Women’s hoops week in review: Nov. 19-28

Harvard (2-1 This week; 4-3 overall)
at Hartford 60-73
vs Jacksonville State 69-62 (Thanksgiving Basketball Classic at Cal. State University – Northridge)
vs CSUN 75-55 (Thanksgiving Basketball Classic at Cal. State University- Northridge)

Three weeks into the season and the Crimson are the league’s most balanced team.  There are three players in double figures and sophomore Jadyn Bush is arguably the league’s most improved and valuable player.  The MVP of the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic is leading the league in rebounding, field goal percentage and free throw percentage, as well as tenth in points.  If not for her second quarter ejection for elbowing a Hartford player in the head while being triple teamed, Harvard may have gone 3-0 on the week.

The Crimson are shooting a league-best 44.1 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from three, while also leading the Ivies with 69.7 points, 8.9 made threes and 15.4 assists per game.  Defensively, they are limiting opponents to 38.1 percent shooting from two and 29.6 percent from three.

Penn (1-1 This week; 4-2 overall)
at Navy 65-61 (Navy Classic)
vs Maine 46-47 (Navy Classic)

The Quakers continue to excel on defense, allowing opponents 53.5 points per game (#22 nationally) and an 38.0 effective field goal percentage (#26).  On the boards, Penn leads the league with a + 6.3 margin and 36.2 percent offensive rebounding rate, while second-best with a 70.4 percent defensive rate.  The offense, however, continues to be secondary.  The Red & Blue are shooting 28.5 percent from three (5th in league, #236), 44.9 percent from two (6th in Ivy, #148) and 63.3 percent from the free throw line (7th in Ivy, #263), while hitting only 5.8 made threes per contest (6th in Ivy).

Princeton (0-4 This week; 1-7 overall)
vs #16 DePaul 67-82 (Cancun Challenge)
vs #15  Syracuse 61-92 (Cancun Challenge)
vs Kansas State 61-80 (Cancun Challenge)
at Villanova 46-67

With three of their top players still on the sidelines with injuries, the bulk of the Tigers’ offense is being carried by Gabrielle Rush, who is fourth in the league with 14.5 points per game, and Carlie Littlefield, who is right behind her with 13.9 points per game.  The rest of the starting lineup is only averaging 18.9 points per contest.  As a team, Princeton is tops in the conference at the free throw line (76.7 percent), but the bottom for field goal (36.9 percent) and two point shooting (42.4 percent).  From three, the Orange & Black are third in the nation with 209 attempts and #229 with a 28.7 percent rate.  On defense, the Tigers are in the unfamiliar spot of being last in the league in points allowed (74.9 ppg; #304 nationally), as well as effective field goal (51.9 percent; #319), and three point (38.5 percent; #327) shooting.

Yale (2-1 This week; 4-3 overall)
at Cincinnati 52-66
at Youngstown State 58-56
at Wagner 74-41

The Bulldogs’ Roxy Barahman is leading the league in scoring with a 23.3 point average and twelfth with a 43.6 shooting percentage, while first-year forward Camille Emsbo is eleventh with 12.0 points per game and second with a 56.7 field goal percentage.  As a team, the Bulldogs are fifth in the conference with a 66.9 point average on the strength of their 50.5 percent two point shooting (#54 nationally).  Their 23.1 percent three point (#319) and 56.2 percent free throw (#333) shooting, however, continue to sit near the bottom of the nation.  They are holding opponents to 41.2 percent from two and, thanks to a 5-32 performance from Youngstown State, are now limiting teams to 28.7 percent from three.

Dartmouth (0-3 This week; 2-3 overall)
vs Middle State 58-70 (Lady Rebel Roundup at UNLV)
vs UC Santa Barbara 56-62 (Lady Rebel Roundup at UNLV)
at Cal State Fullerton 62-67

While Dartmouth is scoring 5.8 fewer points a game than last year and their two point shooting is down 1.3 percent, the bigger issue is in the backcourt.  Last year, the Big Green led the conference with a 37.3 three point shooting percentage, but they are down to 28 percent this season.  In her breakout ’17-’18 season, point guard Cy Lippold was averaging 12.3 ppg and shooting threes at a 39.5 percent rate.  After the first five games of this season, she is down to 7.4 ppg and 25 shooting from beyond the arc.  Fortunately, the team’s defense has shown improvement from last year, limiting opponents to 9.6 less points per game, as well as being + 3.7 percent in defensive and + 2.7 percent in offensive rebounding rates.

