Ivy women’s basketball week in review

1. Princeton (2-1)

Win – at Seton Hall, 85-83
Loss – vs Georgia Tech, 67-56

Bella Alarie had double-doubles in both games, this week, and is leading the Tigers with 15.3 points and 10.3 boards a game.  Tia Weledji is averaging 14.7 points a contest and had her first career double-double against the Pirates.  Carlie Littlefield has been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the first two weeks of the season.  Starting wing Sydney Jordan left the Seton Hall game after four minutes with an injury and did not play against Georgia Tech.  Her absence from the lineup will, most likely, increase the playing time for the highly rated first-year, Abby Meyers.

Princeton is shooting 44% overall on the strength of its inside presence (52% from two vs 30% from three).  They are holding its opponents to 37% overall shooting, 24% from three and 3.7 made threes a game.  The Tigers have committed 19 turnovers a game, leading to an average of 20.3 points for its opponents.  The Orange and Black are also averaging 22 fouls a game, which has led its competition to 24.7 attempted free throws and 19 made baskets per contest.  The team will have to maintain its defensive prowess as it makes some minor adjustments in control when it welcomes Villanova, the team that knocked the Tigers out of last season’s NIT Tournament.

Next Game: 11/25 vs Villanova

2. Brown (2-1)

Win – at Central Connecticut State, 78-55
Loss – vs California, 89-79

Against CCSU, Justine Gaziano had 22 points and Taylor Will netted 21.  Shayna Mehta scored 33 points on a school-record nine three-pointers in the loss to the Golden Bears.  For the season, Gaziano is averaging 21.3 points on 48% shooting.  Mehta, who was named the Ivy League Player of the Week, is averaging 20.7 points, shooting 45% overall and 47% from three.  Will is third in scoring with 18 points a game on 50% from the field.

The Bears are putting up a league-leading average of 80.7 points, 10 three pointers, 5.7 blocks and 20 assists.  Defensively, Brown is holding its opponents to 68.7 points, 4.7 threes and 24% three-point shooting.  While their rebounding and free throw numbers took a huge hit against the stronger Cal front court (58 to 31 in rebounding; 30 to five in free throws), those numbers should turn around when the team goes back to facing unranked nonconference teams.

Next Game: 11/24 vs Hampton (Turkey Tip-Off in Stockton, CA); 11/25 vs Pacific or San Jose State (Turkey Tip-Off)

3. Penn (1-1)

Loss – at Binghamton, 77-72
Win – vs Lafayette, 55-42

Anna Ross scored the first 10 points against Binghamton, a team-high 21 for the game and is averaging 13.5 for the season.  Michelle Nwokedi is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds on two double-doubles.  First year Eleah Parker was picked to start alongside Nwokedi in the front court.  She has averaged 5 points on 28% shooting.

In the defeat to the Bearcats, Penn lost for the first time in 69 regular season games when it scores over 60 points after giving up 10 three pointers on 40% shooting. The defense was better against the Leopards, holding Lafayette to 28% shooting and 3 third quarter points.  While Penn’s offense also shot 28%, the Red and Blue were able to earn a plus-18 advantage in attempted free throws and + 10 in made free throws.  After two games, Penn is hitting just 34% overall, 38% from two, 26% from three and 69% from the charity stripe.  With a game against Georgia Tech and a second against Baylor or Missouri State, things will not get easier for the defending champs.

Next Game: 11/23 vs Georgia Tech (Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas); 11/24 vs Baylor or Missouri State (Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas)

4. Yale (3-1)

Loss – at Kansas, 81-75

Win – at TCU, 82-72

Jen Berkowitz had 19 points and 16 rebounds against the Jayhawks.  Tamara Simpson put up big numbers against Kansas, as well, with 12 points, five assists and four steals. 

Even prior to the Bulldogs’ win at TCU Tuesday, the Bulldogs were averaging 73 points and 7.7 made three pointers on offense, but their shooting is inefficient at 37% overall, 26% from downtown and 59% from the free throw line.  Their pressure defense, which has created 26.3 turnovers and 13.7 steals a game, has allowed them to dominate lesser foes and keep them competitive against stronger teams. 

And at TCU, the Elis’ offense exploded 1,400 miles from New Haven, posting 52 points in the second half en route to an 82-72 win

“This is one of my all-time favorite moments at Yale,” Allison Guth said after the game, according to Yale Athletics. “This is one of those games where your team can take a step in a certain direction. They broke through. We’ve been so close in several of these over the past few years. For them to break through and earn that ‘W’, you can’t describe it. You kind of want to bottle it up.”

Berkowitz shone characteristically versus the Horned Frogs as well, posting 24 points on 10-for-14 shooting and seven rebounds.

Watch out for Yale.

Next Games: 11/26 vs Army West Point, 11/29 vs Providence

5. Harvard (3-2)

Win – vs Siena, 75-67

Win – vs Sacred Heart, 70-62

Win – vs Boston University, 80-70

After scoring only four points in last week’s loss to Maine, Katie Benzan returned to form, putting up 22 and 13 against Siena and Sacred Heart, respectively.  For the season, she is leading the Crimson with 13.8 points and 2.3 assists per game.  Co-captain Madeline Raster, who put up 15 and 11 points in this week’s games, is second on the team averaging 11.5 points.  Jeannie Boehm led Harvard with 16 points and 12 rebounds against Sacred Heart, bringing her season averages at that point to 10.3 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Returning home to Lavietes Pavilion has greatly helped right the Crimson’s ship. Harvard’s shooting from deep and overall has improved at home, and the Crimson continued that progress in an 80-70 win over Boston University, with Taylor Rooks notching a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Harvard now heads south to face a strong Virginia squad at the Cavalier Classic Tournament.

