones began to win the position battles in the low post when Alex Wheatley got into foul trouble, and Jones finished with a double-double. Laurin Mincy finished with 27 points and 7 assists, both game highs, while shooting 9/11 from the field and having an 86 three point percentage.
In the post-game press conference, Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart said she knew about the threat before the game and did not tell Robinson about it. “Keep the freaks out of the gym,” Banghart said as she expressed her disappointment in dealing with this issue following her team’s undefeated season. No threatening action took place at the game.
Princeton finished their season 31-1 with an Ivy League title. Maryland improves to 32-2 and will face Duke Saturday at 4:30 p.m.