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PRINCETON — The Princeton women’s basketball team fielded questions all week about the possibility of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers, however, were never going to leave their fate in the hands of the selection committee.
Not when they blitzed Penn in the semifinal with the game’s first 16 points; and not even when they trailed Harvard by 11 midway through the third quarter.
Kaitlyn Chen scored 21 points, Ellie Mitchell had the go-ahead field goal in the final minute and top-seeded Princeton punched its ticket to the dance with a 54-48 victory over third-seeded Harvard on Saturday night at Jadwin Gymnasium.
The Tigers (23-5) are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time — all since 2010 — as winners of 15 straight after they put the clamps on the Crimson (17-11) in the fourth quarter.
Princeton out-scored Harvard, 17-4, over the final 10 minutes and took its first lead in the second half when Mitchell converted inside with 49.7 seconds left. Mitchell recorded her second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
McKenzie Forbes netted 16 points for the Crimson, who surged in front with a 9-0 run to close the first half. Harvard picked off Princeton in the Ivy opener at the end of December, and nearly completed a season sweep before a late Tigers rally, much like the one in Saturday night’s final, rescued the game and a regular-season title.
Princeton, which reached the round of 32 last year, will find out its NCAA Tournament seed during Sunday night’s selection show.
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