Ivy women’s basketball weekend in review – Feb. 16-17, 2018

Fri., Feb. 16
Penn 75 at Columbia 39
Harvard 86 vs Brown 74
Dartmouth 64 at Yale 62 (OT)
Princeton 72 at Cornell 40

Sat., Feb. 17

Princeton 74 at Columbia 46
Dartmouth 77 vs Brown 60
Penn 53 at Cornell 39
Yale 69 vs Harvard 63

Same As It Ever Was:
1st – Princeton (9-1 Ivy; 18-4 Overall)
2nd – Penn (8-2 Ivy; 17-5 Overall)
Tie 6th – Cornell (2-8 Ivy; 6-17 Overall)
8th – Columbia (1-9 Ivy; 7-18 Overall)

The conference’s top two teams returned to action, following their midweek rematch, visiting the league’s bottom two programs.  The Tigers and Quakers used their typical formulas of good offense and superior defense to sweep the Empire State Ivies.  

Princeton shot only 29 percent from three but hit 60 percent from two.  On defense, the Tigers held their opponents to 30 percent from three (including zero percent against Cornell) and 32 percent from two, while limiting Columbia’s Camille Zimmerman to 10 points and Cornell’s Samantha Widmann to nine. For the weekend, the Quakers shot 36 percent from three and 47 percent from two.  Defensively, they held the Lions and Big Red to 15 percent from three and 35 percent from two.  They allowed only 12 and 10 points, respectively, to Zimmerman and Widmann, as well.

Princeton and Penn have not officially locked up spots in the Ivy Tournament, but they both have a 99.9 percent certainty according to the Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group (YUSAG).  With three games each against Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale, the Ivy leaders will have a great deal of influence on the makeup of the upcoming tournament.

Reversals of Fortunes:
Tie 3rd – Dartmouth (6-4 Ivy; 14-9 Overall)
Tie 3rd – Harvard (6-4 Ivy; 14-9 Overall)
Tie 3rd – Yale (6-4 Ivy; 13-10 Overall)

Harvard had a 12 point first quarter lead on Brown, but the Bears cut it to three with 4:09 left in the third quarter.  The Crimson never let Brown get any closer as they pulled away with a 12-point win, their first road and sixth total victory in conference play.  

With a 16-point lead, Yale was 11:12 away from a season sweep and a two-game lead over then-fifth place Dartmouth, but a fourth quarter meltdown by the Bulldogs and a late Andi Norman three-pointer in overtime left Yale tied with the Big Green for fourth place.  The Elis rebounded against Harvard the next night with a hard-fought 69-63 victory that was only decided in the last 90 seconds.  

The Big Green, which had five starters playing between 37 and 45 minutes on Friday night, had more than enough energy in the tank against Brown to run away with a 17 point win on Saturday.  Senior guard Kate Letkewicz led the way for the Big Green with 57 points and 16 rebounds for the weekend and was named the Ivy League’s Co-Player of the Week (along with Princeton’s Bella Alarie).

Yale, Harvard and Dartmouth now find themselves tied for third place and matching 2-2 records against each other. Based on its victory over Princeton on Feb. 2, Yale owns the second tiebreak and controls its own destiny.  

With similar records against each other and the other league teams, Harvard and Dartmouth’s tiebreak would be based on the higher average of the most recent ratings indices (Sagarin/RPIRatings.com and NCAA RPI). With a Sagarin rating of 142 and NCAA ranking of 69, the Crimson presently hold a 105.5-120 advantage over a Dartmouth team that has a Sagarin rating of 150 and NCAA ranking of 90.  As a result, Dartmouth will need to find a way to secure a one-game advantage over Yale or Harvard in the remaining four games to get back to the Palestra.

And Then There’s Brown
Tie 6th – Brown (2-8 Ivy; 14-9 Overall)

Playing for pride and a chance to be a spoiler was not enough for the Bears, as they got pushed around on their home court by Harvard and Dartmouth.  First-year point guard Dominique Leonidas, the Ivy League Rookie of the Week, produced 36 points on 63 percent shooting and nine assists, but it was not enough to get the team back into the win column.  When interviewed by the Ivy League Network following the Dartmouth game, coach Sarah Behn summed things up by stating, “I’m pretty disappointed.  We suffered a major loss when Taylor Will went out of the lineup, but I really expected more out of our group and we have just been really struggling to find our way.”  She later added, “We’ve got two weekends left and I just hope we can put together a better product that is more representative of our abilities.”

Upcoming Games

Fri., Feb. 23
Cornell at Yale, 6 p.m.
Columbia at Brown, 6 p.m.
Penn at Harvard, 6 p.m.
Princeton at Dartmouth, 7 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 24
Cornell at Brown, 4 p.m.
Columbia at Yale, 5 p.m.
Princeton at Harvard, 5 p.m.
Penn at Dartmouth, 5 p.m.

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