Blue and Gold Breakdown: West Virginia vs. Princeton, NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament First Round

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On Sunday, the West Virginia women’s basketball team officially earned their at-large bid to the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. 

The Mountaineers were assigned the No. 8 seed in the Albany 2 region -- they will travel to Iowa City, Iowa for their opening-round matchup, which will be hosted by No. 1 seed Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

WVU will be pitted against No. 9 seed Princeton in the opening round of action. The Mountaineers are 1-0 all-time against the Tigers, securing a 74-65 win against them in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Here’s what to watch for with each team as WVU meets Princeton this weekend.


The Tigers enter the NCAA Tournament 25-4 overall on the season, and sit No. 34 overall in the Women’s NET Rankings. They are coming off their sixth-consecutive Ivy League Regular Season Championship and their fifth-consecutive Ivy league Conference Tournament Championship. That means a program with plenty of experience in the NCAA Tournament -- in fact, the program has advanced past the opening round in each of their last two NCAA Tournament appearances.

Two of Princeton’s losses this season came to UCLA and Indiana, who sit No. 6 and No. 14 respectively in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and each are Top 16 overall seeds in the tournament. They also own regular-season victories over Big 12 regular-season champion Oklahoma -- currently ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll -- and fellow NCAA Tournament qualifier Middle Tennessee State. Their main weapon entering the tournament seems to be their offensive production, as they currently sit 24th-overall nationally in shooting percentage (45.8%). 

West Virginia

The Mountaineers were last seen in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals, where they bowed out to Kansas State in a close loss. WVU now sits at 24-7 overall on the season, but are sitting at No. 21 in the most recent Women’s NET Rankings.

Led by Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist J.J. Quinerly, the Mountaineers will look to use their elite defense to slow down Princeton’s shooting production. WVU sits among the defensive elite nationally, ranked third-overall nationally in turnovers forced per game (24.0), second-overall nationally in steals per game (13.9), and first-overall nationally in turnover margin (8.9). Quinerly has recorded 91 steals defensively this season and teammate Jordan Harrison has tallied 92, with both women sitting in the Top 15 nationally in the category.

When and Where to Watch

WVU’s first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at 5:30 PM, and can be watched live on ESPN2 or streamed on WatchESPN.