PRINCETON: Grand day for PDS senior

Patterson nets 1,000th point

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
   Getting to 1,000 points for her career might have been a little easier for Tiffany Patterson if she was a different kind of basketball player.
   ”It is a great credit to her that she has scored 1,000 points because she is probably the most unselfish player on our team,” Princeton Day School girls basketball coach Mika Ryan said. “She gives up so many shots during a game. We’re still trying to get her to shoot more.”
   Patterson arrived at PDS four years ago and has been a starter since the first day she stepped on the court. She’s helped the program grow to the point where last year the Panthers reached the state Prep B championship game and this year have their sights set on winning a state title.
   But all through the progress, Patterson has not been a player who has worried about her offensive totals.
   ”I actually like playing defense more than offense,” said Patterson, who went over the 1,000 point mark in the Panthers’ 55-18 win over Solebury on Tuesday. “I knew at the end of last year that I was close, so it was a goal that I wanted to reach. This has been the high point for me so far.”
   In four games this season, Patterson had had four double-doubles for the Panthers. In fact, she often finishes a game with more rebounds than points.
   ”She continually surprises me,” said Ryan, who is in her first season as the Panthers’ head coach. “She has been, No. 1, a great captain. She is vocal and leads by example. Getting to 1,000 points wasn’t even on her mind until it happened. Then she got a little teary eyed. She is very team oriented. It’s a great milestone, but not something that she had as a priority.”
   Patterson is more interested in winning and this year the Panthers are poised to do good things. They are off to a 3-1 start and have an experienced team that has won before. Patterson has been part of each step forward.
   ”I think the addition of some of the players we have here has really helped me,” the 6-foot-1 Patterson said of her progression as a player. “We’ve got guards who are really good at passing the ball. I feel like we all play very well together and we know what each other can do.
   ”I’ve played AAU in the summer and I feel like I have gotten a lot better. I can do more things and I am more confident in what I can do.”
   She is also confident in what her team can do this year.
   ”We feel like this is the best team we have had since my freshman year,” said Patterson, who plays for the Philadelphia Belles club team. “A lot of us have played together for three years now and we also have Molly Rubin back. So we have more options. We’re all used to playing with each other and we know what we can each do on the court.
   ”We want to do well this year. Our goal is to take the states this time. So far we have started off playing pretty well.”
   Patterson has already committed to play her college basketball at Long Island University next year. That’s a step she is looking forward to.
   ”It’s going to be completely different,” she said. “I’m anxious about what it is going to be like in college in general.”
   Added Ryan: “I didn’t know a lot about her playing-wise before this season. I had seen film from last year. She has improved her offensive skills, She is in better shape. She is more fit. She has improved a lot. LIU is getting a real steal. I think she’ll be a terrific player at the next level.”