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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Princeton bested by Lehigh, 72-57

The Tigers’ Division I debut at Lehigh can best be described as forgettable. The Mountain Hawks, surely one of the Patriot League’s elite squads, soundly thrashed Princeton Friday, 72-57.

Last season, at Jadwin Gym, Lehigh raced out to a 22-point lead at the end of what some believe to be the worst half of basketball in the Mitch Henderson era. Princeton came back to make a game of it but could not get over the hurdle the team made for itself.

This year, the scenarios were reversed. Despite woeful shooting (7-for-25, 1-for-12 from beyond the arc) the Tigers displayed tremendous defensive energy, holding Lehigh to 28 first-half points. The Hawks held a very manageable two-point margin at the break, 28-26.

Disaster struck in the first four minutes of the second period when Lehigh went on a 16-3 tear to lead, 44-29. Realizing the Tigers probably could not hit the lake from a rowboat, Lehigh coach Brett Reed deployed his team in a zone, daring the Tigers to make threes. Reed was right. The Tigers shot 4-for-32 from deep.

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Women’s Hoops Week in Review: Nov. 6-13, 2018

Princeton (1-1 This week; 1-1 Overall)
The Tigers did not miss Leslie Robinson (graduation), Bella Alarie (injury), Abby Meyers (academic suspension), and Qalea Ismail (injury) on Tuesday, beating the Broncs 89-65 at Jadwin.  The Orange & Black, led by 25 points from Gabrielle Rush, 16 from Carlie Littlefield and 10 from Taylor Baur, shot 47 percent from three and 59 percent from two.

Things were completely different at George Washington, when Princeton arrived with Baur added to the injured list.  The Tigers, who beat the Colonials by 20 one year ago, could not get anything going offensively, eventually falling by a score of 64-49.  For the afternoon, the Tigers only shot 18 percent from beyond the arc and 42 percent from two.  Sophomore McKenna Haire came off the bench to lead the Tigers with 13 points, followed by 12 from first-year starter Julia Cunningham.

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Ivies go 7-0 on opening night

  1. While most of the nation’s attention was focused on Election Night coverage, seven of the 16 Ivy teams opened the 2018-19 season. When the evening was over, the four men’s and three women’s teams were victorious and there was no need for any recounts.  After noting the highs and lows for the Penn men, below are summaries for the other six squads.

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Bella Alarie to miss start of season, Abby Meyers taking a year away from Princeton

In a major challenge to the Princeton women’s program, coach Courtney Banghart announced per the Trentonian during the team’s media day Thursday that Bella Alarie, the reigning Ivy Player of the Year, will miss the first part of the season due to a broken right arm sustained in an awkward fall during an early October practice.  She also mentioned that Abby Meyers will have to take a year away from the team and the university due to a “misunderstanding” in her computer science class that violated university policy, the Trentonian noted.

In her sophomore season, the 6’4″ Alarie was in the league’s top ten for multiple categories, averaging 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.6  blocks and 1.3 rebounds over 30 games. She shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 78.9 percent from the free throw line.  Meyers did not start any games last year, but she averaged 17.4 minutes a game in 28 contests.  In Ancient Eight action, the 6′ 0″ wing from Potomac, Md., was the team’s second leading scorer with 10.9 points per game, shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from three and 87 percent from the charity stripe.

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Q&A with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson

Editor’s note: Our George Clark (Toothless Tiger) recently caught up with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, who thoughtfully weighed in on Princeton basketball’s 2018-19 outlook, comparing the 2016-17 Tigers who went 16-0 in league play with last year’s 5-9 Princeton squad, previewing the program’s promising sophomore class, reflecting on rookie Jaelin Llewellyn living up to the hype, looking for Princeton’s defense to improve despite losing 2018 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Amir Bell, explaining why Princeton and Penn are playing back-to-back in January this year … and much more:

Ivy League coaches’ roundtables: About the brand, not the players

In past years, the Ivy League office organized a teleconference call for the men’s basketball coaches, a few days after the preseason media poll. At those events, the coaches would talk about their teams, as well as answer questions from the Ivy League moderator and a small number of reporters. In addition, Reggie Greenwood, the league’s Coordinator of Officials, would discuss any rule changes for the upcoming season. This year, the league decided to do away with the call in favor of having roundtable conversations with the men’s and women’s coaches.

The two 30-minute videos, which were shot in New Haven on Sept. 5 (women’s coaches) and Sept. 12 (men’s coaches), focused on the general improved state of Ivy recruiting, the difficulties in scheduling nonconference games as an improved mid-major conference, the unique challenges in playing back-to-back Ivy weekends, the importance of the Ivy Tournament for late-season competitiveness, and the significance of the league’s partnership with ESPN.  What fans did not hear was anything related to the specific teams and players.

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Princeton men’s recruits look to help team return to form in 2018-19

Even though the Princeton men’s team lost Ivy Player of the Year Spencer Weisz, first team All-Ivy Steven Cook and 25 game starting center Pete Miller from the undefeated regular and postseason Ivy champions of 2016-17, last year’s team was still expected to challenge for the 2018 Ivy title. Selected third in the preseason media poll, the Tigers trailed Yale by three points and Harvard by only eight, while picking up three first-place votes. With returning first team All-Ivy and conference Defensive Player of the Year Myles Stephens, honorable mention All-Ivy Devin Cannady and a resurgent Amir Bell anchoring the back court, Princeton entered the season optimistic that the new frontcourt would develop by the start of league play to give the team a shot at a repeat.

Early-season losses to Butler, BYU, St. Joseph’s, and Miami contributed to a 2-5 start for the Tigers. They rebounded in the later part of the non-conference schedule, including a 103-93 overtime victory at USC, to pull even at 7-7 by the start of the Ivy schedule. Despite an opening game loss at the Palestra to an improved Penn, Princeton found itself at 3-1 in league play, following an overtime win against Yale. The Tigers then, unexpectedly, went 0-7 with three overtime defeats and losses to each of the previous year’s lower division teams. After two wins against Dartmouth and Brown, Princeton entered the regular season finale with a solid shot at the fourth spot in the Ivy Tournament.  The Tigers got the necessary Harvard win over Columbia, but they lost by four to Yale, in their fifth overtime game of their Ivy season. In 2018-19, the Orange & Black (13-16, 5-9 Ivy) will look to put last year’s fifth-place effort behind them and show the rest of the conference that they belong in the league’s upper division.

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2019 Ivy men’s and women’s recruiting update

Since Ivy recruits do not sign National Letters of Intent, the Athletic Departments of the Ancient Eight schools cannot comment on student-athletes’ commitments until after they are formally accepted and place their deposits.  As a result, the following list is a summary of committed recruits for the Class of 2023 that have been obtained from searching the internet.

If any reader has any athlete to add to the list, please send a note to tips@ivyhoopsonline.com.

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