Princeton tops Columbia 75-58 to win Ivy Tournament for the 5th straight time

NEW YORK (AP) — Coach Carla Berube has Princeton headed back to a familiar place — the NCAA Tournament.

Madison St. Rose scored 18 points, Kaitlyn Chen added 17 and the Tigers beat Columbia 75-58 on Saturday to win the Ivy League, earning the conference's tournament for a fifth straight time.

“I think it's just a standard our coaches set day in and day out,” said Chen, who was the outstanding player of the tournament for a third straight year. “The people who came before us set that standard. We try to live up to it.”

Princeton (25-4) has been in the championship game of the Ivy Tournament every year since its inception in 2017. There was no tournament in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus. Princeton has won an NCAA Tournament game each of the last two years, pulling off upsets as an 11-seed in 2022 and 10-seed in 2023.

“We're experienced now at the NCAA level and March Madness. Ellie (Mitchell) and Kaitlyn have been there a couple of times. Experience can help us,” Princeton coach Carla Berube said. “We have a lot of young players and new players that haven't been on this journey and these leaders will help us along.”

Columbia (23-6) was playing in the finals for the second-time ever. The Lions, who were hosting the women's and men's Ivy Tournament this year for the first time, lost to Princeton in the 2022 championship game as well.

The Tigers got going early behind Chen and St. Rose to take a 19-14 lead after one quarter. Princeton extended the lead to 34-27 at the half.

Princeton was able to take control in the third quarter behind solid offensive rebounding by Ellie Mitchell, who became the school's all-time leader in the category in the semifinal win over Penn. On one possession, she tapped the ball out on an offensive rebound which led to a 3-pointer by Ashley Chea that made it 46-32, giving the Tigers their biggest lead of the game to that point.

“Today we were all locked in and we're one collective group together,” Chen said. “Felt that calmness and energy from all my teammates and that helped me going too.”

Columbia never got within single digits the rest of the way.

““It’s a bit empty. Feel anger,” said Ivy League Player of the Year Abbey Hsu, who led Columbia with 20 points. "I love playing in a Columbia uniform and love playing along these players. It was disappointing because it wasn’t Columbia basketball out there.”

Cecelia Collins and Kitty Henderson added 13 each for the Lions, who have only lost twice now in their last 23 games with both those defeats coming to Princeton.

“We will process this loss tonight and tomorrow morning and come back together and attack whatever is ahead of us,” Henderson said. “We believe we are an NCAA team and we'll attack whatever happens.”

The two teams shared the Ivy League regular season title with their only losses coming to each other. Princeton got the the top seed in the tournament by virtue of having a higher net ranking.

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