Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 46
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
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BANNER DAY: Princeton University women’s basketball star Devona Allgood works in the paint in action last season. Last Saturday, junior center Allgood scored 20 points with seven rebounds, three blocks, and three steals to help Princeton rout visiting Fairleigh Dickinson University 78-37 in the season opener for both teams. Allgood was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her performance. The game was preceded by a “Raising the Banner” ceremony during which the NCAA banner the Princeton squad earned last season was unveiled. The Tigers will look to keep on the winning track when they play at perennial power Rutgers on November 18.

Junior Center Allgood Enjoys Banner Day as PU Women’s Hoops Routs FDU in Opener

Bill Alden

Moments before the tip-off last Saturday in the season-opener against Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), Devona Allgood and her teammates were all smiles as last winter’s achievements were recognized.

In a pregame ceremony, the NCAA banner the squad earned last season was unveiled and the litany of what the Tigers accomplished as they went 26-3 overall and 14-0 in Ivy League play was detailed to the crowd at Jadwin Gym.

“It was a great moment; just to see it unveiled and to see our accomplishment for everybody to see,” said Allgood.

“It was just a great feeling, especially since we don’t have anything up saying we have been to the tournament. It was just like the cherry on top of last year.”

The faces on the Princeton players went from smiles to grim determination once the game tipped off.

“That was last year and now that the games are starting again, it is a whole new year and we have to start all over,” said Allgood.

“We have got to start the year with the same intensity we did last year so we can have another great season. The first game is a statement to show that we have worked hard this summer and the things we did last year mean absolutely nothing.”

The Tigers didn’t waste any time making a statement last Saturday, jumping out to a 31-20 lead and then going on a 25-0 run late in the first half and into the second on the way to a 78-37 thrashing of the Knights.

The 6’3 Allgood displayed the work she has put in over the offseason to be more of a force inside, scoring 20 points with seven rebounds, three blocks, and three steals.

“I try to keep in mind the goals I set in the beginning of the year and being aggressive is one of them,” said Allgood, who averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds a game last season. “I am hoping that I am showing that; my coach will get on me if I am not.”

Allgood showed a fine shooting touch as she made six of her first seven shots on the way to an 8-for-11 performance.

“My shooting happened to be there today; it felt kind of good,” said Allgood, who was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her effort.

“The second half wasn’t so great as far as my jumpers but we have each other’s back. When it is not working for one, another one is shooting well. It’s great; we have plenty of scorers.”

For Allgood, it is the team’s work on the defensive end that takes precedence.

“When we start games, it is all about defense,” asserted Allgood. “Defense is how we win. If we start high and end low in the first half, we have to make sure that we come out with a better intensity on defense. That’s the defining factor; that is how we win games. We just think about each play and work hard on each play.”

Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart liked the way her players got to work after the pre-game festivities.

“I told my kids before they came out that I wanted them to enjoy everything about that banner unveiling,” said Banghart.

“I said that when the national anthem comes on to shift focus. You guys did a lot of good work last year and you should celebrate it and then we’ll get back to business.’”

Banghart was particularly impressed by the way her team took care of its business on the defensive end.

“I thought they were disciplined with the scouting report; we almost knew what they were doing better than they did,” said Banghart, whose team held the Knights to 26 percent shooting as FDU hit on just 13-of-50 shots.

“I was really pleased with that and how they were communicating on the floor. They were taking charge; they had each other’s backs. You saw that in the second half when things got really physical.”

Princeton also worked well together offensively, as three players hit double figures and 12 got in the scoring column.

“We have to be unselfish and share the ball but we also have to be willing to attack,” said Banghart, who got 14 points from Niveen Rasheed and 12 from Lauren Edwards in addition to the 20 scored by Allgood,

“I was really pleased with the combination of those two things. Each of us has to be looking for our own but willing to involve our teammates. For this early in the year, I was pretty pleased with our offense. It is the first game of the year and we have only been practicing a month.”

Banghart was more than pleased with Allgood’s performance. “Devona has worked hard on her physicality; she is tougher, quicker, and more confident,” said Banghart.

“She is key for us and she knows it. I was pleased with what she showed tonight; it’s what I have been seeing in practice.”

The Tigers will need to show even more toughness this Thursday as they play at perennial national power Rutgers (0-2). The Scarlet Knights have dominated the series between the local rivals, holding a 14-3 edge over the Tigers, including 11 straight wins.

In reflecting on the match-up, Banghart acknowledged that her team will have its hands full.

“We just focus on one game at a time, “ said Banghart. “Pete [Cinella] from FDU asked me before the game what I think of Rutgers and I said I haven’t seen a minute of them yet. Tomorrow, I’ll be dealing heavily with Rutgers. I don’t know much except about them except that they lost their leading scorer and they have always been very physical defensively. They are coming off Cal and Stanford so they are probably going to come home with two losses in a row. It’s their home opener; we have to be ready to fight from the first tip.”

Allgood, for her part, is ready to battle the Scarlet Knights. “Rutgers has been one of our biggest competitors in the area,” said Allgood, who had 14 points and nine rebounds in Princeton’s 60-50 loss to Rutgers last season.

“We always look forward to those games because they are a great team. We just come out ready to play each game. They are one of our next ones and we are going to come out ready to play just like we did in this one.”

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