PRINCETON — The Princeton Tigerettes varsity team opened the basketball season on Wednesday with a 50-38 victory over the St. Albans Lady Red Dragons.

At halftime, a Princeton win looked unlikely and a double digit victory was only a very remote possibility.

After the first two quarters, the Lady Red Dragons held a 21-14 lead. The Tigerettes were sluggish, committed 14 turnovers, shot poorly, collected a single offensive rebound and failed to connect on any three-point attempts. In sharp contrast, the opposition turned the ball only seven times, grabbed six offensive boards and drilled four three-pointers, including one just before the first-half buzzer.

Heather Webb was the top Princeton performer with six points and five rebounds.

Fortunately for Princeton, the second half did not bear any resemblance to the first half. In the last two quarters, the Tigerettes were miraculously transformed into an alert, cohesive unit playing tough defense, cutting their turnovers in half, shooting a respectable 40 percent from the field, and canning 17 of 20 foul shot attempts.

The stout Princeton defense did not allow St. Albans a field goal in the third quarter. The Lady Red Dragons managed a single free throw in the quarter. In fact, St. Albans only connected on three of 16 field goal attempts over the last two quarters.

Last year, Amanda Smith and Tesla Akers averaged a combined 28 points a game. At half time, they totaled five points. Akers and Smith, however, ignited the Tigerette offensive surge in the second half, with Smith tallying 10 of her 13 points and Akers scoring 15 of her game-high 17 points.

At the end of the third quarter, Princeton led 28-22. In the final quarter, the Tigerettes exploded for 22 points, and the game ended with Princeton firmly in command.

For the game, Akers connected on five of 10 attempts from the field, including three from behind the three-point line. Also, she converted all four of her foul shots for 17 points. In addition to her 13 points, Smith corralled eight rebounds and made five of six foul shots Heather Webb had a fine game, recording a double double with 10 points and 10 boards. She was a perfect four of four on her foul shot attempts. Brittini McClung added six points and seven rebounds, while Laura Whitt tallied four points and grabbed seven rebounds. Reserves Krystle White and Brittany Lankford did not score, but they played with no turnovers. White played a good defensive game while McClung contributed two rebounds and a steal. Because of an injury, Cheyanne Walker did not play.

Sarah Reynolds sparked the Lady Red Dragons. She canned four three pointers and tallied 16 points. She was the only St. Albans player scoring in double digits.

For the night, Princeton shot 32.6 percent from the field, an excellent 79.6 percent from the foul line, and out-rebounded St. Albans 35-23, although the Lady Red Dragons had a 10-5 advantage on the offensive boards. The Tigerettes held St. Albans to 23.8 percent shooting from the field.

In the second half, Princeton emphatically demonstrated how dynamic they can play.

The Tigerettes’ next game is at home against the Flying Eagles of Woodrow Wilson on Dec. 16. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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