Named Princeton head coach in late May after Courtney Banghart left New Jersey to take over the head coaching position at North Carolina, Carla Berube has led the Tigers to nine wins in their first 10 games. The latest victories last week came against Hartford and Penn State.
The two-time defending Ivy League champions hired Berube, who played collegiately at UConn and was head coach at Tufts for the last 17 years, to maintain the momentum of the program. So far this season, the Tigers have not skipped a beat.
Against Hartford on Dec. 10, Princeton's defense put the clamps down as it handled the Hawks 73-42. The Tigers held Hartford to 27.6 percent shooting from the floor and didn't allow more than five baskets in any quarter. Princeton had nine players score in the game, highlighted by four in double figures. Carlie Littlefield led the team with 12 points while Ellie Mitchell, Julia Cunningham and Taylor Baur each had 11 points. Princeton registered 27 points off of 23 turnovers and had 14 steals in rolling to the win.
In the 72-55 win over Big Ten foe Penn State on Dec. 14, Littlefield and Bella Alarie combined for 48 points as Princeton won its fifth straight game. Littlefield set a new career-high with 25 points, while adding three steals and two rebounds. Returning from injury, Alarie registered 19 of her 23 points in the first half, finishing with five rebounds, three blocks and two steals in just 27 minutes. Princeton allowed one basket over the final 5:08 of the first quarter, flipping an 11-7 deficit to an 15-13 lead. Eleven of the Tigers' points came off of turnovers. The Tigers' ferocious defense continued in the second quarter as the Lions' first tallies came at the 4:29 mark. Princeton led by as many as 16 before holding a 40-28 halftime advantage. Already ahead by 15, Princeton used an 8-3 sprint to wrap up the third quarter and put the game away as their margin ballooned to 21 points at 61-40.
Included in Princeton’s nine wins in November/December are victories over George Washington, Seton Hall, Florida Gulf Coast and Marist. Its lone loss came on the road at Iowa, 77-75 in overtime, on Nov. 20. The Tigers are holding opponents to 52.6 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the floor.
Princeton will next head to the midwest to take on Missouri (Dec. 18) and St. Louis (Dec. 20).