Brown (2-2 This week; 5-4 overall)
vs Fairfield 68-49 (Brown University Turkey Tip-Off)
vs UMass-Amherst 61-90 (Brown University Turkey Tip-Off)
vs Bucknell 78-91 (Brown University Turkey Tip-Off)
vs Johnson & Wales 78-46

The Brown offense is putting up 68.5 points per game against Division 1 opponents, but the defense is giving up 74.4 points per game (#301 nationally).  If their bench continues to produce around their present level (10 ppg), there will be even more pressure on the starting lineup to outpace the competition.  It may be difficult to expect more from Shayna Mehta (19.9 ppg) and Justine Gaziano (17.7 ppg), but Taylor Will (11.1 ppg), Erika Steeves (8.7 ppg) and Mary Butler (4.7 ppg) will need to start filling the basket more frequently.  If they can’t, then this same group, which started the 2017 Ivy League Tournament semifinal, will need to improve the team’s two point shooting defense (51.5 percent and #311 against Division 1 opponents; 48.8 percent and #285 against all opponents).

Cornell (0-2 This week; 2-3 overall)
at Minnesota 45-65
at Colorado State University 53-56

Cornell is having another low scoring season with 54 points per game (#313 nationally; was 55.2 ppg and #327 in ’17-’18), a 38.3 percent shooting rate and only two low double-digit scorers (Laura Bagwell-Katalinich at 11.4 ppg and Samantha Widmann at 11.2 ppg).  The Big Red defense, however, is showing growth from last year.  Not only are they allowing 7.2 less points per game, but their opponents’ two point shooting has gone from 49.4 percent (#328 nationally) to 39.1 percent (#60) and three pointers have decreased from 33.1 percent (#242) to 29.3 percent (#143).

Columbia (0-2 This week; 2-4 overall)
vs Houston 72-83
at Colgate 71-84

Columbia is going through the growing pains of a team with six of its top eight players in their first or second years.  On the bright side, the team is second in the conference in assists (15.0 apg, #82 nationally), field goal shooting (41.0 percent) and three point shooting (32.9 percent; #102).  Also, a trio of rookies have already made their presence felt on the league leaderboard – Sienna Durr is sixth in points (13.8 ppg), fifth in field goal shooting (51.7 percent) and third in free throw shooting (76.0 percent); Mikayla Markham is first in assists (5.2 apg), second in minutes (35.5 mpg) and fifth in steals (1.8 spg); and Madison Hardy is first in scoring for reserves (9.5 ppg), third in shooting (38.5 percent) and fourth in made three pointers (2.5 per game).  However, the team, which was at the bottom of the league in rebounding metrics last year, continues to struggle on the boards with 24.6 percent offensive rebounding rate (#8 Ivy; #323 nationally), 66.0 defensive rebounding rate (#7 Ivy; #196 nationally) and a – 6.0 margin (#8 Ivy).

Ancient Eight’s Top Eight

Laura Bagwell-Katalinich – Cornell (junior, forward)
vs Minnesota: 2 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal
vs CSU: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block

Roxy Barahman – Yale (junior, guard)
vs Cincinnati: 26 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
vs Youngstown State: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steal, 1 block
vs Wagner: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals

Katie Benzan – Harvard (junior, guard)
vs Hartford: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals
vs Jacksonville State: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
vs CSUN: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal

Jadyn Bush – Harvard (sophomore, forward)
vs Hartford: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
vs Jacksonville State: 18 points, 9 rebounds
vs CSUN: 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assist, 1 block

Madison Hardy – Columbia (first-year, guard)
vs Houston: 17 points, 1 rebound, 3 assist, 3 steals
vs Colgate: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists

Carlie Littlefield – Princeton (sophomore, guard)
vs DePaul: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
vs Syracuse: 11 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals
vs Kansas State: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
vs Villanova: 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist

Shayna Mehta – Brown (senior, guard)
vs Fairfield: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal
vs UMass-Amherst: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals
vs HC: 29 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals
vs J&W: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals

Eleah Parker – Penn (sophomore, center)
vs Navy: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks
vs Maine: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block

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