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:
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.
Fans of Columbia basketball may have been concerned by the omission of Patrick Tape, a 2019 honorable mention All-Ivy power forward, from Tuesday’s Road to Ivy Madness season preview. By Thursday afternoon, they would have their suspicions increased when Stadium’s Jeff Goodman tweeted that a source informed him that Tape would leave the program, graduate this spring and seek a graduate transfer next year.
Despite being in the team photograph, Tape’s name had been removed from the 2019-20 roster.
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:
The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft. The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft. Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz. He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.
- Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September. Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers. Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
- Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work. Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.
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.”
The dean of Ivy coaches, Kathy Delaney-Smith, announced the 2019-20 schedule for the Harvard women on Wednesday. The season, her 38th at Harvard, includes 13 nonconference games with five matchups against teams that made the postseason in 2019.
Four of these teams, California, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, and Maine, made it to March Madness, while Hartford earned a spot in the WNIT.
Following the Nov. 5 season opener at Northern Illinois, the Crimson will welcome Cal to Lavietes Pavilion on the 8th. The Golden Bears, previously coached by former Brown guard and present Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb, will look for revenge after Harvard upset the then-No. 14 team, 85-79, last December.
Harvard men’s basketball post-season banquet:
MVP – Bryce Aiken; Defensive Player of the Year – Justin Bassey
2019-2020 Captains – Seth Towns and Henry Welsh
Harvard women’s basketball post-season banquet:
Co-MVP – Katie Benzan and Madeline Raster; Defensive Player of the Year – Nani Redford; Most Improved Player – Rachel Levy
Brown women’s basketball post-season banquet:
MVP – Shayna Mehta; Most Improved Player – Haley Green
Princeton women’s basketball names Bella Alarie and Taylor Baur co-captains for the 2019-2020 season. Coach Courtney Banghart discussed the two athletes, as well as their goals of another Ivy title and a Sweet 16 run, in the season-ending episode of The Court Report.
Yale coach James Jones just missed out on the St. John’s coaching job, but he did win the 2019 Ben Jobe Award, given by CollegeInsider.com to the top minority coach in Division I basketball.
Penn senior Princess Aghayere was named one of six recipients of the President’s Engagement Prize by university President Amy Gutmann. Awarded annually, the Prizes empower Penn students to design and undertake post-graduation projects that make a positive, lasting difference in the world. Each Prize-winning project will receive $100,000, as well as a $50,000 living stipend per team member. Student recipients will spend the next year implementing their projects.
Aghayere was chosen for her work with Rebound Liberia, which uses basketball as a tool to bridge the literacy gap between men and women and as a mechanism for youth to cope with the trauma and stress of daily life in post-conflict Liberia.