The long awaited and eagerly anticipated showdown between the Penn and Princeton women to open the Ivy season was played at the Palestra Saturday. The two teams came into the contest with a combined record of 22-2, each with but one blemish. First-year Tiger coach Carla Berube stated that she was thrilled to make her Ivy debut in one of the most iconic venues in all of college basketball.
Two of the Ivy League’s brightest stars shone bright as Carlie Littlefield and Bella Alarie combined for 48 points as the Tigers tamed the Penn State Nittany Lions, 72-55, at Jadwin Gym Saturday afternoon.
Penn State (5-5) used a strong performance on the offensive boards to jump out to a quick 8-2 lead, but three baskets by Alarie helped Princeton (9-1) tie the game at 11. An Abby Meyers layup gave the Tigers the 15-13 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.
With 2019 All-Ivy first-teamer Bryce Aiken and 2018 Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns yet to see action for Harvard this season, will the Ivy League add another star to the conference’s injured list?
Completely in command against George Washington with just over seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s contest in D.C., Princeton’s Carlie Littlefield drove the lane, dishing the ball at the last moment to Taylor Baur standing to the right of the basket. As Baur went up for the layup to extend the team’s lead to 20 points, she was met by GW’s Faith Blethen and Alexandra Maund, a Yale graduate transfer.
Blethen, who came from behind, fouled Baur and fell out of bounds. Maund, meanwhile, went straight up against the Tiger forward and was knocked backwards. As the former Yale forward came crashing down, she hit into Alarie’s lower right leg with both players hitting the ground and writhing in pain.
Fri., Nov. 8
Cornell (1-0) 71 at Albany (1-1) 51
Cornell opened the 2019-20 season with a dominant road win against Albany, which beat Columbia by four points in overtime on Tuesday. As opposed to the run-and-gun game against the Lions, the Great Danes would be forced into a halfcourt contest by the defense-oriented Big Red.
While November 5 was Election Day for statewide offices in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, it was Opening Day for college basketball across the entire nation.
For the Ivies, Harvard tipped things off at noon, picking up the Ancient Eight’s first “W” of the 2019-20 campaign with a road win at Northern Illinois. Princeton’s “pretty great machine” dominated Rider to give Carla Berube her first victory as the Tigers’ head coach. Dartmouth used a balanced attack to take down neighboring Vermont.
Columbia gave Albany all it could handle, but came up just short in an overtime defeat at the SEFCU Arena. Brown, playing without its biggest offensive weapon, had several chances in the last minute but fell by one to crosstown rival Bryant.
Shortly after Princeton’s season ended with an 82-77 defeat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Kentucky, Tigers head coach Courtney Banghart recounted how her newly elected captains, Bella Alarie and Taylor Baur, informed her that they desperately wanted to get their team to the Sweet 16. With the new season less than a week away, the Orange & Black still look to aim high.
“After that game, we talked a lot about what the future holds for our team. We want to make history,” Alarie said at the Tigers’ Media Day on Monday afternoon. “We have high expectations for ourselves, but we know we can reach them.”
IHO writer Richard Kent caught up recently with Yale women’s basketball coach Allison Guth as she enters her fifth season helming the Bulldogs, who have registered winning campaigns each of the past three seasons. (Ivy League Digital Network)
Ivy Hoops Online: Tell us a bit about your freshmen and how much contribution you expect to get from them.
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:
Our George Clark (Toothless Tiger) caught up recently with first-year Princeton coach Carla Berube. Berube talked about why she left Tufts after 17 years to come to Princeton, introduced her all-new coaching staff, touted the importance of facing power-five competition and much more:
After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April. Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.
On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up. Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign. In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.
Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.
In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.
The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.