‘Playing for Princeton has been everything for me’

Tigers fall to West Virginia in first round of NCAA Tournament

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The Princeton Tigers 2023-24 women’s basketball season officially came to end when the team lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to West Virginia.

The Tigers (25-5, 13-1 Ivy League) season may have ended when they were defeated by the Mountaineers, 63-53, in Iowa City, Iowa on March 23, but the loss did not take away from the team’s achievements this season.

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“This is one game and one loss on an amazing season that we had,” Coach Carla Berube said in the postgame press conference, who praised her entire team for “giving this program everything they had.”

who added she could not be more proud of Kaitlyn Chen and Madison St. Rose, of her entire team, of her senior class in particular Captains Ellie Mitchell, Chet Nweke and Chen for giving this program everything they had.

She praised her captains senior guard Kaitlyn Chen, senior forward Ellie Mitchell, and senior guard Chet Nweke as three people who cared, wanted to be great, who got in the gym and are amazing people.

“I’m going to miss them very much, but I think they have left an incredible legacy, left it better than they came,” she said.

“I think they left a great legacy and blueprint on how you go about things, how you work, how you care about this program and your teammates and your coaches.”

In the opening round against the Mountaineers, the Tigers were led by sophomore guard Madison St. Rose who scored 22 points, grabbed three rebounds, and had two steals; Chen followed with 17 points, two assists, two steals and two rebounds; and Mitchell posted three points, 15 rebounds, and five assists.

“Playing for Princeton has been everything for me,” Chen said, as she wiped tears from her face. “I could not have done anything without my amazing coaches and teammates.

“I think I’m going to miss that the most.”

Chen, for a third year in a row, earned the Ivy Madness tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, which is the most so far for the tournament. Statistically in her senior season, she averaged 15.8 points per game (ppg), 4.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals.

“It is going to be tough not being able to play next to Maddy, Ellie, and Chet and to play for coach and our amazing coaching staff,” she said. “But this place and this program has given me the best three to four years of my life.

“I’ve met such amazing people and I’m so grateful for that experience and I couldn’t be happier than here than anywhere else.”

According to Princeton Athletics, Chen’s scoring in her Tigers career has landed as the 12th best all-time at Princeton with 1,276 points scored.

Mitchell in her senior season averaged 5.4 ppg, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals. Her Princeton career collection of 1,125 rebounds has made Mitchell the school’s all-time rebounds leader for both the women’s and men’s teams.

“Just moving forward thinking about how much we are about to lose … the amount of heart and just life these seniors have put into this team, it really is going to suck,” St. Rose said, adding that her confidence definitely changed from last year and she could not really do that without her teammates especially leaders Chen, Mitchell and Nweke.

“I’m really going to miss them so much.”

The Tigers this postseason earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament when the team traveled to New York for Ivy Madness and defeated the second-seeded Columbia Lions, 75-58, inside Levien Gym to become Ivy League Tournament champions.

This was the fifth straight Ivy League Tournament Championship and fifth straight year the Tigers earned the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers Ivy League Madness championship title was also Berube’s 100th win as the Princeton Tigers women’s basketball head coach.

Berube said looking forward the team has some “great, talented, skilled, hardworking” players coming back.

“Maddy is one of them, Skye, there is a great group we really have not seen too much of that I am absolutely, just excited to coach moving forward,” she said. “It is a great group coming back. I know my staff, who is absolutely amazing, is going to a great job of developing this younger group.”

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