Tiger Women's Hoops Gives Barron 100th Win But Needs To Raise Game Heading Into Ivy Play
By Bill Alden
Richard Barron enjoyed some nice milestones when his Princeton University women's basketball team hosted Lafayette last Saturday.
Early in the evening, Barron's wife, Maureen Barron, who is Princeton's head softball coach, strolled into Jadwin Gym with the couple's twin girls, Katherine Rae and Dorothy Lane.
Their night out at Jadwin marked the first-ever trip to an intercollegiate sporting event for the baby girls, who are six weeks old.
By the end of the night, Barron's slightly older charges provided him with the 100th win of his coaching career as the Tigers outlasted the Leopards 66-60.
In between those highlights, though, it was a largely frustrating evening for Barron as his youthful squad, which started two freshmen and two sophomores, turned in a sloppy performance in prevailing over winless but gritty Lafayette.
Overall, the Tigers shot just 38 percent from the field (19-50), made only 26.7 percent of their three-point attempts (4-15) and turned the ball over 16 times.
Princeton did show some life in the final minutes of the first half as it went on a 15-4 run to take a 29-18 halftime lead. After the break, the Tigers built that cushion into 17-point lead with just less than five minutes remaining in the contest.
Then things nearly unraveled as Princeton suffered the indignity of squandering almost the whole advantage away as the Leopards got to within five points in the last minute before succumbing.
Freshman Katy Digovich led the Tigers with 16 points while classmate Casey Lockwood recorded a double-double as she scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Sophomores Katy O'Brien and Becky Brown chipped in 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Barron wasn't exactly in a celebratory mood as he reflected on the evening. "It was one of our most poorly played games of the year," said Barron bluntly as he assessed his team's performance. "We certainly made it difficult on ourselves."
Yet the fact that the Tigers got a victory to improve to 3-9 and break a four-game losing streak did provide some consolation for Barron.
"We got a win out of it so we can't be terribly disappointed," said Barron, who is now 23-44 in his three-year tenure at Princeton after previously posting a 77-48 mark in his five seasons at the University of the South (Sewanee).
"The way we won doesn't build a lot of confidence since we nearly blew that lead. We just have to learn from our mistakes in each game and hope that we get better as the season goes along."
The subdued Barron did smile as reflected on hitting the century mark in his career. "I didn¹t think about it until someone told me about it," said Barron, as he cradled one of his daughters in his arms.
"I would've been a lot happier if we had gotten our third win earlier when I thought we had opportunities. It's certainly a nice milestone. Hopefully we'll have a lot more in the years to come."
Barron knows that his team will have to play better than it did last Saturday if it is to get many more wins this year.
"I think that we've got some talent on this team," asserted Barron, whose leading scorer coming into the evening was Brown at 12.6 points per game, followed by Digovich at 10.5, Lockwood at 10.3, and O'Brien at 9.7.
"I don't think that we've really harnessed it. I don't think we've figured out how to use it or to exploit it. I don¹t think our problem is youth as much as it is experience. Experience doing things correctly, positively."
As the Tigers start their Ivy League campaign by playing at Penn on January 9, Barron hopes that his players will be inspired by battling their league rivals.
"We have only one other non-conference game of the 15 games remaining," said Barron, whose club went 4-10 in league play last season to finish tied for fifth in the Ivy standings.
"I think playing in the league inspires our returning players and hopefully it will for our freshmen. Hopefully we can get some people to the games and give them a good show and get this season turned around in the right direction."
If the Tigers can raise their game in league play, Barron could be enjoying some more milestone evenings this winter.