PU Women’s Hoops Snaps 7-Game Losing Streak As Senior Jordan Steps Up with Clutch Buckets
By Bill Alden
Sydney Jordan knows that she needs to be more aggressive offensively for the Princeton University women’s basketball team as it currently has three top players sidelined due to injury.
“Coach [Courtney Banghart] is looking for me to help out in the scoring,” said senior forward and co-captain Jordan.
“We need points because we have had a lot of injuries. It is finding more people to help on offense; I have been trying to help out with that.”
Last Sunday against visiting Davidson, Jordan was a big help for Princeton, scoring two key buckets in the last four minutes of the game and matching her career high with 14 points as the Tigers rallied to a 65-57 victory.
“A lot of our roles have been different than what we thought it would be when we got here at the beginning of the year,” said Jordan, a 6’0 native of Manassas, Va. who is averaging 7.7 points a game this season after scoring 5.0 points a game last winter.
“Everyone has been stepping up a lot, trying to work harder and bring each other along and bring energy. That is something we can all do.”
Stepping up down the stretch on Sunday to get the win and snapping a seven-game losing streak was a confidence builder for the Tigers, now 2-7.
“We have had some close games early in the season and we haven’t been able pull it out,” said Jordan.
“We came in this one knowing that we needed to win. We were all fired up to get a win at home to start off December the right way.”
Jordan credited sophomore guard Carlie Littlefield with getting the Tigers fired up as they ended the game with a 21-8 run over the last five minutes to wipe out a 49-44 deficit against the Wildcats.
“It was a lot from our point guard Carlie Littlefield, just telling us, ‘hey guys we need this one’ and getting on us, bringing some energy on the court,” said Jordan
Princeton head coach Banghart tipped her hat to Littlefield. “Carlie is such a warrior, I feel badly for her because she so loves to facilitate,” said Banghart of Littlefield who matched her career high with 22 points.
“The guys that she facilitates to are not in uniform yet. It has been a really heavy lift for her and I think in a way it is a lot better because she is forced to be a lot less of a facilitator and more of a scorer and when the others come back that is going to be really beneficial.”
Jordan’s steady presence is a huge benefit for the Tigers. “Sydney is someone I also feel terrible for, because she is having to play the five and she is our starting three,” said Banghart, whose team is currently missing Bella Alarie, Taylor Baur, and Qalea Ismail due to injury.
“For Syd to have to go against a 6’3 post when she is better going against the other team’s guards, it has been awesome to see her dive into that. She becomes an advantage with her speed.”
Banghart liked the way her team took advantage of Davidson down the stretch.
“The fact that that we were able to grit out out a win and execute, 10 of our last 11 possessions were scores so we actually got better as the game wore on,” said Banghart. “That was good. For us, it is exciting to be able to pull it out and hopefully it gives us a little more confidence that we can continue to grow.”
Princeton is looking for some exciting times ahead as gets its injured players back and girds for the Ivy League campaign.
“We are still learning with the young team and the college pace and that impacts how you shoot,” said Banghart, whose team hosts Quinnipiac on December 8 before playing at Monmouth on December 11.
“We have to continue to take every minute of practice and every minute of a game as we get look to January for the Penn game and then February for the Ivy League season. We have much more experience now; these are technically guys who will be off the bench. Now you have got a ton of experience off the bench, with players who are more familiar with game pace. That is a good position to be in.”
In Jordan’s view, the win over Davidson puts the Tigers in a good position going forward.
“It is going to bring so much more confidence going into the rest of December and going into Ivy season,” said Jordan.
“We know we can do this; we know we can pull out close games and that is huge for our confidence. We need to come in with energy and start every game hard, getting stops on defense and rebounding.”