Ivy women’s basketball week in review

1. Princeton (3-2)

Win – at Davidson, 63-57
Loss – vs. No. 24 Villanova, 62-59

The Tigers traveled down to North Carolina, on Saturday, and earned a six-point win over Davidson.  With the score tied at 48 after three quarters, Bella Alarie scored eight of the team’s next 10 points as Princeton opened up an eight-point lead with over five minutes to play. The Wildcats were twice able to get within three points in the last 75 seconds, but could not get any closer. Alarie pitched in 21 points and 11 rebounds for her third double-double in a row, while rookies Carlie Littlefield and Abby Meyers combined for 24 points (6-for-10 from three) and six steals.  For her effort, Meyers was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. But Princeton couldn’t quite avenge its WNIT loss last season to Villanova on Wednesday, falling to the Wildcats again despite a career-high 29 points from Alarie and an 11-4 run to start the game.

Next Game:  12/2 vs Delaware

2. Brown (5-1)

Win – vs Hampton, 73-66
Win – at Pacific, 74-57
Win – vs Holy Cross, 82-78

The Bears traveled out west this weekend and captured the Turkey Tip-Off Championship, defeating Hampton and Pacific in back-to-back games.  On Friday afternoon, the Bears found themselves up two with 5:24 remaining, but an 8-0 run over the next four-plus minutes put the game out of reach.  Brown struggled from three, shooting 4-for-21, but hit 19 of 23 free throws.  Erika Steeves totaled 16 points and a career high 19 rebounds, while Justine Gaziano scored 21 points for the Bears.

On Saturday night, Brown held the host Tigers to 57 points and 27% shooting as they comfortably won by 17 points.  Taylor Will led four double-digit scorers with 23 points. Steeves second double-double of the weekend, 10 points and 14 rebounds, earned her the Ivy League Player of the Week award.  For the game, Brown shot 52% from two, hitting 23 baskets and holding a 34-20 advantage with points in the paint.

Shayna Mehta’s 28 points lifted Brown past Holy Cross, as the Bears used a 13-0 third-quarter run to overcome a 39-32 halftime deficit and defeat the Crusaders for the first time in program history.

Next Games:  12/2 at Providence (Ocean State Tip-Off), 12/3 vs Bryant or Rhode Island (Ocean State Tip-Off)

3. Penn (2-3)

Loss – vs Georgia Tech, 69-55
Win – vs Missouri State, 65-60
Loss – at La Salle, 66-59

Penn went to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam and lost its opening round game to last year’s NIT runner-up, Georgia Tech, on Thursday night.  Penn, which was down four points after three quarters, gave up a 14-2 run to the Yellow Jackets and never got closer than 11 points.  Two first-years, Katie Kinum and Eleah Parker, had their best games as they scored 17 and 12 points respectively.  The Quakers struggled from the floor, shooting 34% overall and hitting only four three-pointers.  Defensively, they allowed Georgia Tech to score 23 two-point baskets, including 34 points in the paint.

On Friday, Penn found itself down 18 points at halftime to Missouri State before staging an improbable comeback to claim third place in the Bahamian tournament.  The Red & Blue tied the game with 1:16 in the third and took the lead 30 seconds into the final stanza.  Down five with 4:51 to go, the Quakers held MSU scoreless for the last 4:08 and closed out the contest on a 11-2 run, At the end of the first half, the Quakers were only hitting 27% overall and 11% (1-for-11) from three, while committing 13 fouls.  In the second half, Penn turned things around, shooting 47% overall and 64% (9-14) from three, while only giving away six fouls.  Lauren Whitlatch led Penn with 18 points, tying her career high with six three-pointers.

Penn dropped to 0-1 in Big 5 play with a 66-59 loss to La Salle on Wednesday despite racing off to an 11-0 start aided by a pregame technical foul on the Explorers that allowed Anna Ross to hit two free throws prior to the game. Penn shot just 33.8% from the floor and 20% from deep, led by Michelle Nwokedi’s 14 points and three blocks in 34 minutes.

