Ivy women’s hoops weekend review – Jan. 19-20, 2019

Brown (9-8, 1-0 Ivy) 86 vs Yale (10-6, 0-1 Ivy) 71

The Bears starters used a fast paced offense and defense to pave the way for a 86-71 victory in front of a boisterous Education Day crowd at the Pizzitola Sports Center.  Shayna Mehta led the way for Brown, scoring a career high 37 points on 10 for 19 shooting from the field and 14 of 15 from the free throw line.  In all, Brown had four players in double figures with Justine Gaziano adding 19, Taylor Will scoring 13 and Erika Steeves putting in 11.  Bruno shot 52 percent from the field, including 8 three pointers at 44 percent, and hit 76 percent (16-21) from the charity stripe.  On defense, Yale was held to 29 percent shooting from three and 50 percent (8-16) from the line, while Roxy Barahman, who entered the day as the league’s leading scorer at 20.1 points per game, was limited to eight points on 23 percent shooting.  The Bears full court pressure stymied the Bulldogs to the tune of 18 steals and 20 forced turnovers that led to 29 points.

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Ivy hoops weekend takeaways – Jan. 18-19, 2019

Women’s

Brown’s offense is too potent to miss Ivy League Tournament again 

If Brown misses the Ivy League Tournament for a second straight season with as much offensive firepower as it has, it’ll really be a shame.

Brown senior guard Shayna Mehta’s career-high 37 points led the way, and the Bears’ elder Mehta has been one of the league’s standout scorers for a long time now, going back to her Ivy Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015-16.

But Mehta wasn’t alone in gouging a strong Yale defense in the Bears’ 86-71 win over the Bulldogs Friday. Seniors Erika Steeves and Taylor Will, who missed Ivy play last season due to injury, and junior Justine Gaziano combined for 43 points on 18-for-34 shooting. The Bears overwhelmed Yale inside and out, topping Yale by double digits at Pizzitola Sports Center while scoring 80-plus points for the second straight season.

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Ivy women’s weekend preview: Jan. 18-19, 2019

Yale (10-5, 0-0 Ivy) at Brown (8-8, 0-0) – Friday 1/18/19 11:00 am
1/12/18 Yale home win, 77-63
1/19/18 Brown home win, 81-71

Yale
RPI #109; Strength of Schedule #256
Current Steak 5 wins; Last Five 5-0

Roxy Barahman (junior, guard) – 20.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.2 stealspg, 36.2 minutespg
Camilla Emsbo (first-year, forward) – 11.0 ppg, 50.4% FG, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 blockspg
Megan Gorman (junior, forward) – 7.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 32.4 minutes pg

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Dartmouth engineers commanding win over Harvard

Last year, there was the Legend of Flannel Night! This year, we can add the new Legend of Wings Night!!

The Harvard men arrived for their league-opening match with Dartmouth as a five-point favorite, according to KenPom. They also had former first team All-Ivy guard Bryce Aiken in uniform for the first time this season. Neither of those things mattered, in the end (and Aiken didn’t play anyway), as the Big Green used a sizzling 68 percent shooting performance to beat the Crimson, 81-63, for their first Ivy opening victory in 12 years.

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Big Green looks for big upset in Ivy opener versus Harvard

The Dartmouth men’s basketball team welcomes Harvard on Saturday night for both programs’ Ivy tip-off. The Crimson have won the last four meetings and five of the last six, including both games in 2018. On Jan. 6, Harvard beat Dartmouth 61-51 at Lavietes Pavilion, while earning a 62-57 overtime victory at Leede Arena on Jan. 20.

The Big Green, picked eighth in the Ivy media preseason poll, finished the nonconference schedule at 9-7, already the most single season wins in coach David McLaughlin’s three-year tenure and the school’s best mark since going 8-4 in the 1996-97 campaign. The team is now ranked at No. 223 by KenPom, the program’s best since 2015, and look to defend their home court against the 2018 regular season co-champs and 2019 preseason Ivy favorites.

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Ivy women’s hoops in review: Dec 23 – Jan 4 (Pre-Ivy edition)

Princeton (8-7)
Div I Opponents Win Rate: 53.3 percent (#108, nationally)
12/29 at New Hampshire, 90-42

The Tigers have won seven straight, outscoring those opponents by an average of 72.3 to 49.6.  For the season, they are leading  the league in free throw (79.6 percent; #6 nationally) and second in three point (33.3 percent; #86) shooting.  The two point shooting is last in the league (43.9 percent; #175), but is quickly improving with the return of Bella Alarie (19.3 ppg; 55.3 percent from two) and Taylor Baur (11.0 ppg; 60.0 percent from two) to the starting lineup.  The defense is controlling the paint with a 13.7 block rate (#2  Ivy; #14), as well as holding rivals to 66.7 percent from the free throw line (#3 Ivy; 113) and 41.8 percent from two (#4 Ivy; 95).  While they are last in defensive three point shooting (34.4 percent; #289) for the season, in their last seven games the Orange & Black have held teams to 28.6 percent (38-133) from beyond the arc.

