Photo by Mark Carosiello

Princeton defeats Rhode Island after buzzer-beater from Grace Stone

On Wednesday, the Princeton University Tigers faced the University of Rhode Island Rams at Jadwin Gym in a non-conference matchup that saw the Tigers win 56-54. Junior Kaitlyn Chen recorded 21 points to lead the team, and sophomore Parker Hill had a standout performance with 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks to beat her previous season-highs in those categories. 

"We're riding a high, that was a close game, but it was really exciting. I think we're going to take that confidence and that momentum right into the start of the [Ivy League] season," Hill said.

Princeton improved to 8-3 overall and Rhode Island fell to 9-3.

Both defenses limited the scoring in the first quarter. Hill used her height as an advantage scoring six points, even with the defensive pressure from Rhode Island. Junior Ellie Mitchell recorded five rebounds to help the Tigers keep the possession. The quarter ended 15-11 in favor of the Rams, who were looking to continue to keep Princeton away from the basket.

Princeton struggled to score in the second quarter as Rhode Island’s defensive pressure was still prominent. The Rams found some loopholes in the Tigers’ defense to pick up some easy points. A deep three-point shot from senior Grace Stone cut off Rhode Island’s dominance to get the Tigers to within three. Following that play, freshman Madison St. Rose scored a layup to get the Tigers within one. Hill kept her shots going and recorded a block to deny Rhode Island two points toward the end of the quarter. Hill then came up with a steal with less than 1:30 to go in the quarter, and Chen scored an uncontested layup. For the Rams, graduate student Sayawni Lassiter led the team with seven points to close out the quarter 26-22.

Princeton shot 30 percent from the paint and 33 percent from beyond the arc, while Rhode Island shot 40 percent from the paint and 33 percent from beyond the arc.

To start the third quarter, Mitchell recorded a steal before sending it to Chen, who made the layup uncontested. Chen became the Tigers' first player in double digits after two back-to-back jumpers. Hill continues her perfect scoring streak with a layup under the basket to improve to 5-5 in the paint. In the last five minutes of the quarter, Princeton went on a 10-2 run to grab their first lead of the afternoon. Chen and Hill ended the quarter with 12 points which helped give Princeton what they needed to tie the game at 38.

Chen and Hill continued putting the ball through the net to finish out the game. Mitchell got her first points of the game for a layup under the basket before Chen kept her point tally going with an offensive rebound and a layup. Senior Julia Cunningham hit a jumper with 1:05 left to get the Tigers one point ahead of the Rams. Stone was fouled and made one of her two free throws to give the Tigers a two-point lead after the Rams could not equalize on their last drive. Rhode Island jumped ahead with 25.6 seconds left after graduate student Madison Hattix-Covington scored a layup and one. Chen was fouled and was able to tie the game at 54 after scoring one of her two free throws. With six seconds left, Stone was able to score a buzzer-beater to give the Tigers a 56-54 win over Rhode Island.

Princeton finished shooting 40 percent from the paint and just 10 percent from beyond the arc. Rhode Island finished shooting 33 percent from the paint and 25 percent from beyond the arc.

What's Up Next for the Princeton Tigers

The Tigers travel to face Harvard University on New Year's Eve at 12 p.m. to start their Ivy League campaign. You can watch your Princeton Tigers on ESPN.