She hopes to change that this season.
Three times, Rasheed has seen the Tigers reach the NCAAs and come away empty, including last season’s three-point loss to Kansas State. She doesn’t want it to be four straight.
“She and the other seniors are so hungry for that first tournament win,” Princeton coach Courtney Banghart said. “The culture has definitely changed here that we expect to win now. This senior class wants to be the first to do it.”
Making the NCAAs for a fourth straight year isn’t a given. After all, the Tigers have 11 games left to play in the conference. But if past years are any indication, a fourth straight league title is merely a formality.
The Tigers (12-5, 3-0 Ivy) have won 27 straight conference games _ the fourth-longest active streak in the country _ and 49 of the past 50. The lone blemish was a loss against Harvard in 2011. Rasheed didn’t play in that game after she suffered an ACL injury earlier in the season. She also missed Princeton’s NCAA tournament loss to Georgetown that year.
“I think she’s the best we’ve ever had,” Banghart said. “What she’s done is lead the best team in Ivy history for four years and led us in every offensive category.”
Rasheed is in rare company as Princeton is 30-0 in Ivy games that she’s played in. She’s one of only 20 players in the country since 1999 to be undefeated in conference play with at least 30 victories according to STATS. She’s arguably the most talented player on that list. But she also is one of the few who hasn’t won a NCAA tournament game.
That fact bothers Rasheed. She didn’t get much sleep after the Tigers lost to Kansas State.
“It’s the only goal that’s on everyone’s minds this year,” Rasheed said. “It’s the only thing that’s been missing. We worked so hard last season. We accomplished almost all our goals, but we didn’t get that win. We ended our season in disappointment. The past three years, we’ve been upset with the final outcome.”
Rasheed spent the offseason improving her game. She worked on being a more consistent shooter and is averaging 16.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists this year.
“Niveen is such a special player for what she does on both ends of the court, and the passion, leadership and intensity she brings to our program on a daily basis,” Banghart said. “Niveen is a winner because of how she goes about her work. She’s a great player on a great team and is most deserving of the recognition she continues to earn.”View Entire Story
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