#21 Princeton Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Princeton Tigers

Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #1 Ivy League

Princeton Team Page


Princeton put together an incredible run of consistency during the regular season as they went 30-0 and once again claimed the Ivy League Championship. The Tigers also climbed to as high as number 13 in both the USA Today and Associated Press polls under the direction of head coach Courtney Banghart. Coach Banghart was also named one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 greatest leaders and rightfully so as she has elevated the Princeton women’s basketball program to unprecedented levels of success.

2014-15 Record: 31-1, 14-0
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Courtney Banghart
Coach Record: 169-67 at Princeton, 169-67 overall

Shooting the basketball is a significant strength for Princeton as they shot just over 49 percent from the floor last season. They also did an excellent job defensively as opponents only shot 34.2 percent. Princeton also dominated the rebounding battle with a plus 11.2 rebounding margin. In addition, the Tigers are loaded with experience as they will start a quartet of four seniors; Michelle Miller, Alex Wheatley, Amanda Berntsen and Annie Tarakchian. This group has a dynamic mix of great shooting, relentless effort on the boards and can cause havoc at the defensive end of the basketball court. The ability to share the basketball is also another huge strength for Princeton as they averaged nearly 17 assists per game last season. This allowed the Tigers to average nearly 76 points per game last season and if they can replicate that in 2015-16, they will be tough to stop.

There are very few weaknesses with this Princeton team. Free throw shooting is an area that can always improve as the Tigers only shot 69.1 percent from the charity stripe last season. With the increased difficulty of the non-conference schedule, Princeton would benefit by getting that percentage into the low to mid 70’s. They also are not going to be able to sneak up on anyone after all the attention they received last year during the undefeated regular season. It is going to be important for the senior leadership to take control of the team right away along with replacing the lost production of Ivy League Player of the Year Blake Dietrick.

Final Projection:
It is going to be a challenge to replicate the undefeated regular season of a year ago with this schedule. Michigan visits on December 6th in a rematch of a game that the Tigers won easily in Ann Arbor 85-55. Pittsburgh also comes to Princeton on December 14th in another rematch of a game that the Tigers shut the Panthers down defensively limiting them to 43 points. The landmine in the way for Princeton in their quest to run the table again will be a road trip to play Ohio State and Dayton just before the Christmas holiday. Both the Buckeyes and Flyers will be NCAA Tournament teams once again and if the Tigers can somehow sweep that road trip, then they would have a pretty clear path toward running the table. The most likely end result of that trip is probably going to be a split of those two games. This will be another special season for Princeton as they have too much experience back to not win 30 plus games for the second season in a row. They also will land a seed higher than number eight in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Michelle Miller, Senior, Guard, 11.6 points per game
Amanda Berntsen, Senior, Guard, 6.9 points per game
Vanessa Smith, Junior, Guard, 7.5 points per game
Alex Wheatley, Senior, Forward, 10.9 points per game
Annie Tarakchian, Senior, Forward, 10.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.8 (19th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 52.6 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.1 (3, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.2 (2, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (87, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.5 (2, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.1 (168, 5)
Rebound Margin: 11.2 (6, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.9 (12, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (70, 2)


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