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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Q&A with current Baylor and former Yale standout Makai Mason

Makai Mason is averaging 13.2 points and 2.6 assists per game through his first five contests as a Baylor Bear after missing the first three games of the season with an ankle injury. (Baylor Athletics)
You must remember him. That incredible 31-point performance for Yale in the 2016 NCAA Tournament is hard to forget.
Then injuries took hold and he only saw action for Yale in one game last season, at Harvard. Well, he made quite an impression on Baylor coach Scott Drew en route to those 31 points, and Mason is now integral to the Baylor offense as a fifth-year player. He is averaging 30.8 minutes and 13.2 points per game, having scored 18 points in two different games for the Bears so far this season. IHO caught up with him recently.

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Yale falls to Duke again after early back-and-forth

It’s not a bad gig, covering Yale and getting to see the Elis play twice at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2015, not to mention an inspirational NCAA game in Providence in 2016.
But let’s start from the beginning. The flight to Raleigh on Friday was simple and a tour of the Duke Basketball Museum & Sports Hall of Fame and Krzyzewskiville, where Duke students have camped out for tickets since about 1986, was a blast.
The privilege to attend the Yale shootaround on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., was even better thanks to coach James Jones, who was methodical in his preparation but sure to give ample time to some of his own family, including his peripatetic son Quincy, a great athlete in his own right. As always, he preached toughness and crafted a sound game plan against one of the top two teams in the country.

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Yale tops Miami, serves notice to rest of Ivy League

It seemed crazy. What was Yale coach James Jones thinking? No home game until Dec. 5. A trip to China to play a Pac-12 foe (California) and trips to perennial national powers Miami and Memphis.
The answer is simple. Jones wanted to prepare his talented team, strangely picked only third in the league by the media pundits, for the Ivy wars starting in January. He is fully aware that it is unlikely for two Ivy teams to secure NCAA bids, so why not play the best to ultimately be the best Ivy squad?
The Elis secured perhaps their biggest out-of-league win since the epic 2016 NCAA win over Baylor, by beating heavily favored Miami of the ACC Saturday, 77-73. Miami entered the game with the No. 30 KenPom ranking nationally, the second-highest ranking of a team beaten by Yale in the KenPom era going back to 2001-02 (topped only by the Baylor win). The Elis were down by 10 at the half and fell to a 56-41 deficit in the second half.

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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.

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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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Yale couldn’t overcome poor officiating in loss at Memphis

It has been advocated for years that a commissioner of college basketball be appointed. There has been been a name bandied about: star commentator and former Duke star Jay Bilas. Who knows what his duties would be? Notwithstanding, he would have had his hands full after the Yale-Memphis debacle in Memphis last night before 14,656 at FedEx Forum.
Memphis beat a game and tenacious Yale team, 109-102, in double overtime. It had help from the highly partisan crowd. It had more help from the officials.
Yale was whistled for 40 fouls and on the strength of that, Memphis took 56 free throws. Memphis was whistled for only 22. That is a huge differential in any sport.

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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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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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