PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team dropped its season-opening contest to reigning Ivy League champs Princeton, 69-59, Sunday afternoon at Hagan Arena. The Hawks were paced by junior Ilze Gotfrida's (Dobele, Latvia/Rigas Secondary School No. 49) 14 points and a 13 points, 10 rebound double-double from redshirt senior Chatilla van Grinsven (Helmond, Netherlands/Dr. Knippenberg), but couldn't overcome an early second half deficit.
Playing to a 30-30 draw in the first half, Saint Joseph's (0-1) fell behind quickly in the second half as the Tigers opened with a 13-3 run to take a 43-33 edge on a three-pointer by Nicole Hung at 16:06.
The Hawks quickly countered with a 10-2 run as senior Ashley Prim (Ansonia, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) and Gotfrida combined for the 10 points, with a three-point play by Prim bringing SJU within one possession, 45-43.
Both teams would exchange short runs as Princeton (1-0) clung to a 55-51 lead with just over six minutes to go. However, Hung took over for the Tigers, running off six straight points to make it a 61-51 contest with 3:17 remaining.
Saint Joseph's fought back to make it a 64-59 game on a three pointer by junior Erin Shields (Drexel Hill, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) with just under a minute to play, but Princeton would seal the game from the foul line, hitting 5-of-6 free throws to end the game.
In the first half, the game remained tight through out the 20 minutes, with the Tigers building up their biggest lead, 27-21, with 4:38 left in the stanza.
Down 30-24, the Hawks finished the half with a flurry, scoring six straight points in the final 90 seconds to tie the game at 30 all, as van Grinsven's fast break layup slipped through the netting before the halftime buzzer sounded.
For the game, Saint Joseph's shot 40.4 percent from the field (23-of-57), 27.3 percent from three-point range (6-of-22) and 63.6 percent from the foul line (7-of-11). At the other end, Princeton converted 37.9 percent (25-of-66), 41.7 percent from behind the arc (5-of-12) and 66.7 percent from the foul line (14-of-21).
Individually, Prim added a game-high eight assists to go with 13 points and six rebounds, while redshirt sophomore Natasha Cloud (Broomall, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara) added eight points, four rebounds and four assists. Shields converted a pair of three pointers for six points, while redshirt junior Kelsey Berger (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) had five points in her SJU debut.
Niveen Rasheed led three Tigers in double figures, scoring 14 points to go with a team-high eight rebounds and four assists.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday at Drexel at 7 p.m.