Next Game: 12/9 vs Notre Dame

4. Yale (3-2)

Loss – vs Army West Point, 82-65
Loss – vs Providence, 55-51

After a two game swing through Big 12 country that included a program defining victory over TCU (read Gabby Nelson’s recap of the team’s trip west here), Yale returned home on Sunday to face Army.  The Black Knights went on a 16-3 run between the 2:17 mark of the second quarter and 6:37 of the third to open up a 14-point lead.  The Bulldogs got as close as eight in the last quarter before losing by 17 points.

Tamara Simpson scored 22 points on 11-18 shooting, as well as six rebounds and four steals.  Jen Berkowitz added 15 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.  Army’s pressure defense forced Yale into 22 turnovers and contributed to the Bulldogs’ 31 committed fouls.  While Yale made 28 two-pointers on 48% shooting, it went 0-for-9 from three and were outscored by six from beyond the arc, as well as 19 from the free throw line.

Yale shot just 36.2% in a 55-51 loss to Providence, led by Tamara Simpson’s 17 points and nine steals.

Next Game: 12/2 at Binghamton

5. Harvard (3-3)

Loss – at Virginia, 50-48

Win – vs NC A&T, 64-60

Harvard traveled to Charlottesville for the Cavalier Classic and lost to host Virginia, 50-48, on Saturday.  In the opening contest, offensive struggles led to 7-7 tie after the first quarter and a 23-20 lead for Virginia at halftime.  A 13-3 Harvard run over the last 7:37 of the third quarter gave the Crimson a seven-point lead going into the last 10 minutes.  With the score 48-41 with 4:16 to go, the Cavaliers held Harvard without a point as they went on a 9-0 run to complete the victory.  Katie Benzan and Madeline Raster each scored 11 points, but the team only shot 38% overall and 25% from three.  Virginia dominated on the boards with a 53% offensive rebounding rate, leading to 15 additional shots and 17 second-chance points.

On Sunday, Harvard withstood the pressure defense from North Carolina A&T to hold an eight-point lead after three quarters.  The Aggies got the lead down to three with 14 seconds to go, but the Crimson hit 1 of 2 free throws to close out the game.  Jeannie Boehm led Harvard with 19 points to go along with Benzan’s 12 and Raster’s 11.  Defensively, Harvard held A&T to 30% overall shooting and 17% from three.  Harvard hit 7 three pointers and shot 42% for the game, but committed 21 turnovers and hit only 7-16 free throws.

Next Game – 12/2 at Temple

6. Dartmouth (4-1)

Win – vs Rhode Island, 70-54
Win – vs NJIT, 81-50
Loss – at Army West Point, 71-56

After a 12 day layoff, Dartmouth defeated Rhode Island on Friday afternoon and NJIT on Saturday afternoon.  The first quarter was back-and-forth, but the Big Green used a dominant 23-11 second period to head into the locker room with a 15-point advantage.  The team extended the lead to 22 late in the third quarter, but the Rams could get no closer than 12 points.  Kate Letkewicz and Cy Lippold scored 17 points each, while Emily Slagle added 14 points and Isalys Quinones netted 11.  Letkewicz also had 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.

On Sunday, the Big Green’s defense held NJIT to 19% shooting and 17 points in the first two quarters, as it opened up a 29 point lead.  The Highlanders managed to outscore Dartmouth by 10 in the third quarter, but the Big Green regained control and ended up with a 31 point victory to open the season 4-0.  Defensively, they held NJIT to 31% shooting, 3 three pointers and 12 more rebounds.  On offense, they hit 11 three pointers and shot 53%.  Quinones had her second double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 boards.  Letkewicz added 16 points, Lippold had 12 and Slagle 10 for a second night with four double-digit scorers.

The Big Green’s first road game of the season resulted in their first defeat, turning the ball over 20 times. Still, Dartmouth already has half as many wins (four) as it did all last season (eight).

