Brown women’s incoming first-year Mya Murray joins stand against racial injustice amid college preparation

Mya Murray puts up a shot for her 1,000th career point last December in a non-section game for Uniontown at McKeesport. | Photo by Ed Thompson

It’s been quite a year for incoming Brown first-year Mya Murray.

The Uniontown Area High School graduate was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Team, tabbed as the player of the year by her local hometown newspaper, The Herald-Standard, represented her school as a scholar-athlete with a 4.25 GPA, finished second in her district in scoring and completed her high school career with 1,363 points and 1,028 rebounds in her four years playing for Uniontown.

Murray, who graduated on June 4, decided to head to Pittsburgh the day after donning her cap and gown in a socially distanced ceremony to march in a Black Lives Matter protest. Murray and many of her friends were aware of the potential dangers of the event but felt they had a responsibility to act in the face of social injustice.

“I just felt like this movement is really important to me, especially being a person of color,” Murray said. “I have had personal experiences that have shown me that things need to change. My mom has always tried to shelter me from how cruel the world could be, but I still experienced smart remarks and criticism my whole life.

Read moreBrown women’s incoming first-year Mya Murray joins stand against racial injustice amid college preparation

Brown chooses Monique LeBlanc as its new women’s head coach

Monique LeBlanc takes over the helm of the Bown women’s basketball program after a nine-year tenure at Merrimack. (Brown Athletics)

On Friday afternoon, Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes announced the hiring of Monique LeBlanc as the Bears’ new women’s basketball coach, the fifth in program history.

LeBlanc, a native of Cumberland, R.I., will arrive in Providence after a nine-year tenure at Merrimack College.  This past season, when the Warriors made the jump from Division II to Division I, LeBlanc had her best season with a 20-10 record and a 13-5 third-place finish in the Northeast Conference.

Read moreBrown chooses Monique LeBlanc as its new women’s head coach

Sarah Behn steps down as Brown women’s coach

Sarah Behn’s tenure as Brown coach is over. (Brown Athletics)

Brown announced Monday that Sarah Behn has stepped down from her role as Brown women’s basketball coach after six seasons at the helm.

Behn went 74-96 (20-64 Ivy) since taking over in 2014 for 26-year coach Jean Marie Burr, leading Brown to an appearance in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament in 2017 and a berth in the 2017 Women’s Basketball Invitational, gaining the program’s first-ever win in a national postseason tournament with a first-round victory over UMBC.

Read moreSarah Behn steps down as Brown women’s coach

Report: Brown Band protests coach Sarah Behn, refuses to play at women’s basketball games

The Brown University Band has refused to play at any more women’s basketball home games for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, according to a statement released by the organization on February 18 on its Facebook page.  According to the letter, the decision was made due to “recent allegations regarding the conduct of Head Coach Sarah Behn.”

The story was first reported by the Brown Daily Herald on February 24.

Read moreReport: Brown Band protests coach Sarah Behn, refuses to play at women’s basketball games

Brown men and women both off to impressive starts

Just two games into the season for both, the Brown men’s and women’s teams are off to great starts.

The Brown men followed up their season-opening 73-71 win at a Bryant squad which has since taken Rutgers to the wire and beaten Cornell with a 75-68 home win over Canisius powered by a career-high 32 points from a resurgent Brandon Anderson, who was relegated to the bench in December of his junior campaign last season.

Read moreBrown men and women both off to impressive starts

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

Brown women’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Looking to bounce back after recent disappointments, Brown’s upcoming 2019-20 schedule was announced by sixth-year head coach Sarah Behn on Wednesday.  Like Dartmouth, the 13 game nonconference schedule is heavy on nearby opponents and light on teams that made the postseason.

Over the first half of the season, the Bears will take on local rival Bryant to start the season on November 5, and then take part in the fourth Ocean State Tip-Off in December.  Bruno will open up against Rhode Island on December 7 and then face Providence or have another matchup against the Bulldogs the next day.

Brown will also take on fellow New Englanders Maine, Central Connecticut State, UMass Amherst, New Hampshire, Merrimack, Holy Cross and Merrimack, and Fairfield.  Before league play starts in mid-January, the team will venture down to the Sunshine State to take on Florida International and South Florida before the start of the new year.

Read moreBrown women’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Ivy hoops roundup – June 21, 2019

  • Addie Micir is headed for Lehigh, which announced Wednesday that Micir is leaving Princeton to join the Mountain Hawks’ coaching staff as an associate head coach. Micir was an assistant under Courtney Banghart at Princeton last season following five seasons as an assistant at Dartmouth. Micir was 2011 Ivy Player of the Year at Princeton, earning her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Princeton in 2011 and her master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth in 2018. Micir’s departure from Princeton was announced two days after new Princeton head coach Carla Berube’s introductory press conference. Berube will have to hire an all new assistant coaching staff after the recent departures of assistant coach Carrie Moore and director of basketball operations Jessica Imhof with Banghart to North Carolina and assistant coach Cinnamon Lister to UC Irvine.
  • Brown’s Mike Martin will be joining USA Basketball as an assistant coach for the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru from July 31 through August 4.  Martin, the 2019 Ivy League Coach of the Year, and Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard will work under the head coaching leadership of Providence College’s Ed Cooley.
    The team will practice at the Ruane Development Center on the Providence College campus from July 21 through July 26 before they head off to Peru.  The US will be in Pool A against the Virgin Islands on July 31, followed by games against Venezuela on August 1 and Puerto Rico on August 2.  The medal round play will be held on August 3-4.
  • Bella Alarie, the 2017 and 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year, will be a part of USA Basketball’s Pan American team on the women’s side.  While she’s waiting for that tournament, she continues her work on USA Basketball’s 3×3 team. This past weekend, her team came in third place in the 3×3 event in Turin, Italy.  They went 2-1 in group play, defeating the Czech Republic and Canada, but losing to France.  The Stars & Stripes defeating Mongolia in the quarterfinals before losing to the hosts, 16-12.
    After two tournaments, Alarie is sixth in scoring with 35 points, and her team finds themselves in second place overall with 115 points, 35 points behind France.  The US will next head to Poitiers, France (July 5-6), Ekaterinburg, Russia (July 9-10) and Lignano, Italy (July 13-14).

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – June 21, 2019

Ivy hoops roundup – May 4, 2019

Another week full of Ivy news, with none bigger than Courtney Banghart’s move from Princeton to North Carolina.  The former Big Green All-Ivy guard and Tigers head coach signed a five-year contract to take over a Tar Heels program that needs a new start.  Per Jeff Gravely of WRAL in Raleigh, Banghart’s contract starts at $650,000 in 2019-2020 and increases to $730,000 in 2024-2025.  Athletic and academic bonuses are included that can increase the yearly salary by $10,000 to $470,000.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – May 4, 2019