Penn grinds out win over Drexel in defensive Battle of 33rd Street

On a day when the ball seemed too slick to handle, the Penn women managed not to let a victory slip away, beating a persistent Drexel team 53-49 at the Palestra.
Credit some key threes by guards Kayla Padilla and Phoebe Sterba, a resurgence for center Eleah Parker, clutch steals by Kendall Grasela and sterling play on both ends by Tori Crawford.

Read morePenn grinds out win over Drexel in defensive Battle of 33rd Street

Led by Kayla Padilla, Penn has been full of surprises

The Penn women played Princeton dead even in the regular season last year and almost beat them in the Ivy League Tournament. They lost two starters to graduation, but this year wasn’t supposed to provide much in the way of surprises: relentless defense, a disciplined half-court offense, and dominant play by junior center Eleah Parker. Well, Penn has been full of surprises, most of them good.

Read moreLed by Kayla Padilla, Penn has been full of surprises

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:

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Ivy League coaching carousel

After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April.  Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.

On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up.  Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign.  In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.

Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.

In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.

The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.

Read moreIvy League coaching carousel

Ivy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

  • 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.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

Penn women’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

2019 Ivy League regular season co-champion Penn released its full schedule on Friday, revealing a 13-game nonconference schedule that is highlighted by games against Philly’s City 6 and holiday visits to Tobacco Road and Honolulu.

The Quakers, which went 4-1 overall against its neighbors and just missed out on winning back-to-back Big Five championships last season, will again face Drexel, La Salle, St. Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.  The Red & Blue, which played four of those games at the Palestra last season, will have to play four of five on the road in 2019-20.

Read morePenn women’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Ivy hoops roundup – July 9, 2019

Even with last week’s big news (and news, and news) around former Penn men’s head coach Jerome Allen and the probable extension for current Brown men’s head coach Mike Martin, the Ancient Eight continues its many off-season story lines.

  • Carla Berube has picked three staff members at Princeton, hiring Lauren Battista, Dalia Eshe and Lauren Dillon as assistant coaches. Two previously coached under her at Tufts.
    Battista has previous experience as an assistant at Tufts for the 2018-2019 season, where she worked with Berube, as well as three years as a graduate assistant at Boston College.  She played four years a Bentley College and was named the national Division II Player of the Year in her 2013-2014 senior year.
    Eshe has been as assistant coach at La Salle from 2016-2019 and East Carolina from 2014-2016.  Prior to that, she spent the 2013-2014 season as Director of Basketball Operations for Loyola, Maryland.  Before entering the coaching ranks, the 2006 Florida graduate and committed vegan, was drafted by the Seattle Storm in the second round of the WNBA Draft.  She was in the training camps for Seattle, Washington and Atlanta in the WNBA,  but played professionally in Turkey, Russia, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany and Ecuador between 2006 and 2013.
    Dillon was an assistant under Berube last year at Tufts, where Dillon played the previous four years before graduating in 2018. Dillon was a two-year captain, NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and earned a First-Team All-League selection as a senior.
    The previous Princeton staff consisted of Carrie Moore, Addie Micir and Cinnamon Lister. Moore went to North Carolina with former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart, Micir became the associate head coach for Lehigh and Lister moved to UC Irvine.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – July 9, 2019

Ivy hoops roundup – June 13, 2019

  • Per Princeton Athletics, new women’s coach Carla Berube will be formally introduced at a press conference Wednesday at noon. Princeton Athletics told IHO that there will be no live or on-demand broadcast of the press conference on ESPN+ or goprincetontigers.com.  It is possible that highlights will be made available on the the team’s social media page.
  • Lindsay Gottlieb, a 1995-1999 member of the Brown women’s team, was announced as the newest assistant coach on John Beilein’s Cleveland Cavaliers staff.  She was previously the head coach of the California Golden Bears from 2011-2019, going 179-89 overall (86-58 Pac-12), making seven NCAA Tournament appearances, and earning a spot in the 2013 Final Four.

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – June 13, 2019

Mollie Marcoux Samaan makes a bold pick in Carla Berube for Princeton

Following the sudden departure of Liz Feeley to Smith College in the summer of 2000, then-athletic director Gary Walters hired Kevin Morris as the interim coach of the Princeton women’s basketball team.  A 2-25 record ensured that Morris would not stick around Jadwin Gymnasium permanently. The job would eventually go to Richard Barron, who had just built a strong Division III program at Sewanee (The University of the South).

Barron would last six seasons at Princeton, before resigning on May 6, 2007 to become the associate head coach for Kim Mulkey at Baylor.  While he only managed a 74-91 record (37-47 Ivy) in his tenure, the 2005-2006 team went 21-7 and tied for first in the Ivy League with a 12-2 record.  After the 2006-07 team fell to 13-15 and 7-7 in conference play, Walters was tasked with finding a replacement that would get the program to consistently compete for a league title.

Read moreMollie Marcoux Samaan makes a bold pick in Carla Berube for Princeton