The UC Riverside women’s basketball team lost a four point game to the Princeton Tigers of the Ivy League, 72-68 at the Student Recreation Center. The Highlanders were down 20 points in the first half, but rallied in the second, cutting the deficit to four points. On multiple occasions UCR was unable to make plays late to complete the comeback. The Tigers strutted out of the Student Recreation Center having defeated Riverside 72-68.

The game was competitive early in the first half. The Highlanders led 10-7 with 13:50 left in the first.  The Princeton Tigers then went on a 20-0 run after the Highlanders led 15-10. UCR was out of rhythm during that stretch, missing shots and turning the ball over. Defensively, they gave up layups and three pointers that Princeton took advantage of, extending their lead to 15 points.

Princeton spread the floor out with their signature offense using backdoor cutting with tons of player movement, screening and passing. UC Riverside allowed Princeton to shoot 55 percent in the first half, which put the Highlanders in a 39-19 deficit with 2:53 left. The Highlanders fought back, cutting the lead to 12 with their strong defense that forced the Tigers to miss shots and crash the boards, limiting second chance opportunities.

A three pointer by Tre’Shonti Nottingham at the end of the first half sparked the Highlanders going into the second half. With 16:00 minutes remaining, the Highlanders trailed the Tigers 50-35. UC Riverside picked up the defensive pressure by forcing 11 turnovers. They capitalized on those turnovers, going on a 15-4 run with three pointers by Tre’Shonti Nottingham and Kiara Harewood in a span of four minutes.

Both teams went back and forth within the next eight minutes. Defensive stops were crucial and making shots were key in the closing minutes of the game . Both teams traded baskets until Princeton, led by Niveen Rasheed and Alex Wheatley, created plays for their team as the Tigers scored whenever the Highlanders were closing the gap.

The Highlanders were down 12, 72-60 with 3:20 left in the game, when UC Riverside picked up the defensive pressure again by forcing the Tigers to speed up the the flow of the game and miss shots. Nottingham made a three pointer that gave UCR life as it helped manufacture an 8-0 run within a three minute time span. Princeton had time on their side and ran the clock down as the Highlanders’ rally fell short.

Tre’Shonti Nottingham led the team with 31 points and four assists. Brittany Crain added 20 points and Kiara Harewood added seven points. Both Crain and Harewood  led the team with 12 rebounds.  UC Riverside’s 10 turnovers put them in a deficit in the first half, as well as shooting the ball 37 percent overall.

The three point shooting kept the Highlanders in the game. The Highlanders shot 4-7 from three point range in the first half and 6-11 in the second half, resulting in 55 percent shooting as a team. A slow start for Riverside early in the game put themselves in a tough spot.  The team’s toughness showed in the second half by chipping away at the 15 point deficit, but they were not able to make enough plays to help win the game.