No. 10 Princeton University faced No. 7 North Carolina State University in the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah which saw the Tigers make a huge comeback and win 64-63. The Tigers trailed by as much as five with less than a minute and a half left, but a clutch three-pointer from Grace Stone secured the win.
One of the greatest shots in Princeton Basketball history.
Relive the call of @grace_stone10’s game-winning three-pointer! #GetStops 🐯🏀 pic.twitter.com/HLPLMZNnSv
— Princeton WBB (@PrincetonWBB) March 18, 2023
Stone and Kaitlyn Chen each ended with 22 points. Julia Cunningham ended with 14 points, and Ellie Mitchell recorded an impressive defensive game as she had 11 rebounds, four blocks and five steals.
In the opening minutes of the first quarter, neither team could find the net as both teams missed plenty of shots. Princeton did open the scoring about three minutes in after Cunningham made a jumper in the paint. Chen followed up by making two free throws then Stone made a layup before NC State started to get their offense rolling. Mimi Collins went on to make the first five points for the Wolfpack. NC State proceeded to outscore Princeton 14-12 for the rest of the first quarter. Collins continued to add points in the drive for the Wolfpack and Saniya Rivers made solid buckets as well. With a three-point shot made by Madison Hayes with five seconds left, the Wolfpack closed the gap to one as Princeton led 18-17.
NC State's offense picked up in the second quarter as they outscored the Tigers 24-17. In the first five minutes, the Wolfpack outscored Princeton 9-7. Collins started with a layup before Jada Boyd made five points of her own. After Mitchell picked up her second foul of the game, Paige Morton subbed in and made an immediate impact as she made a jumper, decreasing NC State's lead to five. The last three minutes saw plenty of made shots by both teams as they tried to grab the lead before halftime. Chen and Cunningham made Princeton's last two shots, and Rivers closed out the half with a jumper as the Wolfpack led 41-35.
TIGERS TAKE THE LEAD 🐯#MarchMadness x @PrincetonWBB pic.twitter.com/gNkWAZ4e2M
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) March 18, 2023
The Tigers are known to have a strong second half, and that's exactly what happened. The third quarter was a little shakey for the Tigers as plenty of shots that were put up, did not make it into the net. Princeton did take the lead in the opening few minutes off of two Stone three-pointers and two jumpers from Chen. River Baldwin responded for the Wolfpack as she made two free throws and a layup to tie up the game at 45. Cunningham took the lead for the Tigers again, but Collins made a jumper to tie the game up at 47. After Camille Hobby tied the game up at 50 for NC State, Jakia Brown-Turner made a three-point shot to give the team a three-point lead. Chen added a point to the Tiger's score, but two made free throws by Rivers gave the Wolfpack the 55-51 advantage going into the final quarter.
Boyd continued the scoring for NC State as she made a layup to give the team six point lead. Chen made two back-to-back jumpers to cut the deficit to two. Collins and Aziaha James combined for six points to give the Wolfpack an eight-point lead with a little under six minutes to go in the quarter. This led to Princeton head coach Carla Berube calling a time out to regroup her team. Following the timeout, Stone hit a three-pointer cutting the deficit to five. The Tigers tried to make game-winning shots, but nothing would fall as the teams went scoreless for about three minutes. Finally, Chen was able to break the drought as she made a three-pointer to bring the Tigers within one possession of taking the win. Berube came up with the game-winning play as Stone was found on the outside of the arc with plenty of time, courtesy of Madison St. Rose with a perfect screen, and sunk the shot giving Princeton a one-point lead with 4.7 seconds to go. NC State made one final push, but St. Rose came up big defensively as she forced the mistake causing the time to run out. The Tigers won, 64-63 as they continue dancing.
FINAL: PRINCETON WINS!
We huffed and puffed and sent the Wolfpack home! #GetStops 🐯🏀 pic.twitter.com/pZgHCdGHNN
— Princeton WBB (@PrincetonWBB) March 18, 2023
What's Up Next for the Tigers?
The Tigers return to the court in Salt Lake City to face the No. 2 University of Utah in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 19. You can watch your Princeton Tigers on ESPN2.
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