Pre-WNBA Draft buzz for Princeton’s Bella Alarie

Three-time Ivy Player of the Year Bella Alarie has long demonstrated that she’s a WNBA-caliber talent, and league evaluators are taking stock of her potential for success there. (Princeton Athletics)

With the nation continuing its fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the sports world on hiatus, the WNBA will provide some actual live entertainment on Friday night as the league’s draft will be televised at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN. Ivy hoops fans will have an additional bit of interest waiting to hear Bella Alarie’s name.

Alarie, a three-time Ivy League Player of the Year, four-time first team All-Ivy, two-time AP Honorable Mention All-America and all-time Princeton leader in both points and blocks, looks to be the third Ancient Eight athlete picked in Draft history and the first chosen in the opening round since Harvard’s Allison Feaster went No. 5 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks in 1998.

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Ivy hoops roundup – April 3, 2020

Take two for Tapé

Former Columbia standout Patrick Tapé decommitted from Duke, 247Sports reported Thursday, just nine days after the Charlotte, N.C. native reportedly chose Duke over Syracuse, USC and Ohio State, citing close proximity to his family.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – April 3, 2020

Columbia graduate transfer Patrick Tapé chooses Duke

Columbia graduate transfer Patrick Tapé is headed for Duke.

Tapé will be immediately eligible after sitting out this season, as his loss proved a significant blow for the Lions. Tapé averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in three seasons for Columbia, establishing himself as a strong inside presence and efficient scorer. He was an All-Ivy honorable mention as a junior in 2018-19, averaging 11.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest.

The 6-foot-10, 220-pound Charlotte, N.C. native was in the top 10 of ESPN’s graduate transfer rankings and told ESPN that choosing Duke over Syracuse, USC and Ohio State came down to proximity.

“[It was] really just being close to home and having my family come see me, the excellent tradition they have there and the opportunity to play for the best coach of all time,” Tapé said.

Tapé’s decision was the inverse of Harvard graduate transfer Seth Towns’s decision to commit to Ohio State over Duke.

What each Ivy women’s team’s fans should be thankful for this Thanksgiving season

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, which means it’s time to take stock of what followers of each Ivy women’s team should be thankful for at this point of the season:

Read moreWhat each Ivy women’s team’s fans should be thankful for this Thanksgiving season

Q&A with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson

Our George “Toothless Tiger” Clark caught up with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson at Cameron Indoor Stadium just hours before Princeton’s tilt with Duke Tuesday. Listen to hear Henderson explain why he scheduled the game at Duke, break down Drew Friberg’s crucial second-half production in the Tigers’ comeback win over Iona, explain how Jaelin Llewellyn is unlike any freshman he’s ever seen and why Jose Morales is a “junkyard dog,” detail Richmond Aririguzoh’s development, the qualities his senior class has displayed, why Penn appears to have “that look” to him and much more:

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.

Read moreQ&A with current Baylor and former Yale standout Makai Mason

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.

Read moreYale falls to Duke again after early back-and-forth

Yale to start 2017-18 season with a bang, won’t finish with a whimper

Defense and offensive rebounding have been the calling cards for Yale head basketball coach James Jones ever since his arrival in New Haven in 1999. Right now, he sits as the dean of Ivy basketball coaches, the winningest Yale coach in history and the only Yale coach to guide the Elis to an NCAA win, a victory over favored Baylor in Providence in 2016.

Last year, Yale finished at 18-11 and 9-5 in the Ivies and just a game away from another NCAA tourney. In the first season of the Ivy postseason tourney, the Elis won a thrilling game over Harvard before falling by 12 to Princeton at the Palestra as the Tigers capped a 16-0 run through Ivy competition.

Read moreYale to start 2017-18 season with a bang, won’t finish with a whimper

Tracking Yale’s rise to championship history

 

The Yale basketball team celebrates its selection in the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament, in which it defeated Baylor in the first round in Providence, 79-75. It was Yale’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1962. (Hartford Courant)

It would be easy to point back to last season’s heartbreaking collapse and say that this year’s title run started simmering from the moment Javier Duren’s runner rimmed out at the Palestra on March 14, 2015. Certainly, that would be a convenient starting point for this narrative of redemption that culminated in this year’s seeding upset of the Baylor Bears. But anyone who’s been following the Bulldogs knows that this journey towards a title to call our own started long before that.

How did we get here?

There have been countless close calls since James Jones took the reins back at the turn of the century: the three-way tiebreaker in ’02 with Penn and Princeton, the thrilling up-tempo ’07 squad led by Eric Flato and Casey Hughes that started 9-2, beating undefeated Penn and sparking the only (non-Princeton) court storming I’ve ever witnessed at John J. Lee, the dangerous Greg Mangano-Reggie Willhite-Austin Morgan trio that raced out to fast start in ’12. But it wasn’t until Justin Sears arrived in New Haven that following summer that Jones could finally build around a true superstar in blue. And while getting to the Promised Land required contributions from everyone on this year’s squad from Blake Reynolds to Khaliq Ghani to Makai Mason, this was clearly Sears’ team.

But first, let’s go back to where it all began, back to a time when Yale basketball conjured up images of January hope and February despair, not the March ecstasy that we’ve come to know.

Read moreTracking Yale’s rise to championship history

No. 12 Yale outlasted by No. 4 Duke, 71-64

So very close.

No. 12 Yale came up just short in its bid for the first Sweet 16 appearance in program history, falling to No. 4 Duke, 71-64, in front of a pro-Yale partisan crowd at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

Read moreNo. 12 Yale outlasted by No. 4 Duke, 71-64