Ivy hoops world reacts to Kobe Bryant’s death

Kobe Bryant’s impact on the game of basketball and the people who have a passion for it has been incalculable, and his sudden death at 41 following a helicopter crash that killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others near Los Angeles Sunday put into perspective just how much Bryant mattered to those who have been Ivy League hoopsters.

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Penn stymies Temple, 66-59, to split Big 5 slate

Fran Dunphy’s teams always seemed to play great defense, whether at Penn or Temple.

Dunphy was honored with a standing ovation prior to the game, the first meeting between the two without either being coached by Dunphy in 31 seasons Saturday at the Palestra, and defense was fittingly the order of the day.

The Big 5 rivals held each other under a point per possession, but it was Penn that made enough shots for a 66-59 win.

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Penn can’t get by on potential versus No. 25 Princeton

Turns out it takes more than potential to beat Princeton.

The season’s first meeting between the two most highly regarded women’s teams in the Ivies lived up to its billing for exactly 20 minutes, as Penn played the nationally ranked Tigers about even at the Palestra. But Princeton dominated inside and played better defense — something that almost never happens to the Penn women — to pull away in the second half and coast to a 75-55 win Saturday afternoon.
Penn (10-2, 0-1 Ivy) had a monumental turnout of talent. Unfortunately for the Quakers, much of that was in the stands — among them ballhandlers and playmakers like Meghan McCullough, Kasey Chambers and Anna Ross, a dominant frontcourt player in Michelle Nwokedi, and the versatile Katy Allen and Lauren Whitlatch to drive to the basket or sink threes.They’re all alums, and they weren’t in superhero mode, ready to toss off their street clothes to reveal their old uniforms underneath and come to the rescue.

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Pondering Penn after another Princeton sweep of the Red & Blue

It was all going so well for Penn.

After getting pummeled at the Palestra by a Princeton squad that had started the season 1-7 six days earlier, Penn was making the adjustments it needed in the Jadwin Gym rematch.

Penn made its first two threes after going just 3-for-23 from deep in the last meeting. Princeton had dominated inside at the other end of the floor six days prior, but Jarrod Simmons was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time ever to help man Penn’s frontcourt, scoring the game’s opening bucket and blocking Penn-killer Richmond Aririguzoh in the paint early.

8-0 Penn. 10-2 Penn. The team that beat Alabama and Providence and went toe to toe with Arizona and Villanova finally feasting on a team that had started the season 1-7.

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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

Penn proves it’s not all about the three-point line in loss at No. 23 Villanova

Penn may have lost 80-69 to Villanova at Finneran Pavilion Wednesday night, but the final score doesn’t reflect the fairly even play between the Big 5 rivals, notwithstanding the strong finishes the Wildcats ended both halves on to clinch the win.

How reigning Big 5 champion Penn (5-4) hung with the Wildcats (6-2) is important.

Read morePenn proves it’s not all about the three-point line in loss at No. 23 Villanova

How to fix Ivy Madness

While Harvard and Yale were fighting for their March Madness lives in New Haven several months ago, I was flying (first class, of course) towards Asia in a hurtling, subsonic piece of aluminum. As we chased the sun eastward, I indolently pulled up my window shade and looked out upon the vast, barren, frigidness that is the Arctic Ocean. Then, through the miracle of Wi-Fi (you know, that powerful, invisible force that allows our planet to torment one another through magic), I proceeded to watch the Bulldogs dismantle their arch rivals before a, well, ”mostly filled” John J. Lee Amphitheater. Regardless of how the crowd appeared on site, I can assure you it did not “show well” at 33,000 feet on a 15-inch screen. In fact, the view from my window of Arctic Ocean seemed to be an appropriate metaphor for the vast sea of empty seats above the hardwood. (I exaggerate, naturally, but not too much.)

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Q&A with Yale junior forward Miye Oni

Miye Oni took game MVP honors after Yale’s 77-73 win over Miami on Dec. 1 in the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena. (Next Ones)

We recently connected with Yale junior forward Miye Oni, who ranks in the Ivy League’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, free-throw percentage, three-point percentage, blocks and assist-to-turnover ratio, leading the Bulldogs to a share of their second Ivy League regular season championship in four years.

Ivy Hoops Online: You had an incredible season. Did it meet your preseason expectations?
Miye Oni: Thank you. The season so far has been great. I expected our team to win the championship and we did. Now we need to reach our next goal and get to the NCAA tournament.

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Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the Ivy men’s basketball, which, per KenPom, gave us the highest percentage of games decided by three or fewer points or in overtime in all of Division I for the second straight season:

Crimson are No. 1 for a reason 

Harvard conquered its house of horrors, Levien Gym, 83-81, after an obligatory overtime period to claim its seventh Ivy League championship under Tommy Amaker and the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament. But is Harvard a vulnerable No. 1 seed?

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Ancient Eight thoughts: Ivy Friday men’s edition

Seeing it through 

Brown notched an outstanding 67-63 win at Jadwin Gym, hanging on after nearly surrendering a 60-47 lead with 2:17 left. Brandon Anderson was the best player on the floor off the bench, posting 21 points and three steals in just 28 minutes, his trips to the foul line and jumpers setting back the Tigers any time they got even a modicum of momentum. Brown’s defense shut Princeton down early and often, holding the Tigers to 0.79 points per possession and collecting a whopping 25 turnovers from the hosts.

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts: Ivy Friday men’s edition