Q&A with Princeton coach Courtney Banghart

Courtney Banghart can't stop winning. (goprincetontigers.com)
Courtney Banghart can’t stop winning. (goprincetontigers.com)

Our Richard Kent caught up with Princeton women’s hoops coach Courtney Banghart, whose No. 16 Tigers are 24-0 with just six regular-season games left. Princeton’s 56-50 win at Yale last Saturday was its closest margin of victory all season.

IHO: Did Yale present any problems which were unanticipated?

CB: Yale played a really solid game. They were physical and ran with us on both ends. They made tough shots and capitalized on a sub par defensive night for us. On the offensive end, we forced too many early shots — albeit shots that we make on a regular night. When we moved the ball deeper into the possession we had more success. Our starting guards didn’t play well, but our posts were the difference. Sometimes, the reverse is true. That’s why they call it a team.

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Yale will need help in the Ivy title race

Sure it was a strange game, but Yale survived and beat Princeton by a healthy margin on the road. They easily dismantled Penn the night before.
Harvard had more than trouble at home with Columbia on Friday night and was behind Cornell at the half on Saturday.
If the Ivies were decided by margin of victories, Yale would win the crown in March. Harvard has struggled with Columbia, Princeton and Brown. Yale has gone through its Ivy schedule with relative ease.
Notwithstanding Yale’s win last year at Harvard, the Crimson represent a bad matchup for the Bulldogs. The Crimson are good at locking down Justin Sears, rebound better than Yale and invariably win the point guard battle.
So what is the point? Simple: Yale will need some help to win the Ivies. That help should have come in the form of Brown in Providence, but Harvard came home there with an unlikely win.

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Coach James Jones breaks down Yale’s breakdown

James Jones' Bulldogs scored just 11 points in the first half of their loss to Harvard. (vnews.com)
James Jones’ Bulldogs scored just 11 points in the first half of their loss to Harvard. (vnews.com)

IHO caught up with Yale coach James Jones after the Bulldogs’ 52-50 loss to Harvard Saturday night, which allowed the Crimson to tie Yale atop the conference standings.

IHO: Did Harvard do anything special to stop [Justin] Sears, who only had nine points?

JJ: Nothing really special, but they did get him out of the box.

IHO: How do you account for a 16-11 halftime score?

JJ: Both teams came out and let the moment get the best of them.

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Yale holds off Columbia, 63-59, Justin Sears dominates

Even Justin Sears' stat line doesn't do justice to how clutch he was at Levien Gym Saturday. (Fred Beckham/AP)
Even Justin Sears’ stat line doesn’t do justice to how clutch he was at Levien Gym Saturday. (Fred Beckham/AP)

Last year, Yale made the trek to Columbia and got blown out. But that was on a Saturday night, after the long ride back from Cornell.

This year Yale got Columbia on a Friday and made the best of it with an exciting 63-59 win, which left Yale as the only undefeated Ivy, a strange stat for just three games into the Ivy season.

Justin Sears was far and away the best player on the court, with 28 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, two steals, two assists and zero turnovers, in addition to a game-saving block of an attempted three-pointer by Columbia standout Maodo Lo.

Javier Duren made clutch free throws down the stretch.

Yale got off to a slow start but still led 35-32 at the half. The Elis built a large lead to start the second half, but Columbia fought back with a barrage of threes, to cut the deficit to 58-57. The Lions were unable to take the lead as Yale closed them out from the charity stripe.

The game was played before a near sellout and very vocal crowd.

Yale made the ride to Cornell last night and Columbia faces a Brown team reeling from a player defection (leading scorer Leland King) and a squandered lead at Cornell.

It is tough to believe that the Elis can run the string undefeated in a very competitive Ivy League.

