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:
No Abby Meyers against Rider (#3 preseason MAAC) – no problem
No Meyers and Bella Alarie for the 4th quarter at GW – no problem
No Meyers and Alarie for the entire game at Seton Hall (#3 preseason Big East) – no problem
No Meyers and Alarie for three quarters and Carlie Littlefield for the second half against FGCU (#1 preseason ASUN) – no problem
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.
In Coach Megan Griffith’s first year at her alma mater, the Lions went 13-14 and its 10-3 non-conference record was an all-time best. Columbia faced a more challenging non-conference schedule in 2017-2018, but hoped to use it to build upon the 3-11 league record in 2016-2017. As the season began, the Light Blue & White had major losses that deprived them of a significant amount of their experience, front court depth, and three point shooting. While the coach was left with one of the Ivy League’s all-time offensive talents, the inexperience of the rest of the roster made for a disappointing 8-21 (2-12 Ivy) season. A spot in the Ivy Tournament may be too much to expect in 2018-2019, but the coach will bring in a large class of newcomers to help the young returnees move the program in the right direction.
The Lions lose Camille Zimmerman, Paige Tippet, and Jillian Borreson to graduation. They will also be without the play of seniors Josie Little and Sarah Elston, who, according to Columbia Athletics, have both medically retired. Zimmerman averaged 19.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, finishing the season with her second straight selection to the All-Ivy first team. She finished her career with 1,973 points, fourth in Ivy history, as well as Columbia’s all-time leader in points, rebounds (940), field goals made (728), field goals attempted (1,707), free throw percentage (82.6), games played (113) and games started (112). Zimmerman joined the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx as a free agent, but was released at the end of the preseason. She recently signed a professional contract to play for Kouvottaret in Finland.
Yet Another Ivy graduate transfer
Following his recent graduation from Cornell, forward David Onuorah announced his decision to transfer to UConn as a graduate transfer. Onuorah was a starter for most of his Big Red career, including this season’s opener at Binghamton. Following that first game, he was out of action due to a reported illness for the next several contests. Despite being unable to play, Onuorah was seen defeating a Southwest Air gate agent in a push-up contest on the way to the team’s November 26 game at Houston. Afterwards, there was no mention of a reason for his continued absence. He was listed on the game notes roster as late as the February 12 matchup at Penn.
Like former Cornell star Shonn Miller, who played at UConn in 2015-16, Onuorah will take his talents to Stoors. With the Huskies’ loss of three forwards and a center, Onuorah hopes to use his defensive skills to earn major minutes and, eventually, break into the Huskies’ starting lineup.
Ivy (assistant) coaching carousel continues