Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 49
 
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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POSTING UP: Princeton University women’s basketball star Devona Allgood, right, rises above a foe in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore center Allgood scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in a losing cause as the Tigers fell 60-50 to visiting Rutgers. Princeton, now 5-2, was slated to play at Rider on December 8 before hosting Lafayette on December 19.

With Allgood Continuing to Grow in Post, PU Women’s Basketball Produces 5-2 Start

Bill Alden

Devona Allgood got a rude awakening when the Princeton University women’s basketball team played at perennial power Rutgers early last season.

Competing in just the second game of her college career, Allgood was held scoreless in nine minutes of play, grabbing one rebound and picking up three fouls as the Tigers got routed 83-35.

Last Saturday as Princeton hosted Rutgers for this year’s installment in the local rivalry, the 6’3 Allgood displayed the growth in her game, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high nine rebounds as the Tigers put up a fierce battle before falling 60-50 to the Scarlet Knights.

In reflecting on her performance, Allgood was proud of how far she has come from that rough night against the Scarlet Knights last November.

“Rutgers was our second game so that was a bit of a shock,” said Allgood.

“You play more games and you feel a lot more comfortable on the court. They have some pretty big girls. I just go out there every night and try to play with as much energy and effort as I can.”

The Tigers displayed plenty of energy collectively last Saturday as they jumped out to a 13-2 lead and had a 24-14 advantage with 7:51 remaining in the half. Rutgers, though, didn’t fold as it went in a 14-0 run to change the tone of the contest.

“In the college game, people go on runs and you have to be prepared for their runs,” said Allgood. “We had our runs but there was quite some time when we just couldn’t score. We tried to play it. We played hard on defense to try to counter that.”

Midway through the second half, Princeton found itself trailing 44-34. The Tigers reeled off seven unanswered points to draw within 44-41 but could get no closer than that as they dropped to 5-2 on the season.

Allgood liked the way Princeton hung in there against the Scarlet Knights.

“We played tough,” asserted the center from Huntersville, N.C. “We took the ball up hard and stayed with it; that was something to be proud of. I think we are a very good team; to be able to compete with some of the better teams in other conferences is a huge plus.”

Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart was impressed with the way her players competed on a night when their shots weren’t falling.

“Our kids don’t care who they are playing; they care more about the Princeton across their chest than they do about whatever jersey their opponents are wearing,” said Banghart, whose team shot 30 percent on the night, hitting 15-of-50 shots from the field.

“I am disappointed for them, not at them. I know they wanted that win; we didn’t shoot well but we got a lot of toughness points.”

The third-year head coach acknowledged that her team ran into a tough stretch when Rutgers produced its game-changing run late in the first half.

“I always tell our kids the game is alternating currents; we shot well and moved the ball well and then they shot the ball and moved the ball well,” said Banghart, whose team committed a season-high 28 turnovers on the night.

“I thought we came unglued a little bit in terms of a lot of turnovers. I thought those were based on hesitation instead of aggression which is not like us.”

The Tigers need Allgood to be aggressive in the paint if they are to have a big season.

“The reason why Devona hasn’t had more double-doubles is that we haven’t been getting her the ball enough,” said Banghart of Allgood, who is averaging 9.3 points and 6.7 points a game.

“At the beginning of the season, it was because she wasn’t posting up. Now over the past two weeks, our guards weren’t getting it to her so we are now working on playing guards and post together and you saw that tonight. It’s been a lot of effort getting them to play together; not because we care who scores but to help our team, we need Devona involved.”

The Tigers have been getting a lot of help on a nightly basis from freshman phenom Niveen Rasheed, who had a team-high 19 points in the defeat to Rutgers.

“Whether it is a drill, shootaround, practice, or game, she doesn’t care; she just competes,’ said Banghart of her 6’0 guard, who is averaging 17.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.

“The exciting part about Niveen is that she doesn’t know she is the leading scorer in the Ivy League; she doesn’t care, she just wants to win. Everyone loves her and so do we. She is fun to watch, she competes. From a coaching standpoint, it is fun to know what she is going to give us which is 100 percent every possession.”

The Tigers will look to keep up their promising start this week as they play at Rider on December 8 before hosting Lafayette on December 12.

“I want us to be able to play as one, post and guards playing together,” said Banghart. “I want us to compete. Our trademark is that we play hard.”

Allgood, for her part, thinks the Tigers can compete better and better as the season goes on.

“The more we play together, the better we play,” said Allgood. “We play pretty well together; it will all fall together hopefully more by the Ivy League season. We are definitely going in the right direction. We are a fairly young team. For us to play as well as we have been, it has been nice.”

It is nice for Princeton to have Allgood emerging as an inside force.

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