Harvard women’s basketball welcomes two in Class of 2022

The Harvard women’s basketball team (18-11 overall, 10-4 Ivy) used a 12-0 record at the renovated Lavietes Pavilion, including a late season sweep of Penn and Princeton, to claim third place in the Ivy League. In addition to attending the Ivy Tournament for the second time, the Crimson completed the season with its 15th straight year in the league’s top three and its 14th postseason appearance.

Harvard was led by sophomore guard Katie Benzan, who was selected to the All-Ivy first team for the second time and was the only player chosen unanimously. Benzan was eighth in the conference with 13.5 points and fifth with 3.5 assists per game. Her 3.41 made threes per contest and three point shooting rate of 45.0 percent not only led the Ancient Eight, but were 12th and sixth in the nation, respectively. Jeannie Boehm, a sophomore forward, was named second-team All-Ivy after averaging 9.5 points (on 50.4 percent shooting), 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game.

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Matt Morgan withdraws from NBA Draft and looks to return to Cornell basketball

On Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted that Cornell’s Matt Morgan would withdraw from the upcoming NBA Draft. That same day, Raphy Gendler of the Cornell Daily Sun reported that Morgan will return to the school and the team for his senior year. Noted Morgan in a text to the school paper, “It was in my best interest to come back and play one more year and finish out not only my athletic career but also my academic career. It was great going through the process again but I’m glad to officially be back and getting ready for another run with my team.”

Morgan had tested the NBA Draft waters for the first time in the spring of 2017. During that time, he received interest from the Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Washington Wizards. He took the information from that process and used it to have his strongest season at Cornell. Not only did he lead the Ivy League in scoring for the third straight season, but his career-best 22.5 points per game was the 11th highest in the nation. The Concord, N.C. shooting guard ended the 2017-2018 season with an active 51-game double-digit scoring streak, while being named a member of the All-Ivy first team and the Lou Henson All-America team. His 1,646 points are third on the Big Red’s all-time list, 17 points behind John Bajusz and 382 points behind Ryan Wittman’s record 2,028.

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Ivy League Tournaments moving to Yale’s Lee Amphitheater

The Ivy League Tournament is on the move.

The Ivy League announced Thursday that after being held the past two seasons at the Palestra on Penn’s campus, the 2019 Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater, Payne Whitney Gym on Sat., Mar. 16 and Sun., Mar. 17.

Saturday will feature two men’s semifinals at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and two women’s semifinals at 6 p.m. and approximately 30 minutes after the first women’s semifinal. The men’s championship is set for 12 p.m., Sunday with the women’s championship game to start at 4 p.m.

All six tournament matchups will be featured on ESPN networks.

The Ivy League noted that the site for the 2020 Ivy League Basketball Tournaments will be determined at a later date as the League continues to explore various options.

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Princeton women’s basketball unveils six-member recruiting class

The Princeton women’s team finished the 2017-2018 season 24-6 overall and 12-2 in the Ivy League. They opened up conference play with a 70-55 victory at the Palestra over two-time defending champion Penn and never looked back on their way to the regular season title. They dominated Yale and Penn in the Ivy Tournament to claim the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their seventh appearance in the last nine years. Their magical season ended in a first round loss to the University of Maryland, the nation’s #16 team.

The Tigers had the Ivy League Player of the Year in sophomore forward Bella Alarie, who averaged 13.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 assists per game. Alarie, the league’s Rookie of the Year and a first team All-Ivy member in 2016-2017, was joined on this year’s first team by senior forward Leslie Robinson. Robinson, who was selected to last year’s second team All-Ivy, finished the season averaging 10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per contest.

Courtney Banghart was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year for the second time in her career and the first time since she led the school to an undefeated 30-0 regular season record in 2014-2015. The former two-time first team All-Ivy Dartmouth guard completed this year with her sixth regular season Ivy championship, eighth 20-plus win season and eighth 11-plus conference win season in her 11th year at Old Nassau.

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Cornell’s Stone Gettings to sit out 2018-19 and become graduate transfer

On Monday evening, Jeff Goodman of ESPN tweeted that Cornell junior forward Stone Gettings would graduate in December and become a graduate transfer.  Gettings, a second-team All-Ivy member in 2017-2018, will sit out the 2018-2019 season in order to save his final year of eligibility.  The Malibu, California native told the Cornell Daily Sun, “I decided to graduate early in December, save myself a ton of money, and have another year to play somewhere else”.