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Harvard women upset No. 14 California, 85-79

The Harvard women’s team (7-6) defeated the No. 14 California Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion on Sunday afternoon, 85-79, for its first victory over a ranked opponent since coach Kathy Delaney-Smith’s No. 16 Crimson defeated No. 1 Stanford, 71-67, in the opening round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.  The last time an Ancient Eight team bested a ranked opponent before Sunday was a 91-85 Yale win over No. 15 Florida State in Dec. 2015.

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Ivy women’s hoops weeks in review: Nov. 29 – Dec. 12

Princeton (4-7)
12/2 vs Davidson 65-57
12/8 vs Quinnipiac 54-42
12/11 vs Monmouth 79-47

Before the return of Bella Alarie on Friday night, Princeton went 2-7 with home victories bookending a seven game losing streak.  While the youthful Tigers have gained valuable game experience during this time, culminating in a come from behind win over Davidson, the return of the reigning Ivy Player of the Year immediately showed why they were picked to repeat as league champs.  In Alarie’s first game back, she had 16 points, a career high 19 rebounds and 5 blocks.  Not only did the Tigers win by 12 over a Quinnipiac squad that made it to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, but Alarie was named Ivy League co-Player of the Week.  In her follow-up performance at Monmouth, she put up 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.

During Alarie’s absence, Carlie Littlefield and Gabrielle Rush stepped up for the Orange & Black.  Littlefield averaged 15.3 points (4th Ivy), 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists (11th), 1.8 made threes (9th) and 1.7 steals (4th) in 33.9 minutes per game.  Rush, meanwhile, added 13.6 points (8th), 6.7 boards (9th), 2.8 made threes (2nd) and 1.7 steals (6th) per contest.

Over the first part of the season, the team has been uncharacteristically weak in two point shooting (40.9 percent), three point defense (35.9 percent) and offensive rebounding rate (27.5 percent).  With their premier post player back and other important rotation players expected back from the DL soon, the Tigers should expect those numbers to improve significantly.

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Absent Chris Lewis, Harvard stuns Saint Mary’s with impressive road win

Harvard took the floor on Saturday night with an immediate disadvantage: already 8.5-point underdogs on the road against the Gaels, the Crimson had arguably their three best players donning street clothes. On the far right side of their bench sat Bryce Aiken, Seth Towns, and, to the surprise of many, Chris Lewis, Harvard’s leading scorer.

After earning Ivy Rookie of the Year honors in his freshman campaign, Aiken battled knee ailments all of last year and missed an extended amount of time. When he did play, it was clear that he wasn’t at full strength. The former top-100 recruit underwent surgery this past offseason, and was expected to be healthy by the start of this year. However, Aiken has yet to see action in the 2018-19 season.

It’s been an eerily similar journey for Towns, whose breakout sophomore season earned him the 2017-18 Ivy League Men’s Player of the Year award. The lanky sharpshooter scored just under 23 points per 40 minutes last year, shooting more than 44 percent from deep. His impact on Harvard’s offense was especially noticeable late in the shot clock; when the Crimson had no open looks and the clock was nearing zero, Towns would often create shots on his own via isolation play.

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Women’s hoops week in review: Nov. 12-18

Princeton (0-2 This week; 1-3 overall)
vs Seton Hall 66-70
at Penn State 71-79 (OT)
Even with their starting lineup absences, the Tigers just missed sweeping two major conference foes this week.  Against Seton Hall, Princeton came back from an 18 point third quarter deficit to hold a 66-59 point advantage with 2:15 left in the game.  Unfortunately, the Orange & Black went scoreless the rest of the way, as the Pirates finished on an 11-0 run.  The Tigers were also up 7 against Penn State with 2:42 left in regulation, but the Nittany Lions went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 63.  In the extra session, Princeton could only manage 1 field goal in 10 attempts as they went down to their third straight defeat.

Despite the losses, Princeton received improved play from first-year starters Grace Stone (13 points and 7 rebounds in 36 minutes vs PSU), and Kira Emsbo (6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks in 12 minutes vs PSU), a 6′ 5″ forward who missed her senior season due to a ACL tear.  A Thanksgiving tournament in Cancun against DePaul (#15), Syracuse (#18) and Kansas State should continue to give the younger Tigers more experience and make the whole team stronger by the time Bella Alarie, Taylor Baur and Qalea Ismail return from the DL.

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