Ivy Hoops Online’s writing staff voted on where all eight Ivy women’s and men’s basketball teams would end up for the 2019-20 season. Our projected order of finish for the women:
The two-time defending regular and postseason Ivy champion Princeton women’s team has announced its 2019-20 schedule, which features a non-conference schedule with two trips to the midwest and six games against teams that made the postseason in 2019.
In November, the Tigers will travel to the state of Iowa, the home of junior Carlie Littlefield, to take on Iowa State and Iowa. A month later, they will visit the Show-Me State to face Missouri and St. Louis for Gateway City native and senior co-captain Taylor Baur.
Over the course of the pre-Ivy schedule, the Orange & Black will face Rider, Seton Hall, and Hartford from last year’s WNIT, as well as NCAA qualifiers Iowa, Iowa State and Missouri. The Tigers will also welcome Penn State to Jadwin Gymnasium, looking to avenge last year’s 79-71 overtime defeat.
Although Princeton Athletics named Carla Berube as the Tigers’ new coach all the way back on May 29, it wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that Princeton’s Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan formally introduced new head coach Berube to the Tigers community and media.
Berube, a national champion with UConn in 1995, said she called her college coach, Geno Auriemma, immediately after the Tigers’ job was posted.
“That’s perfect,” said the Hall of Famer. “You’re ready for it.” He then reached out to Marcoux Samaan that same day to offer his support for his former point guard.
At the end of April, Courtney Banghart left Princeton to take the open position at North Carolina. Over her 12 years at Princeton’s helm, she built the Tigers program into a conference power with national relevance. In order to continue the forward progress of the program, the AD knew that this was a very important hire.
Following the sudden departure of Liz Feeley to Smith College in the summer of 2000, then-athletic director Gary Walters hired Kevin Morris as the interim coach of the Princeton women’s basketball team. A 2-25 record ensured that Morris would not stick around Jadwin Gymnasium permanently. The job would eventually go to Richard Barron, who had just built a strong Division III program at Sewanee (The University of the South).
Barron would last six seasons at Princeton, before resigning on May 6, 2007 to become the associate head coach for Kim Mulkey at Baylor. While he only managed a 74-91 record (37-47 Ivy) in his tenure, the 2005-2006 team went 21-7 and tied for first in the Ivy League with a 12-2 record. After the 2006-07 team fell to 13-15 and 7-7 in conference play, Walters was tasked with finding a replacement that would get the program to consistently compete for a league title.
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.
- 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.
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.
Harvard Athletics announced the schedules for its men’s and women’s basketball teams last Thursday.
Men’s key non-conference games:
11/9/18 vs Northeastern
The Huskies (23-10, 14-4 CAA in ’17-’18) were co-champions of the CAA last year, and lost the title game to the College of Charleston. One of its 23 wins came against Harvard, 77-61, at Matthews Arena last November. The team returns senior forward Vasa Pusica (first-team All-CAA and runner-up for Player of the Year), junior guard Shawn Occeus (Defensive Player of the Year), junior guard Bolden Brace (Sixth Man of the Year), and sophomore forward Tomas Murphy (All-Rookie team).
Princeton last faced Maryland at College Park in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, losing to the Terrapins for its first and only defeat of the year. Playing at a neutral site in North Carolina, the No. 12-seeded Tigers not only entertained thoughts of a revenge victory against Maryland, but a possible second round win against N.C. State or Elon. Unfortunately for the Orange & Black, the No. 5-seeded Terrapins (No. 16 nationally) had other ideas, ending the Tigers’ season for the second time in four years with a convincing 77-57 victory.
The Tigers could not control the tempo or the boards against the Terrapins, especially in the early parts of both halves. In the opening 10 minutes, Maryland only shot 27 percent from two and 38 percent from three, but the Terrapins outrebounded Princeton by 52 percent and got seven more attempts in the quarter to open a 17-11 lead. The Tigers, who got pushed away from the basket through most of the first half, finally broke through in the second quarter, hitting five of 10 two-pointers while their defense held the Terrapins without a three to go into the locker room only down 31-26.
On Sunday evening, the Princeton women dominated the Penn Quakers, 63-34, to complete a three-game season sweep of the two-time defending champions, taking the League Ivy Tournament title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Coupled with their strong performance against Yale on Saturday night, Courtney Banghart’s squad left no doubt in showing which team is the Ancient Eight’s best.
Like they did against the Bulldogs, the Orange & Black were aggressive from the start. Sydney Jordan hit a layup 49 seconds into the game and that was the beginning of the end for Penn. The Tigers went out to an 8-0 lead before Michelle Nwokedi hit a three-pointer at the 5:55 mark. Princeton’s Abby Meyers came off the bench to score the next 11 points to open a commanding 19-3 lead at the end of the opening frame. The Tigers defensive intensity led them to a 16-6 rebounding advantage as they held Penn to a 1-for-14 performance from the field.