Women’s Ivy Tournament teams continue onward in postseason

For the second consecutive year, all four participants in the women’s Ivy Tournament have earned postseason bids.  Following top seeded Princeton’s championship victory over second place Penn early Sunday evening, the Tigers clinched the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and Penn claimed the conference’s automatic qualifying spot in the Women’s NIT.  On Monday night, Harvard received an at-large bid to the WNIT and Yale was selected for the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).

The Tigers were chosen as the No. 12 seed in the Kansas City regional, where they will face No. 5 Maryland in Raleigh on Friday at noon on ESPN2 and online at ESPN3.  For Princeton, this is their ninth straight postseason appearance and seventh trip to the Big Dance.  The Quakers will be going up against Albany at the Palestra on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. on the Ivy League Network.  Penn is competing in its sixth straight postseason tournament and its second trip to the WNIT.  The Crimson will travel to the Bronx on Friday night at 7:00 pm to take on Fordham on the A-10 Network, as they make their 14th overall postseason tournament, eighth all-time WNIT showing and sixth WNIT appearance in the last seven seasons.  The Bulldogs will visit Northeastern on Thursday night at 7:00 pm on Northeastern’s NUxtreme.  This is the team’s first postseason play under third-year head coach Allison Guth, and the first of any kind since a 2011 WNIT bid.

Here is a short primer on the Ivy representatives’ opponents for this week’s action:

Maryland

In 2016-17, Maryland was the top team in the Big Ten at 32-3 and made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen.  The program lost All-Americans Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough to graduation, while NABC Freshman of the Year Destiny Slocum transferred to Oregon State. The Terrapins rebounded from those absences to go 25-7 overall and 12-4 in conference. They finished the season as the No. 2 team in the Big Ten, a finalist in the Big Ten Tournament and the No. 16 team in the nation.

Maryland averages 80.3 points a game (No. 17, nationally), shooting  45.8 percent overall, 38.8 percent from three (6.5 per game) and 70.2 percent from the free throw line.  Defensively, they allow 64.1 points per game on 38.8 percent overall, 33.8 percent three point (6.3 per game) and 72.9 percent free throw shooting.  They are + 7.8 in rebounds, get 9.7 steals and force 17.5 turnovers per game.

The team is lead  by 6′ 1″ first team All-Big Ten guard Kaila Charles (18.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg), 6′ 0″ honorable mention guard/forward Eleanna Christinaki (12.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg), 5′ 9″ honorable mention guard Kristen Confroy (9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg), and 6′ 0″ sixth player of the year guard Ieshia Small (9.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg).

This the first time since 2010, when Maryland last missed the NCAA Tournament, that the Terrapins will not play at home.  The two teams last met in the 2015 Tournament, when Maryland beat then-undefeated Princeton 85-70 in the second round in College Park.  This year, the two teams both played Rutgers with the Terrapins winning twice by a combined score of 48 points, while the Scarlet Knights beat the Tigers by 20 in New Brunswick.  The winner of this contest gets No. 4 NC State (No. 22 in the nation) or No. 13 Elon in the second round.

Albany

The Great Danes were 24-7 overall and second in the America East with a 12-4 record.  This is the first ever WNIT appearance for Albany, which had won the last six America East titles.

Albany averages 68.6 points, shooting 41 percent overall and 29.3 percent from three (5.1 per game).  Like Penn, the Great Danes calling card is its defense. They allow 59.3 points per game with opponents shooting 39.3 percent overall and 31.1 percent from three. They average +2.9 in rebounds, 11.1 steals (No. 14, nationally) and 22.9 forced turnovers (No. 5, nationally) a game.

Senior shooting guard Jessica Fequiere was a first team All-America East member, averaging 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game.  Senior guard/forward Tiana-Jo Carter and sophomore point guard Mackenzie Trpcic both were selected to the conference’s third team. Carter averaged 11.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, while Trpcic put up 9.4 points and was 11th in the nation with 6.8 assists per game.

Albany and Penn both played Dartmouth and Binghamton this season.  Albany beat Dartmouth by 15 at home, while the Quakers defeated the Big Green by a combined 47 points.  Penn lost to Binghamton on the road, and the Great Danes won both contests by a total of 21 points. The winner of this game will take on the winner of St. John’s and Marist in the second round.

Fordham

The Rams went 22-9 overall and 12-4 in the Atlantic 10.  Although coming in third in the regular season, they lost to St. Louis in the conference tournament.  This was Fordham’s fifth 20-win season in the last seven years, and this year’s WNIT appearance will be their fourth ever.  In last year’s WNIT, Fordham defeated Georgetown on the road before losing to former A-10 member Penn State in the second round.

The Rams average 61.0 points a game, shooting 39.6 percent overall and 31.8 percent (5.4 per game) from three.  They have a top 20 defense, allowing 55.5 points on 39.7 percent overall and 28.5 percent (4.3 per game) three point shooting. They average + 7.2 rebounds, 5.6 steals, and 13.8 forced turnovers a game.

Senior forward G’mrice Davis was a first team All-A-10 and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Davis averaged 17 points and 13.8 rebounds a game. Redshirt first year Bre Cavanaugh was named to the league’s second and all-rookie teams.  Cavanaugh averaged 16.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 38.4 minutes per game. Junior guard Lauren Holden added 10.8 points, 2.5 assists and 39.1 minutes per contest.

The Rams and Crimson each faced common opponents in Dayton and La Salle.  Fordham lost twice to the Flyers by a combined 26 points, while Harvard lost by six.  The Crimson beat the Explorers by 9 and the Rams won by 21. Fordham and Harvard have a 2-2 all time record with the most recent match being a 66-44 Rams victory in 2013.  The winner of this contest will face Drexel or Robert Morris in the second round.

Northeastern

The Huskies went 16-14 overall and 11-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).  They secured the most conference wins since they joined the CAA, ended the regular season in fourth place and lost in the quarterfinals in the conference tournament.   Their WBI appearance will be the program’s eight all-time and its first since ’98-’99 when they went to the NCAA as the America East representative.

Northeastern averages 62.5 points a game, shooting 37.8 percent overall and 34.2 percent from three.  They allow 64.1 points a game on 40.9 percent overall and 29.2 percent three point shooting. They have a 1.2 rebounding advantage, while forcing 7.8 steals and 15.9 turnovers a game.

Junior point guard Jess Genco was named to the CAA’s first team, averaging 14.6 points and 5.6 assists per game.  Senior guard Claudia Ortiz averaged 11.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on her way to being named to the CAA third team.  Gabby Giacone is a 6 foot forward who averages 11.3 points and 74 rebounds per contest.

The Huskies and Bulldogs had common opponents in Providence and Harvard.  Both lost to Providence at home with Northeastern losing by 3 in overtime and Yale being defeated by 4.  Against the Crimson, the Huskies lost by 10, while Yale split two games, losing by 24 at Lavietes and winning by 6 at the Lee Amphitheater.  The Northeastern coach, Kelly Cole, was an assistant at Harvard from 2012-2014. The winner of Thursday’s contest will take on the winner of Youngstown State and Binghamton.  If the Bulldogs and Bearcats make it through, it will be a rematch of Yale’s 73-69 overtime victory in Vestal.

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