Next Game – 11/25 at Virginia (Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville); 11/26 vs North Carolina A&T (Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville)

6. Dartmouth (2-0)

Did Not Play

Dartmouth’s Cy Lippold is averaging 18 points, 2.5 threes, 3 assists and 3 steals per game. She is also tops in shooting percentage with 57% overall and 83% from beyond the arc.  Kate Letkewicz is posting 15.5 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 made threes a contest, while Isalys Quinones is averaging 10.0 points and 8.5 boards a game.  The Big Green has a plus-10.5 scoring margin, including going plus-22 in the first quarter of the games.  The team is shooting 49% overall and 42% from three, including 9.5 made threes a game.  On defense, its opponents are 34% overall and 23% from three.  With two more home games against low rated mid-major opponents, Dartmouth will look to keep its winning streak going and add to its totals before visiting Army, the Patriot League’s preseason No. 1 team.

Next Games: 11/24 vs Rhode Island; 11/26 vs NJIT

7. Columbia (2-2)

Loss – at UMass-Lowell, 77-70

Win – at Vermont, 73-66

Camille Zimmerman had another big week, putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Riverhawks, as well as 28 points and 13 rebounds against the Catamounts.  For the season, she is averaging 22.8 points on 59% shooting, and 9.5 rebounds.  First year guard Riley Casey added 12 points against UMass-Lowell and 13 versus Vermont.  Over her first four games, she is averaging 12.8 points and 3.3 assists per game.  While she is leading the team with 2.5 made threes a contest, 73% of her shots are from beyond the arc and she is only connecting on them 29% of the time.

The Lions’ 73.8 points per game is coming on 44% overall and 54% two point shooting.  The team is hitting 7.5 threes a game, but hitting them at 30%.  Defensively, they are giving up 73 points a game with 37% three point shooting and 6.3 threes a game.  While they are holding its opponents’ two point offense to 39%, they are minus-24 in rebounding, minus-42 in attempted free throws and minus-22 in free throws made.  With Josie Little still out of action, Columbia generally plays four guard and Zimmerman, a talented but undersized forward.  Rookie forward Madison Pack has had her playing time increased and shown an ability to hit from the outside.  However, she is inexperienced and needs time to develop.  Until the Lions gets some frontcourt depth and develops three-point accuracy, Zimmerman will need to continue her heroics to keep Columbia in the win column.

Next Game: 11/23 vs Wisconsin-Green Bay (Cancun Challenge; Cancun, Mexico; 11/24 vs Mississippi State (Cancun Challenge); 11/25 vs Arizona State (Cancun Challenge)

8. Cornell (1-4)

Loss – vs Colgate, 74-70
Loss – vs Lehigh, 62-57
Win – at Canisius, 67-59

Prior to Cornell’s first win of the season Wednesday, Samantha Widmann was leading the Big Red with 15.5 points a game, on the strength of a 25-point performance against Colgate, 40% shooting, and 20 made free throws on the season.  

Then Widmann and senior forward Christine Ehland registered career scoring highs of 27 and 17 points respectively at Canisius, in which the Big Red collected 21 Griff turnovers.

Cornell had been having difficulty on offense, with the point differential is mostly coming from the first and third quarters, where the team was being outscored by 9.6 points combined. The Big Red held even against Canisius in those quarters Wednesday. With such an inexperienced squad, coach Dayna Smith needs to continue adjusting the rotation to improve the team’s offensive and defensive efficiencies. Until that time, Widmann needs to take charge from the start of each half and lead her team to some morale boosting victories.

Next Games: 11/28 vs. Lafayette, 12/1 vs. Stony Brook  

Ancient Eight’s Top Eight:

Bella Alarie (sophomore forward, Princeton)
22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal at Seton Hall
12 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, four steals, two blocks vs Georgia Tech

Katie Benzan (sophomore guard, Harvard)
22 points, four made three-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, two steals vs Siena
13 points, four made three-pointers, two rebounds, two assists vs Sacred Heart
19 points, five made three-pointers, two rebounds, five assists vs Boston University

Jen Berkowitz (senior forward, Yale)
19 points, 16 rebounds, three steals, three blocks at Kansas
24 points, seven rebounds at TCU

Justine Gaziano (sophomore guard, Brown)
22 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals at CCSU
19 points, three made three-pointers, four rebounds, three assists vs Cal

Shayna Mehta (junior guard, Brown)
13 points, five made three-pointers, five rebounds, three steals at CCSU
33 points, nine made three-pointers, two rebounds, three assists vs Cal

Michelle Nwokedi (senior forward, Penn)
16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists at Binghamton
16 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, two steals, six blocks vs Lafayette

Samantha Widmann (sophomore guard, Cornell)
25 points, three made three-pointers, six rebounds, 12-15 FT, three assists, four steals vs Colgate
10 points, one rebound, one assist, one block, one steal vs Lehigh
27 points, six rebounds, two assists, five steals at Canisius

Camille Zimmerman (senior guard/forward, Columbia)
17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists vs UMass-Lowell
28 points, 13 rebounds, one block vs Vermont