Next Game: 12/2 at Marist

7. Columbia (3-5)

Loss – vs Wisconsin-Green Bay, 61-43
Loss – vs #3 Mississippi State, 90-54
Loss – vs #24 Arizona State, 72-48
Win – vs Boston College, 68-60

Columbia took a Thanksgiving visit to Mexico as part of the Cancun Challenge, but left winless in three games.  Expectations were low heading into the tournament, since the rebuilding Lions would be facing top mid-major and high-major programs.  On Thursday, Wisconsin-Green Bay dominated from the opening tipoff, taking a 11-point lead after 10 minutes, 18 after two quarters and 22 after three.  The two teams combined for three three-pointers, but Green Bay hit 27 two-pointers on 55% shooting and the Lions could only hit 14 inside the arc shots.  Camille Zimmerman was held to only 10 points, the lowest output of her season.  On the plus side, Josie Little returned to the starting lineup, scoring nine points.

On Friday, Columbia faced last year’s national runner-up and kept them within double digits for the first half.  The Bulldogs opened a 22-point lead, on 29 third-quarter points, and coasted to a 36-point victory.  While the team hit only 33% overall and 28% from three, Zimmerman scored 26 points.

The Lions faced Arizona State, their second top 25 opponent in two days, and found themselves down only nine at the half and midway through the third quarter.  Over the final 15 minutes, the Sun Devils outscored Columbia 29-14 to complete the 24-point win.  Zimmerman led all scorers with 23 points and first-year center Madison Peck added 10 points for the Lions.  For her outstanding effort, Zimmerman was named to the All-Tournament team.

Then Columbia bested Boston College at home, the Lions’ first ever win over an ACC opponent. The Lions notched a season-high 17 assists and were bolstered by 10 fourth-quarter points from Riley Casey amid foul trouble for Zimmerman.

Next Game: 12/3 at UMBC

8. Cornell (1-4)

Win – vs Canisius, 67-59
Loss – vs Lafayette, 59-58

The Big Red headed to Buffalo last Wednesday and earned its first victory of the 2017-2018 season over Canisius.  In a game that was close throughout, Cornell was up 2 with 6:23 to go in the fourth quarter.  A 7-0 run over the next four-plus minutes provided enough distance for the win.  While the team shot only 37% from the field and 21% from three, the Big Red got career highs from Samantha Widmann (27 points) and Christine Ehland (17 points).

Cornell welcomed Lafayette to Newman Arena on Tuesday night, hoping to make it two wins in a row.  A career night for Janee Dennis was not enough, as the Leopards left with a one point win.  With 7:33 remaining, Dennis hit her eighth three pointer of the game to put the Big Red up by nine  Cornell was outscored 12-2 the rest of the way, while Lafayette hit the go-ahead basket with seven seconds on the clock.  The Big Red had two chances in the last few seconds, but missed both.  Other than Dennis’ 8-for-9 night, the rest of the team shot 0% from three (0-for-14) and 26% overall (14-for-54).

Next Game: 12/1 vs Stony Brook

Ancient Eight’s Top Eight:

Bella Alarie (sophomore forward, Princeton)

21 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks at Davidson
29 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks vs Villanova

Katie Benzan (sophomore guard, Harvard)
11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals at Virginia
12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals vs NC A&T

Kate Letkewicz (senior guard, Dartmouth)
17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 block vs Rhode Island
16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal vs NJIT
9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists at Army West Point

Isalys Quinones (junior forward, Dartmouth)
11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists vs Rhode Island
18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block vs NJIT
6 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks at Army West Point

Tamara Simpson (senior guard, Yale)
22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals vs Army West Point
17 points, 9 steals, 2 assists vs Providence

Shayna Mehta (junior guard, Brown)
9 points, 4 rebounds vs Hampton
17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals vs Pacific
28 points, 4 rebounds, 7 steals vs Holy Cross

Taylor Will (junior guard, Brown)
15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal vs Hampton
23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals vs Pacific
12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists vs  Holy Cross

Camille Zimmerman (senior guard/forward, Columbia)
10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal vs Wisconsin-Green Bay
26 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block vs Mississippi State
23 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist vs Arizona State
14 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists vs Boston College