After loses to Harvard and Princeton, the Yale women’s basketball team found itself at 2-7 in league play, one game ahead of last place. With upcoming games against undefeated Penn and third-place Harvard, it would have been easy to give up and play out the season.
But the Elis won four of their last five games, including back-to-back victories over the Quakers and Crimson, to end up one game out of the Ivy Tournament. The Bulldogs will look to build on this late-season success to move into the conference’s upper division for 2017-18.
There was a minor shock send through college basketball earlier this week, when Jaelin Llewellyn committed to Princeton for the fall of 2018. Llewelyn, a 6’2” point guard from Canada attending the Virginia Episcopal School, is a four-star recruit that chose the Tigers over Virginia, Purdue, Northwestern, Clemson, Minnesota, Stanford, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, George Washington, Creighton, Rhode Island, UNLV, and conference rival Harvard.
Last week, Andrew Slater of 247 Sports reported that Yale rising senior Makai Mason will attend Baylor University in the fall of 2018 as a graduate transfer. The 2015-16 first-team All-Ivy guard missed all of last season due to a foot injury suffered in a preseason scrimmage against Boston University. Mason, who was recently named the Yale captain for the upcoming season, averaged 16.0 points, 3.8 assists, and 32.7 minutes of playing time per game in his sophomore campaign.
Mason declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, but withdrew his name a few days after the combine. Since he did not choose an agent, he returned to Yale and retained his last two years of eligibility. After his first-semester injury, Mason decided to continue his studies at Yale instead of taking a leave of absence, as opposed to Alex Rosenberg at Columbia or Siyani Chambers at Harvard. By staying in school, Mason will earn his degree in the spring of 2018 and retain one year of athletic eligibility. Since the Ivy League does not allow graduate students to participate, he is free to play his last season at any institution the following season. That freedom has been exercised over the last few years by Cornell’s Shonn Miller (Connecticut), Penn’s Tony Hicks (Louisville), Harvard’s Patrick Steeves (George Washington), Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola (George Washington) and Brown’s Rafael Maia (Pittsburgh). Recently, two graduating All-Ivy Princeton players, Hans Brase (Iowa State) and Henry Caruso (Santa Clara), have added their names to this ever-growing list.
Makai Mason made a name for himself on a national level by posting 31 points in a NCAA Tournament Round of 64 win over Baylor in 2016, Yale’s first-ever win in the Big Dance.
Now Mason has decided that if you can beat ’em, join ’em.
Several sources announced Thursday that Mason would join Baylor as a graduate transfer in the 2018-19 season following one more season at Yale in 2017-18.
Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sportsreported in February that Mason would play for the Elis in the 2017-18 season and become a graduate transfer following that season.
Mason was a standout during Yale’s NCAA Tournament run in 2016 but was injured in a scrimmage in November, reportedly needing to undergo surgery to repair his foot. Yale bowed out to Duke in the Round of 32 in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
After years of debating and voting on the efficacy of an Ivy League Tournament, the first one is in the books.
And it certainly has engendered much discussion amongst the Ivy faithful, given its prominence on the ESPN family of networks this past weekend (ESPNU for the semifinals and ESPN2 for the final).
From a national perspective, not so much, despite the fact that the venerable college basketball writer John Feinstein was one of the media members in attendance for the Saturday session. With that said, here is an attempt to grade the event in different categories:
Princeton cemented itself as one of the Ivy League’s most impressive basketball teams ever with a 71-59 victory over Yale at the Palestra to win the inaugural league men’s basketball tournament, clinching a 16-0 record in league competition and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011.
This has been a crazy season for Ivy League basketball, all 16 weeks of it. From Harvard’s starting the season 14 hours away in Shanghai to Penn’s regular season-ending triumph over the Crimson Saturday night, this season has been full of surprises and unusual trends.
Yale entered last Saturday night’s home game against Penn under second -year head coach Allison Guth with an Ivy record of 2-7, while Penn stood at 8-0. But Yale stunned Penn, 61-48. IHO caught up with coach Guth after the game.
Ivy Hoops Online: After the Princeton loss on Friday night, did you have an indication that your team would step up to the extent that it did against the team which you characterize as the top of the Ivy?
Allison Guth: I believe in this team and our ability to compete at the highest level. The challenge we have faced this season is our ability to perform consistently to our potential. I thought that we had a very inspired focus at shootaround and that our team was prepared to play a poised game vs a very good Penn team.
The Tigers became the first team to qualify for the Ivy League Tournament by defeating Yale, 71-52, on Friday in New Haven. Princeton’s ninth straight Ivy win (and 12th straight overall) was the first for Tiger skipper Mitch Henderson in John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Ray Curren, writing for NYC Buckets, described the game as a “complete performance” by the visitors and, indeed, it was. Devin Cannady demonstrated why he is one of the deadliest “catch and shoot” guys in the country. He caught fire early and often. His 20 first-half points propelled the Tigers to a most unexpected nine-point cushion at the break, 38-29. For the evening, the Indiana sophomore tied his career high with 29, including a ridiculous 7-for-8 from long range.