The five biggest Ivy upsets of the season

Does what it says in the headline…
1.Yale 45, UConn 44- Yale was up most of the game at Gampel and it took a three from the corner by Jack Montague with 1.7 seconds remaining to seal the victory over the defending national champions.
2.Brown 77, Providence 67- This was a beatdown against a very good Providence team who could see the postseason. Brown was 12-for-13 from the free throw line to close out the game.
3.Penn 56, St. Joe’s 52-This is a bad Penn team, no doubt about that. But when Tony Hicks is playing well, the Quakers can compete with decent teams. Hicks notched 13 of his 15 points in the second half of a game in which Penn led for 29 minutes.
4.Brown 70, Saint Peter’s 58- This was a Saint Peter’s team which beat Rutgers, and Brown thoroughly outplayed them. Now former Bear Leland King had 16 points.
5.Cornell 68, George Mason 60- Sure, George Mason is no power, but this game was played on the road in November and few knew if Cornell was going to duplicate its inept effort of last season. Shonn Miller and Robert Hatter both posted 21 points.

Things we learned about the Ivy League in a crazy day

Justin Sears notched 27 points and nine rebounds in Yale
Justin Sears notched 27 points and nine rebounds in Yale”s 69-65 win over Brown. (ivyleaguesports.com)

Since I practice law by day, let”s enter into a few stipulations:

1. Yale is what we expected Yale to be. The UConn win was no fluke.
2. Harvard is not that good. Losing to Holy Cross, BC and Dartmouth at home just doesn”t work.
3. No team is going undefeated in the Ivies.
4. A three-loss team may casino win the Ivies.
5. Princeton and Columbia will each beat either Yale or Harvard at least once.
6. The home team always has trouble in the Yale-Brown games.

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Surprise Ivy team of 2014 – Cornell

(collegebasketball.ap.org)
(collegebasketball.ap.org)

Sure it was close. Dartmouth own the better record at 6-6, but Cornell sits at 6-7, after going 2-26 last year.

Who expected wins over George Mason, Canisius and Siena, a close call with Penn State and a semi-competitive battle with national power Syracuse?
Many considered that last season would be the last for coach Bill Courtney, but the athletic director saw some fire in the fifth-year head coach, recognized that Cornell had some key injuries last season and gave him another season to right the ship. And right it he has.

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Q&A with Princeton women’s hoops coach Courtney Banghart

(goprincetontigers.com)
(goprincetontigers.com)

Our Richard Kent caught up with Princeton women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart, who has led the Tigers to the NCAA tournament in four of the last five years, making Princeton the gold standard of women’s hoops in the Ancient Eight during that stretch. While Princeton relinquished the Ivy crown to Penn last year, the Tigers are back with a vengeance so far in 2014-15, currently boasting a 15-0 record with an average margin of 25.5 points per victory. After the jump, check out what Banghart had to say about the prospect of starting up new in-state rivalries with Rutgers and Seton Hall, her team’s recent visit to the White House and much more.

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“A signature win” for Yale basketball

Yale's victory over UConn marks a signature win on the Elis' resume. (yalebulldogs.com)
Yale’s victory over UConn marks a signature win on the Elis’ resume. (yalebulldogs.com)

Yale had a Montague, but UConn had no Capulet to defend. And as such, Yale defeated UConn, 45-44, at Gampel Pavilion, in a stunner to most of the 9,538 in attendance.

Jack Montague hit a three-pointer from the left corner with 1.7 remaining on the clock to give Yale the win. Montague was 50-95 in threes entering the game but had not made one against the Huskies. The Elis were only 3-for-21 from three for the game.

If there was any doubt about how good, tough and athletic Yale is, it was answered by the middle of the first half, when the Elis held a 22-9 lead over the defending national champions.

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Q&A with former Princeton athletic director Gary Walters

Gary Walters and his classmates celebrate Princeton's Final Four bid in 1965.(paw.princeton.edu)
Gary Walters and his classmates celebrate Princeton’s Final Four bid in 1965.(paw.princeton.edu)

Very few people have had a stronger impact on Princeton basketball than Gary Walters, who served as his alma mater’s athletic director for 20 years before retiring earlier this year and was a point guard for the Tigers from 1964-67. He was starting point guard on Princeton’s 1964-65 Final Four Team, and we caught up with the Ford Family Athletic Director Emeritus to ask him about his memories of that legendary squad for its 50th anniversary.

Q: What were your expectations going into the 1964-65 season?
A: Very high based on any number of factors, including having the national player of the year and Olympic captain in Bill Bradley and a strong sophomore class, all recruited by coach Butch van Breda Kolff.

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