Watch out, Princeton and Penn. Yale is lurking in the background in plain sight.
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.”
It appears that Katie Benzan will be trading in her crimson for burnt orange next season.
The three time first team All-Ivy guard, who announced she would forgo her senior season in late August, informed the Harvard Crimson newspaper that she verbally committed to the University of Texas at Austin for a graduate transfer year in 2020-21. She will formally sign a National Letter of Intent in the upcoming early signing period that runs from November 13 through 20.
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:
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.
Yale started out the last week of the summer by announcing a new set of admission policies for recruited athletes in the wake of the Operation Varsity Blues scandal on Wednesday. Two days later, heading into Labor Day weekend, the athletic department followed with a posting of the women’s basketball schedule for the 2019-20 season.
Coach Allison Guth’s fifth season in charge of the Bulldogs features a strong 13-game non-conference schedule which will have her team facing nine teams that made the postseason in 2019. The Elis will challenge Mercer, North Carolina, Quinnipiac, and UCLA, which went to the NCAA Tournament, while taking on WNIT participants Fresno State, Loyola Marymount, Northeastern, Providence, and Sacred Heart.
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.
- The Dartmouth men have completed its staff for the 2019-2020 season with the hiring of Steve Ongley as an assistant coach. Ongley spent last year on Jim Engles’ staff at Columbia, where he worked with the front court players. Prior to that, he was an assistant for four years at Colby College, the alma mater of Big Green head coach Dave McLaughlin.
Ongley replaces John Andrzejek, a Columbia graduate and one-time Lions student manager who joined former boss Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State. There has been no announcement from Columbia for its replacement of Ongley.
- Princeton women’s coach Carla Berube finished the hiring of her new staff, with the announcement of Helen Tau as director of basketball operations. Tau, a 2014 graduate of the University of Texas who was a walk-on in her senior year, spent 2014-2016 as a graduate assistant for the Longhorns and then worked for Georgetown as director of video operations the last two seasons.
Tau replaces Jessica Imhof, who went to the University of North Carolina to join former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart.
Even with last week’s big news (and news, and news) around former Penn men’s head coach Jerome Allen and the probable extension for current Brown men’s head coach Mike Martin, the Ancient Eight continues its many off-season story lines.
- Carla Berube has picked three staff members at Princeton, hiring Lauren Battista, Dalia Eshe and Lauren Dillon as assistant coaches. Two previously coached under her at Tufts.
Battista has previous experience as an assistant at Tufts for the 2018-2019 season, where she worked with Berube, as well as three years as a graduate assistant at Boston College. She played four years a Bentley College and was named the national Division II Player of the Year in her 2013-2014 senior year.
Eshe has been as assistant coach at La Salle from 2016-2019 and East Carolina from 2014-2016. Prior to that, she spent the 2013-2014 season as Director of Basketball Operations for Loyola, Maryland. Before entering the coaching ranks, the 2006 Florida graduate and committed vegan, was drafted by the Seattle Storm in the second round of the WNBA Draft. She was in the training camps for Seattle, Washington and Atlanta in the WNBA, but played professionally in Turkey, Russia, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany and Ecuador between 2006 and 2013.
Dillon was an assistant under Berube last year at Tufts, where Dillon played the previous four years before graduating in 2018. Dillon was a two-year captain, NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and earned a First-Team All-League selection as a senior.
The previous Princeton staff consisted of Carrie Moore, Addie Micir and Cinnamon Lister. Moore went to North Carolina with former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart, Micir became the associate head coach for Lehigh and Lister moved to UC Irvine.
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.