The calendar has not even turned to September and we have our first major development of the 2019-20 season. The Harvard Crimson broke the news that rising senior Katie Benzan, a three-time first team All-Ivy guard, has decided to step away from the program and end her Ancient Eight career.
“Katie has been a remarkable player in our program for three years,” head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said in a statement emailed to the paper. “After much discussion with the coaching staff, she has decided to step away her senior year.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Dartmouth men rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat Albany on the road, 61-52. With the win, the team’s fourth in a row and its second victory over the Great Danes this season, the Big Green are 8-5. Not only are their eight wins the second most in the Ivy League this year, but they are the most wins in a single season of the Dave McLaughlin era.
Just over a year ago, the program was reeling with a surprise announcement that two time All-Ivy forward Evan Boudreaux would prematurely end his playing career at Dartmouth, as well as a season-ending injury to starting guard and second leading scorer Guilien Smith. Now, less than six weeks into the 2018-2019 campaign, the Green have risen from the ashes and look to be a force in the upcoming Ivy season.
Coach David McLaughlin and his Dartmouth men’s basketball team were one day away from the start of the 2017-18 season when news broke that would drastically change their year. Star junior forward Evan Boudreaux, the 2015-16 Ivy Rookie of the Year and two time second team All-Ivy, announced that he was leaving the program so he could graduate early and retain his last two years of eligibility as a graduate transfer. If that wasn’t enough, the second leading scorer in 2016-17, junior guard Guilien Smith, was lost to a season-ending injury after the third game of the year. Less than two weeks into the season, the second-year head coach had to get his team to accept their adversity and find a way to build upon the previous year’s 7-20 overall and 4-10 Ivy records. After completing last season with another 7-20 record and an eighth-place 3-11 league finish, the coach and the team need to take a step forward in 2018-19.
Looks like Xavier will get an Ivy grad transfer after all.
A week after former Dartmouth standout Evan Boudreaux committed to Purdue following a decommitment from Xavier, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Sunday that Columbia guard Kyle Castlin is headed for Xavier.
Castlin will play for new Xavier coach Travis Steele, who was hired Mar. 29 following the departure of Chris Mack, who left for Louisville (thereby prompting Boudreaux to reopen his recruitment).
Boudreaux ranked second in the Ivy League in scoring, first in rebounding and second in minutes played as a sophomore in 2016-17. The 6-foot-8 Lake Forest, Ill. native has two years of eligibility remaining.
Some unexpected contributors carried their teams on their backs this weekend, yielding varied results.
In Harvard’s 66-51 win over Princeton Friday night, the Crimson offense flowed through sophomore guard Christian Juzang, who posted 20 points – 12 more than his career high up to that point – on 6-for-10 shooting alongside four assists. Columbia rookie guard Gabe Stefanini notched a career-high 20 points in just 27 minutes in the Lions’ wild overtime loss at Brown Saturday night, 17 of them coming in the second half or extra period. After scoring just 26 points in the previous five games, Yale freshman guard Azar Swain registered 25 this weekend, his 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) clip from deep lifting an Elis squad that had been hurting from three-point range.
Going Inside Ivy Hoops with Jill Glessner and Brett Franklin this week are Cornell women’s basketball head coach Dayna Smith and Dartmouth men’s head coach David McLaughlin.
During Brett and Jill’s look at the Ivy men’s hoops scene, Jill praises the Brown men for overcoming the Inside Ivy Hoops jinx, the duo breaks down Harvard’s defensive prowess and offensive struggles, Jill explains why Harvard men should have beaten Dartmouth by double-digits, why Dartmouth is like the Philadelphia Eagles, why she’s going with Yale over Harvard and much more:
During Jill and Brett’s look at the Ivy women’s hoops scene, they note why this weekend is particularly pivotal for the #RoadToIvyMadness, Dominique Leonidas making a name for herself for Brown, Jill explains why she likes Columbia to avenge itself at Cornell, the duo the doubly uptempo matchup of Brown at Dartmouth, how Dartmouth’s guard play will fare against Yale and 2016-17 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Tamara Simpson and much more:
What’s Hot: Underclass Success, Team Shooting and Improved Blocks
Brendan Barry earned the starting point guard spot this season and leads the team in minutes (34.5), points (12.3), three pointers (28), assists (43) and assists/turnover (2.0). He is shooting 47 percent overall, 44 percent from beyond the arc and 83 percent from the charity stripe. First-year forward Chris Knight is averaging only 20 minutes a game, but he is leading the team in made field goals (52) and shooting (59 percent), while third in scoring (11.4 points), rebounds (3.6) and blocks (0.8). He may not have broken into the starting lineup, but his game has helped the Big Green and their fans begin to move beyond the loss of All-Ivy junior Evan Boudreaux.