Ivy women’s hoops Saturday review

Banghart earns win 250, Delaney Smith sticks at 599

In a matchup of two of the Ivy’s premier teams and coaches, the Tigers (18-9, 10-2 Ivy) came out on top of the Crimson (14-11, 7-5), 61-58, on Saturday night.  With the win, Princeton coach Courtney Banghart won the 250th game of her 12-year career.  Harvard’s Kathy Delaney-Smith, in her 37th year there, will have to wait one more weekend to try and capture the 600th win of her storied tenure.

In a defensive battle where both teams shot under 36 percent from the field, the Tigers were able to use its inside presence (11-for-15 vs 2-for-2 in free throws; 36 to 28 points in the paint) to offset Harvard’s league-leading outside game.  The Crimson, which entered the game shooting more than 33 percent from three and averaging over nine treys a game, finished the night making only six baskets at a 23 percent accuracy.

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Harvard’s Bryce Aiken returns to the court for the first time this season

Minutes before game time at Howard University on Monday afternoon, Harvard Basketball tweeted out the day’s second most important announcement from the D.C. campus – for the first time in 348 days, junior guard Bryce Aiken would be on the court for the Crimson.

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Harvard women upset No. 14 California, 85-79

The Harvard women’s team (7-6) defeated the No. 14 California Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion on Sunday afternoon, 85-79, for its first victory over a ranked opponent since coach Kathy Delaney-Smith’s No. 16 Crimson defeated No. 1 Stanford, 71-67, in the opening round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.  The last time an Ancient Eight team bested a ranked opponent before Sunday was a 91-85 Yale win over No. 15 Florida State in Dec. 2015.

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Katie Benzan and modern basketball

“She’s one of the best shooters in the country.”

This is how Kathy Delaney-Smith, who has been Harvard’s head coach since 1982, has described her star point guard in press conferences. While coaches understandably have a tendency to inflate their players, this is no exaggeration. Last season, Benzan launched 220 shots from downtown, sinking 45 percent of them. Her stroke was even more lethal in conference play, during which exactly 50 percent of her 102 threes found the net.

Benzan is symbolic of the trend that is transforming the game at all levels: in the Ivy League, in the WNBA, in the men’s leagues, and in high-school gyms, teams shoot the three-ball now more than ever. What was once perceived as a somewhat selfish play is now recognized as a staple of an effective offense.

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2018 Ivy League Women’s Basketball Tournament preview

No. 4 Yale

15-12 Overall (7-5 Home; 8-5 Away; 0-2 Neutral)

8-6 Ivy (5-2 Home; 3-4 Away)

2-4 vs Ivy Tournament Teams (1-1 vs Princeton; 0-2 vs Penn; 1-1 vs Harvard)

RPI #125; Sagarin #135

Preseason Rank: #5

Projected Starters: Jen Berkowitz (Sr, C), Megan Gorman (So, F), Ellen Margaret Andrews (1st Yr, F/G), Tamara Simpson (Sr, G), Roxy Barahman (So, G)

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Ivy women’s hoops weekend update

Brown 81 vs Yale 71 (OT)

In Yale’s 77-63 win in New Haven last Friday, the Bulldogs were able to prevent the Bears from getting into its fast paced offensive flow.  At the start of this week’s return match in Providence, Brown (13-2; 1-1 Ivy) was determined not to let that happen again.  However, they ended up forcing the pace to go a bit too fast and both teams struggled over the first 20 minutes.  The Bears managed to take a four-point lead into the locker room, but they shot 36 percent overall, 40 percent from two and 27 percent from three, as well as committing 10 turnovers. Yale (8-7; 1-1 Ivy), meanwhile, shot 27 percent overall, 33 percent from two and 29 percent from three.

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Inside Ivy Hoops – Jan. 4, 2018

Introducing Ivy Hoops Online’s new podcast Inside Ivy Hoops, hosted by Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner, who also serve as the voices of Dartmouth basketball. Each week during conference play through the end of the 2017-18 season, Inside Ivy Hoops will feature guests from around the Ivy hoops landscape, broadcasting just how special and fascinating the people and storylines are that comprise Ivy League basketball on both the women’s and men’s sides.

Joining Jill and Brett for episode one on Thursday were Princeton men’s assistant coach Brett MacConnell, Penn men’s assistant coach Ira Bowman, Harvard women’s head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and Dartmouth women’s head coach Belle Koclanes.

Intro – Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner:

Brett MacConnell:

Ira Bowman:

Kathy Delaney-Smith:

Belle Koclanes:

2017-18 Ivy women’s basketball preview, part 3

This is part 3 of our 2017-18 Ivy women’s basketball preview. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

4. Brown Bears (‘16-’17 record: 17-13, 7-7 Ivy; tied for fourth; Ivy Tournament semifinalist; lost in second Round of WBI)

Coach Sarah Behn (fourth season; 19th season overall)

Captains: Megan Reilly (senior guard) and Erika Steeves (junior forward)

Key Returning Players:
Justine Gaziano (sophomore guard) – 22 starts, 16.5 ppg, 47.5 percent field-goal percentage, 80 percent free-throw percentage, 35 made three-pointers
Shayna Mehta (junior guard) – 30 starts, 15.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 39.2 percent three-point percentage, 62 made three-pointers, 58 steals

Key Losses:
Abby O’Keefe (Guard) – five starts, 17.7 mpg, 4.6 ppg, 19 made three-pointers

Key Additions:
McKenna Dale (guard) – Connecticut Gatorade POY; 1,792 points, 747 rebounds, 264 steals, 162 blocks in career
Dominique Leonidas (Guard) – first team all-state (Ga.); 1,000-plus career points

IHO Brown schedule breakdown here

Gaziano and Mehta were both in the top five in scoring and named members of the All-Ivy second team. In her rookie season, Gaziano was in the top 10 of five offensive categories, while Mehta, the 2015-16 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was in the top 15 for eight offensive and defensive statistics.  Steeves, the league’s top total rebounder, was in the conference’s top 15 for six offensive and defensive categories. Will was in the top 10 for five statistics.

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2017-18 Ivy women’s basketball preview – Part 1

This is part 1 of Ivy Hoops Online’s 2017-18 Ivy women’s basketball preview. Read part 2 here and part 3 here.

At the end of the 2016-17 season, the Ivy League ended up as the nation’s eighth-best conference, according to the RPI.  The Penn Quakers went 13-1 to take the regular season title by four games over Princeton.  The Tigers ended up one game ahead of third-place Harvard.  Brown defeated Cornell in Ithaca on the last night of the season to force a tie for fourth-place, and the Bears claimed the last spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament on the strength of a season sweep of the Big Red.  In the semifinal round of Ivy Madness, Penn defeated Brown 71-60 and Princeton beat the Crimson 68-47.  The next afternoon, the Red & Blue completed a season sweep of the Tigers, 75-49, to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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Breaking down Harvard’s 2017-18 women’s and men’s schedules

Harvard women’s basketball tries to keep upper division streak alive

The Harvard women’s basketball team released its 2017-18 schedule and hopes to build on its post-season Ivy Tournament appearance and first-round WNIT victory in 2016-17.  This will be the 36th season for legendary head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, who is the only coach to ever guide a No. 16 seed in a victory over a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Smith’s teams have been in the Ivy upper division for 32 of her 35 seasons at Harvard, while placing in the top three each of the last 14 years.  With the continuation of the postseason Ivy Tournament, the odds look strong for the Crimson to return to the Palestra in early March.

Read moreBreaking down Harvard’s 2017-18 women’s and men’s schedules