Berger’s late layup sends Indiana past Princeton 56-55

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Grace Berger scored the last of her 15 points on a spinning, tiebreaking layup with 28.2 seconds left and Nicole Cardano-Hillary added 12 points Monday night help to help third-seeded Indiana beat 11th-seed Princeton 56-55 and reach its second straight Sweet 16.

Ali Patberg sealed the win in her home finale with a steal with 3.8 seconds left and Aleksa Gulbe closed it out with two free throws.

The Hoosiers (24-8) have won five of their last six and swept the first two NCAA Tournament games they’ve ever hosted – in front of a loud, large crowd. Indiana also has tied its single-season school record for wins.

Afterward the Hoosiers celebrated by jogging into the student section as the band played the school fight song and then lifted coach Teri Moren after the alma mater played. Indiana now faces either second-seeded UConn or seventh-seeded UCF on Saturday in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Hoosiers advanced on a night Princeton (25-5) was trying to post a tourney record ninth victory by a double-digit seed. Instead, the Tigers had their 18-game winning streak snapped while shooting 32.8% from the field and three of its top players got into early foul trouble.

Julia Cunningham and Grace Stone each scored 13 to lead Princeton. Ivy League player of the year Abby Meyers had 11 points, going just 3 of 14 from the field and missing her first six 3-point attempts before making her last as the buzzer sounded.

The Ivy League tourney champs sure made it tough on Indiana.

After trailing 39-29 at halftime, the Tigers stingy defense limited Indiana to just three baskets in the third quarter as they pulled within 45-42.

And when Ellie Mitchell capped an 8-0 run early in the fourth with a layup at the 5:19 mark, Princeton led 50-49.

Cardona-Hillary’s layup gave Indiana the lead, but Princeton answered with two free throws from Meyers with 1:12 to go.

Berger tied the score by making 1 of 2 free throws with 58.1 seconds left and then broke the tie with her layup on a play called during a timeout before Gulbe closed it out.

BIG PICTURE

Princeton: Women’s basketball fans need to pay attention to what coach Carla Berube is building. They Tigers already have one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, balanced scoring and play with discipline that’s hard to match. It’s why they beat Southeastern Conference tourney champ Kentucky on Saturday and gave the Big Ten tourney runner-up everything it could handle Monday. And only one key player, Meyers, is a senior.

Indiana: The Hoosiers survived in front of the third-largest crowd in school history, 9,627. And they needed all the energy the crowd could muster. But after making the deepest tourney run in school history last year, to the Elite Eight, and hosting NCAA tourney games for the first time, Indiana wasn’t going to let any foe to deter it from making another Sweet 16 run.

UP NEXT

Indiana faces either second-seeded UConn or seventh-seeded UCF on Saturday in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Yale edges Princeton 66-64 to win Ivy League tournament

Rachel O'Driscoll / Stringer / Getty Images
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Azar Swain scored 23 points and Yale held on for a 66-64 victory over Princeton to win the Ivy League tournament on Sunday.

The Bulldogs will play in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time. Yale last went to the NCAAs in 2019 and was to be the league representative for the cancelled 2020 event. The Ivy League cancelled its 2020-21 season.

Second-seeded Yale, which led nearly the entire game, was up by nine with a minute left. But Ethan Wright hit a 3-pointer and Jaelin Llewellyn added two more, the final one with 24 seconds remaining, to get the top-seeded Tigers within two after Yale’s Bez Mbeng had made a pair of free throws for Yale.

After Yale’s Isaiah Kelly missed two free throws with 14.4 seconds to go, Llewellyn drove inside but his effort to kick out a pass went off the bottom of the backboard and struck him as he went out of bounds with 1.5 left. Yale, which had two five-second violations in the final minutes, threw a long inbounds pass that Llewellyn intercepted but his desperation heave wasn’t close.

Swain shot 9 of 21 with three 3-pointers. Mbeng added 13 points and 11 rebounds plus three steals and Matt Knowling had 12 points and five assists for the Bulldogs (19-11), who split with Princeton during the regular season but finished a game back of the first-place Tigers.

Tosan Evbuomwan scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and five assists for Princeton (23-6), which came in on an eight-game win streak. Llewellyn added 18 points and Wright 15. Princeton, ranked in the top 10 nationally in field-goal (49.05) and 3-point percentage (38.99) and eighth in scoring offense (80.4), shot 41%, made 10 of 30 from the arc and tied their season low for points.

Yale took a 7-4 lead on a Bbeng 3-pointer and led the rest of the way, holding a 32-25 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs led by as many as 11 in the second half, holding off several Princeton charges.

Yale shot 46%, made 6 of 17 from the arc and was plus-nine on the boards.