1. Princeton (1-0)
Princeton opened up the season with a 72-52 victory over George Washington at Jadwin Gym on Friday night. After jumping out to a 10-point lead in the 1st quarter, the Colonials got the lead down to 3 at the half. The Tigers started the second half on a 13-0 run and outscored GW by 18 in the 3rd quarter to pull away. Coach Courtney Banghart started first-year Carlie Littlefield at the point, who responded with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 38 minutes. Tia Weledji led four Tigers in double digits with 18 points, while Leslie Robinson had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Orange and Black were typically strong on defense, allowing only 3 three-pointers and 33% overall shooting, while holding a 10% rebounding advantage on both sides of the ball.
Next Games: 11/16 at Seton Hall 7 pm (Pirate Sports Network); 11/19 vs Georgia Tech 1 pm (ILN, ESPN3)
2. Penn (0-1)
Penn’s season started with a 77-72 loss at Binghamton despite the Red and Blue racing out to an early 17-3 lead. The Bearcats snared 22 offensive rebounds en route to a comeback. Anna Ross, Michelle Nwokedi and Lauren Whitlatch combined for 51 of Penn’s 72 points.
Next Game: 11/18 vs Lafayette 5 pm (ILN, ESPN3)
3. Brown (1-0)
Brown faced in-state rival Bryant, the third-ranked team from the NEC, at the Pizzitola Center on Sunday afternoon and came away with a 85-62 win. The Bears finished the first half up 6, despite going 0-for-6 from three in the first quarter. Taylor Will and Justine Gaziano scored 17 of the team’s 20 third quarter points, while the defense forced 10 turnovers and held the Bulldogs to 10 points in the 3rd quarter. Shayna Mehta finally got going in the 4th quarter, hitting 3 three-pointers and scoring 11 points, to put the game completely out of reach. While guards Gaziano, Will and Mehta collectively scored 56 points, forwards Erika Steeves and Janie White totaled 19 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals.
Next Games: 11/16/17 at Central Connecticut State 7 pm (NEC Front Row); 11/19/17 vs California 12 pm (ILN)
4. Yale (2-0)
Yale finished the first week of the season with two home victories against LIU-Brooklyn and Colgate. In the 62-51 win over the Blackbirds, the Elis were led by Tamara Simpson, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, who had four steals in addition to a game-high 21 points. Jen Berkowitz had 17 points, leading 5 players in double digits, while the team dropped 10 three pointers, beating the Red Raiders 82-56 on Monday night. The three-happy Bulldogs are averaging 12 treys a game, but shooting only 25% from outside. The team is clicking on the defensive end, holding its opponents to 53.5 points and 3 three pointers a game, while being + 9.0 in total rebounds and forcing 25.5 turnovers (including 12 steals) a contest.
Next Games: 11/19 at Kansas 2 pm; 11/21 at TCU 7:30 pm
5. Harvard (0-2)
The Crimson had a rough start to the 2017-2018 campaign, going winless at the Maine Tip-Off Tournament. On opening night, Harvard lost to Dayton, the top rated team in the Atlantic 10, by a score of 72-66. After trailing by as many as 15 points in the 2nd quarter, the Crimson got within 2 points in the 3rd quarter and 4 in the final quarter, but could not overtake the Flyers. Taylor Rooks had 13 points and rebounds, while Jeannie Boehm had 11 of each. The next afternoon, the host Black Bears, the 6th ranked team in the America East, dominated Harvard in a 76-51 third place victory. Harvard struggled on offense this weekend, hitting only 23% from three and 32% from two, while allowing Maine to hit 13 threes on 43% shooting and both opponents to 47% from two.
Next Games: 11/15 vs Siena 7 pm (ILN); 11/18 vs Sacred Heart 2 pm (ILN, NESN Plus); 11/21 vs Boston University 6 pm (ILN, NESN)
6. Dartmouth (2-0)
The Big Green were the first week’s biggest surprise, beating Vermont, 66-56, and Boston College, 68-57. Cy Lippold won the starting point guard and has proved to be the right person to run the up tempo offense for coach Belle Koclanes’ squad. Through two games, she has averaged 18.0 points on 57% shooting, including 83% (5-for-6) from three. Kate Letkiewicz is averaging 15.5 points and 9 rebounds, while Isalys Quinones averaged 10 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. For the week, Dartmouth averaged 67.0 points and 9.5 threes a game on 49% two point and 46% three point shooting, while forcing its opponents to 18.5 turnovers a game and 34% overall shooting. The Big Green have used 6 players for 97% of their minutes and will have 12 days to rest.
Next Game: 11/24/17 vs Rhode Island 4 pm (ILN)
7. Columbia (1-1)
The Lions started the season with its second straight victory over Providence, 73-64. The game was close throughout, but Columbia pulled out the win on the strength of its shooting. The Light Blue shot 73% from two (19-26) and 82% (14-for-17) from the free throw line, while the Friars went 42% (17-41) from two and 65% (15-23) in its free throws. Camille Zimmerman, who played almost the entire second half with four fouls, led all scorers with 25 points. While Zimmerman netted 21 points and set the program’s all-time scoring record on Sunday afternoon against Richmond, the Lions lost 85-79. Columbia came back from a 7 point deficit to take a one point lead with 2:10 to go, but the Spiders closed out the game on an 8-1 run. While the Lions had another good shooting effort (46% from two, 35% with 9 made threes; 20-for-23 FT), the team lost the game by committing 20 turnovers and giving up 21 offensive rebounds to Richmond. Columbia on Wednesday lost at UMass-Lowell, 77-70, as the River Hawks nabbed 23 offensive boards and scored 24 second-chance points.
Next Game: 11/19 at Vermont 2 pm (ESPN3)
8. Cornell (0-2)
Cornell traveled to Baltimore to take on Loyola and lost the Friday afternoon contest, 78-63. The game was close through the middle of the 2nd quarter, before the Greyhounds opened up a 13-point halftime lead, which grew to a high of 29 during the 3rd quarter. Samantha Widmann, the only returning member of last year’s rotation, had 19 points and 8 rebounds in the defeat. On Monday, the Big Red lost a School Day matinee at Pitt. After taking a 14-10 first quarter lead, Cornell scored 3 points and the two teams combined for 7 points in the second stanza. While the game was tied after 3 quarters, the Panthers opened up with a 13-0 run to secure the 51-39 victory. In its opening games, the inexperienced Big Red have only hit 5 three pointers and are averaging 51 points on 31% shooting (19% from three). On the positive side, they are + 6.0 in total rebounds and have held its opponents to 7 three pointers on 25% outside shooting.
Next Games: 11/16 vs Colgate 7 pm (ILN); 11/20 vs Lehigh 7 pm (ILN)
Ancient Eight’s Top Eight:
Jen Berkowitz (senior forward, Yale)
13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals vs LIU-Brooklyn
17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks vs Colgate
Justine Gaziano (sophomore guard, Brown)
23 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals vs Bryant
Kate Letkewicz (senior guard, Dartmouth)
18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal vs Vermont
13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal vs Boston College
Cy Lippold (junior guard, Dartmouth)
20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals vs Vermont
16 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal vs Boston College
Carlie Littlefield (first year guard, Princeton)
14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal vs George Washington
Tamara Simpson (senior guard, Yale)
21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks vs LIU-Brooklyn
10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals vs Colgate
Tia Weledji (senior guard, Princeton)
18 points, 2 assists, 1 block vs George Washington
Camille Zimmerman (senior guard/forward, Columbia)
25 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists vs Providence
21 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks vs Richmond