Ivy Friday night women’s hoops review

After Friday’s action, two teams (Princeton, Penn) clinched spots in Ivy Madness and one team (Brown) was eliminated, while the other five teams continue to battle it out for the last two tickets to IT-3.

Princeton 64 vs Dartmouth 47
Penn 75 vs Harvard 70
Cornell 66 vs Yale 56
Columbia 93 vs Brown 62

Home court and the third quarters are the charms
Princeton (9-2) was down 28-27 at halftime to Dartmouth (5-6), but used a 27-8 run at the start of the second half on their way to a 64-47 win. In that time, the Tigers shot 60 percent from two and 75 percent from the line, while holding the Green (5-6) to 25 percent shooting and zero three-pointers.
Penn (9-2), which led 28-27 at the half to Harvard (7-4), outscored the Crimson 24-15 in the third quarter on the strength of three straight three-pointers by Phoebe Sterba.
Cornell (4-7) was down 33-30 at the half to Yale (5-6) but had a 23-8 advantage to go up 12 heading into the fourth quarter.  The Big Red held the Bulldogs to 1-for-6 from three and outrebounded the Eils 12-4 with six offensive boards.

Columbia (4-7) outscored Brown (1-10) 28-18 in the third, in addition to 25-8 in the second stanza, on its way 31-point victory.  The Lions may have only shot 1-for-9 from three, but they were a perfect 9-for-9 from inside the arc.  Columbia also forced six turnovers during that 10-minute period, leading to 11 points, while the Bears only forced one turnover.

The fourth quarter for Penn … not so much
Heading into the fourth quarter on Tuesday night against Princeton, the Quakers were down four, but they only scored seven points and made one basket as they ended up losing to by 15.  Tonight, things were even worse as the Red & Blue only scored four points and shot 0-for-15 from the field.  To make matters worse, starting guard Ashley Russell went down with a left ankle injury.  Fortunately for Penn, things went better in the fifth quarter.

Michae is AOK
Harvard entered the fourth quarter down 10 but chipped away over the last 10 minutes.  After two missed free throws by Penn’s Princess Aghayere that would have put the Quakers up four with six seconds left, the Crimson tried to win the game with a Madeline Raster three from the right baseline.  Her shot was an airball, but Jadyn Bush was there to corral the ball and make the game tying layup at the buzzer.  Things looked bleak for the Quakers as Eleah Parker fouled out just over a minute in the extra session.  Down two starters, Penn needed someone to take charge to avoid a two game losing streak.  Sophomore guard Michae Jones scored 11 points, including nine of 10 free throws in the last minute to lead Penn to the win.  Jones ended up with a career-high 19 points on the night, surpassing her previous high of 15, which was set in the Quakers’ double overtime loss to these same Crimson.

A Columbia’s win well worth the wait
The Light Blue defeated Brown, 93-62, its largest margin of victory in an Ivy gamevsince defeating the Bears, 88-57, on Feb. 20, 2009.  It was the team’s largest offensive production since scoring 94 in a win over St. Francis (PA) on Dec. 6, 2017, and its largest Ivy output since a defeating Penn 114-111 in a quadruple overtime affair on Mar. 5, 1988.  On the night, Janiya Clemmons, Sienna Durr and Riley Casey scored 23, 22 and 20 points, respectively.  As a team, Columbia had season highs in points (93), field goals (36), and shooting percentage (52 percent), while scoring 30 points off 20 Brown turnovers and 34 points in the paint.

All The Way with LBK
Cornell’s Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, continues to make a case for the first-team All-Ivy with a career high 26 points and 13 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the year.  While hitting double-digits points for the 18th consecutive game, she added a career-high five assists.  Her 10-for-12 performance from the free throw line, added to her league-leading 84.6 percent rate.  She is also third in the league in scoring (16.6 per game), third in rebounding (8.1 per game), and 10th in field goal percentage (46.4).

Tigers keep on rolling
With its victory over Dartmouth, Princeton won its fourth game in eight days, seventh straight contest and 16th in its last 18.  The Orange & Black also secured their third straight Ivy Madness berth and remain tied with Penn for first place. Carlie Littlefield led all scorers with 18 points and Bella Alarie added 12 on a combined 13-for-20 (65 percent) from inside the arc.  Alarie added 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season.  The Tigers dominated the inside with seven blocks, a 50 percent offensive rebounding rate and a 40-26 advantage with points in the paint, while allowing the Big Green only 33 percent two point shooting.

The Bulldogs and Bears are reeling
After winning at Princeton in overtime on Feb. 8, Yale had won nine of its last 10 and were in sole possession of second place.  Since that night, the Bulldogs have lost five of their last six and are riding a four-game losing streak. Where their appearance at the JLA for Ivy Madness was a given a month ago, Yale is now tied with Dartmouth and only one game ahead of Cornell and Columbia.  While their defense is fairly consistent, the Bulldogs are going to need to find a way to get more offensive production from their frontcourt. Only once in this six game streak has their five forwards accounted for more than 25 points combined (32 in a 69-61 win at Columbia).  Without bigger numbers, there is too much pressure being placed on Roxy Barahman, Tori Andrew and now Robin Gallagher.

Two short years ago, the Brown women defeated Cornell in a play-in game to earn the four seed in Ivy Madness I.  With one first-year and four sophomores starting those games and earning a first-round win in the WBI, the future looked bright for the Bears.  A 12-1 start to the 2017-18 season did nothing to diminish expectations.  Since that time, however, Bruno is 12-29 overall and 4-21 in the Ivy League.  Despite having three 1,000-point-plus scorers, the team has lost its last 10 games by an average of 23.1 points (and 36.3 points in its last three games).  While injuries have certainly played a part in their troubles, the biggest problem is defense.  They are last or next-to-last in the league in points allowed, field-goal defense, three-point defense, offensive rebounding rate, defensive rebounding rate and rebounding margin.  Head coach Sarah Behn will need to improve that side of the ball in 2019-20.

Penn-Harvard II: A sequel as good as the original
On Feb. 16, the Crimson defeated the Quakers, 80-72, in a double overtime classic, handing Penn its first loss in league play.  Finding themselves one game back of the Red & Blue in the standings, Harvard looked to sweep the season series and pull into a second-place tie by earning its first win at the Palestra since the winter of 2012.  In another fantastic physical tussle, Penn almost gave the game away in the fourth quarter only to come back in overtime.  With Yale and Dartmouth struggling, Harvard looks in good shape for a top-three finish.  If Princeton defeats Harvard tonight, the Tigers will maintain the tiebreak advantage with Penn heading into the final weekend of action.  If that holds, Ivy fans will get their wish for Penn-Harvard III on a neutral court to settle things once and for all.

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