Penn came into the weekend with a 7-0 record and was fortunate to escape with a split. On Friday, Brown used a 12-0 run to take a 15-point lead after the first quarter. Penn chipped away and took a two-point advantage into the fourth quarter. The Bears then went on a 15-6 run to take a seven-point lead with 4:16 to go. Penn tied it at 66 with 1:05 on the clock. Following a Brown bucket, the Quakers got an old fashioned three-point play to take the lead and two free throws to ice the 71-68 victory.
On Saturday, the Quakers were up 36-35 with 4:41 left in the third quarter, when the Bulldogs scored the last eight points of the stanza. After Yale stretched the lead to 12, Penn got it back to five with 3:58 left. The Bulldogs closed out the game on a 10-2 run to win 61-48. While Penn’s rebounding and frontcourt play rescued them on Friday, the squad’s 19 turnovers and 11-point disadvantage at the free throw line was too much to overcome. With the upset, Yale secured its third league win, handing Penn its first conference loss.
Second-place Harvard opened up a nine-point lead at Columbia by halftime. Following a Lions comeback at the beginning of the second half, the Crimson ended up with a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter. Harvard outscored Columbia 10-2 over the first five minutes of the quarter, before the Lions battled back to make it a one-point game with 19 seconds left. After Harvard hit 1 of 2 free throws, Columbia turned the ball over with 10 seconds to go and effectively ended the 58-55 contest.
Harvard travelled to Ithaca on Saturday and had a five-point halftime lead over Cornell. The Red closed the gap to one heading into the fourth quarter of play. Over the first four-plus minutes, Cornell went on a 7-1 run for a five-point lead. After the Crimson cut the lead to one with 3:20 to go, the Red forced Harvard into 0-for-7 shooting the rest of the way for the important 57-52 win. Coupled with the team’s 72-57 point victory over Dartmouth on Friday, Cornell improved to 5-5 in the conference. Harvard, meanwhile, fell to 7-3 in the Ivies.
After an up and down start to Friday’s game between Princeton and Yale, the Tigers ended the half leading by 12. With an 11-point advantage after three quarters, Princeton shot 9-for-12 from two and held the Bulldogs to 17 percent shooting the rest of the way for a comfortable 69-47 win.
The Orange and Black found themselves in a tougher contest the next evening when visiting Brown. Leading by two going into the second half, the Tigers stretched it to 11 points at the end of the third quarter and maintained that lead with 6:30 to go. The Bears then went on a 14-5 run to make it a two-point game with 2:05 remaining. Princeton regrouped, allowing the Bears a single three-pointer while hitting one basket and 5 of 7 free throws. With the 81-75 win, the Tigers earned its seventh victory in a row and took over second place. For Brown, the two weekend losses dropped them to 5-5 and a tie for fourth place with Cornell.
When Columbia and Dartmouth met in Hanover earlier this season, it took four overtimes for the Lions to prevail. This past Saturday’s game in New York had the same result, but it was settled much more quickly. The Lions were up 45-41 with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter, before going on a 16-0 run over the next seven minutes. In the end, the Columbia completed the 69-48 victory to improve to 3-7 in the league. After being swept, the Big Green fell to 1-9 in the Ivies.
Top Ten Players
Bella Alarie (Princeton freshman guard) – averaged 12.5 points, seven rebounds, two steals and three blocks, including a double-double against Yale on Saturday. She was named Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Week for the eighth time.
Taylor Brown (Princeton senior guard) – averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists and two steals
Jen Berkowitz (Yale junior forward) – 26 points and seven rebounds in upset of Penn
Nia Marshall (Cornell senior forward) – averaged 18 points, six rebounds and 1.5 blocks in the Big Red’s weekend sweep. She was named Ivy League Player of the Week for the fourth time this season and the 10th time in her career.
Destiny Nunley (Harvard senior forward) – averaged 16 points, 5.5 rebounds and two assists
Michelle Nwokedi (Penn junior forward) – averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.5 blocks, including two double-doubles
Fanni Szabo (Dartmouth senior forward) – averaged 17 points and five rebounds
Erika Steeves (Brown sophomore forward) – Averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds, including a career high 27 points against Penn
Samantha Widmann (Cornell freshman guard) – Averaged 13 points and 6.5 rebounds. She was named Ivy League co-Rookie of the Week for the second time this season.
Camille Zimmerman (Columbia junior forward) – Averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. She was named the Division I Player of the Week by the Met Basketball Writers Association.
Also, Penn’s Sydney Stipanovich broke the Ivy League record for career blocks, previously held by Columbia’s Kathy Gilbert White (1987-91). The senior center recorded block No. 306 late in Saturday’s game with Yale.
Where things stand
Dartmouth at Brown – Friday, 6 p.m.
Harvard at Yale – Friday, 6 p.m.
Columbia at Princeton – Friday, 7 p.m.
Cornell at Penn – Friday, 7 p.m.
Harvard at Brown – Saturday, 4 p.m.
Cornell at Princeton – Saturday, 6 p.m.
Columbia at Penn – Saturday, 7 p.m.
Dartmouth at Yale – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Penn (8-1), Princeton (7-2) and Harvard (7-3) continue to separate themselves from the rest of the conference. Unlike the men, there is no undefeated team and no lock for the No. 1 spot. With each team set to play each other one more time, the top seeds for the March 11 semifinals may not be settled until the last game of the season.
With Cornell’s sweep and Brown’s two close losses, those teams are tied (5-5) with four games remaining. Fortunately for Brown, Cornell is on the road for two tough games with Penn and Princeton this weekend, while the Bears welcome Dartmouth and Harvard to the Pizzitola Sports Center.