Gettings arrived in Ithaca in the fall of 2015, as a member of Bill Courtney’s last recruiting class.  In his first game for the Big Red, he scored 14 points and hit 4 of 6 three pointers against Georgia Tech.  For the season, he played in 28 games, averaging 2.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 9.5 minutes a contest.  Following Courtney’s dismissal, arguably, no Cornell player benefited more from the hiring of Princeton’s Brian Earl than Gettings. As the team’s featured front court player, his sophomore numbers increased to 12.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 25.6 minutes per game in his 29 starts.

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Dartmouth women’s basketball announces new recruits

The Dartmouth women’s basketball team rebounded from a disappointing ‘16-’17 season (8-19 overall, 3-11 Ivy) to go 15-12 overall and 7-7 in the conference in ‘17-’18, missing the Ivy Tournament by one game.  The Big Green lose three important players to graduation, guard Kate Letkiewicz, forward Andi Norman, and center Olivia Smith. Letkiewicz, a second team All-Ivy selection, started all 27 games, averaging 14.0 points, 2.7 three pointers, 6.0 rebounds, and 36.9 minutes per contest.  Norman started 25 games with 5.8 points, 1.6 made threes, and 2.9 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game. Smith, who averaged 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 20.3 minutes per game, started 8 of 21 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Princeton on Feb. 10.

On Thursday, Coach Belle Koclanes announced the program’s five new members of the Class of 2022, who will attempt to help the team replenish its losses, build upon last year’s successes and, hopefully, move into the Ivy League’s upper division throughout the next several years.

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Jaron Faulds and Myles Hanson leave Columbia men’s basketball

In case you missed it, the Columbia Spectator on Friday broke the news that first-year players Jaron Faulds and Myles Hanson have left the men’s basketball team and will pursue other opportunities. Ryan James of PrepHoops tweeted that Hanson will be looking to transfer for next fall.

Faulds played in 26 games this past season, averaging 4.5 points on 59.6 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds and 14.2 minutes per contest. The 6’10” forward from Holt, Mich. was a four-star recruit at ESPN. Hanson, a two-star 6’6” small forward from Chaska, Minn., saw action in 19 games, averaging 3.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10.5 minutes per game. Both were members of coach Jim Engles’s first recruiting class at Columbia.

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Columbia guard Kyle Castlin commits to Xavier as grad transfer

Looks like Xavier will get an Ivy grad transfer after all.

A week after former Dartmouth standout Evan Boudreaux committed to Purdue following a decommitment from Xavier, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Sunday that Columbia guard Kyle Castlin is headed for Xavier.

Castlin will play for new Xavier coach Travis Steele, who was hired Mar. 29 following the departure of Chris Mack, who left for Louisville (thereby prompting Boudreaux to reopen his recruitment).

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NYC Buckets list

Now that the dust has settled on the 2017-18 season and the curtain has closed on NYC Buckets, I thought now would be as good a time as ever to look back and honor a site that covered Ivy League basketball (among other conferences) so well for seven years.

NYC Buckets, formerly Big Apple Buckets, has been done since UMBC bowed to Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament several weeks ago. But several schools covered by NYC Buckets have been in the news lately (Siena for men’s coach Jimmy Patsos denying allegations of abusing a team manager and Marist hiring John Dunne away from St. Peter’s after firing Mike Maker), driving home the reality that the mid-major programs that NYC Buckets dutifully covered will move on while the website won’t.

Site founder John Templon and Ivy beat writer Kevin Whitaker both graciously guested on our On the Vine podcast several times. Even though it’s sunken in these past few weeks, NYC Buckets shuttering is still a tremendous loss for Ivy League basketball.

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Ivy League announces long-term media rights deal with ESPN

Goodbye Ivy League Network, hello ESPN.

The Ivy League on Wednesday announced a 10-year media rights agreement with ESPN to show Ivy athletic events on a variety of ESPN platforms, including all Ivy League-controlled men’s and women’s basketball games.

The men’s basketball conference tournament semifinals and championship game will continue to air on an ESPN linear (non-streaming) network each year. The women’s basketball conference tournament championship game will still air on an ESPN linear network each year as well.

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