Ivy women’s hoops roundup – Nov. 20, 2019

Princeton (4-0)

No Abby Meyers against Rider (#3 preseason MAAC) – no problem
No Meyers and Bella Alarie for the 4th quarter at GW – no problem
No Meyers and Alarie for the entire game at Seton Hall (#3 preseason Big East) – no problem
No Meyers and Alarie for three quarters and Carlie Littlefield for the second half against FGCU (#1 preseason ASUN) – no problem

The Tigers have handled its share of adversity in the season’s first two weeks.  When healthy, Alarie (14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks per game) and Littlefield (17.2 points, 4.6 assists, 3.8 steals per game), are the most effective one-two punch in the Ivy League. Even when its starters spend time on the bench, Princeton is getting strong contributions from Taylor Baur (9.2 points per game), Julia Cunningham (8.2 points per game), Grace Stone (7.8 points per game) and Neenah Young (6.5 points per game),  Highly touted first-year Ellie Mitchell is also stepping up in Alarie’s absence, averaging 8.5 points and 19 minutes in the last two games.

The Tigers are also showing results on the defensive side, forcing turnovers (24.2% rate; #43 nationally), making opponents go it alone (34.9% assist rate; #10) and limiting teams to one shot (81.2% defensive rebounding rate; #3).

Princeton will look to get its walking wounded back when it heads to Iowa for Littlefield’s homecoming game on Wednesday or its home contest against Monmouth on Sunday.

Penn (3-0)

It should come as no surprise that the talented Quakers have won by an average of 38 points in its first three games – Siena (#10 preseason MAAC), NJIT (#8 preseason ASUN) and Iona (#9 preseason MAAC) are not in the same league as Penn. Things should heat up a bit for the Red & Blue as it starts Big Five action at St. Joe’s (#10 preseason A-10; 2-1 with a win at Columbia) on Wednesday.

The Quakers’ calling card continues to be their defense, owning a 80% defensive rebounding rate (#5 nationally) and holding opponents to 45.7 ppg (#8) and 29.7% shooting (#18).  On offense, Penn is shooting 59.5% from two (#7) and rebounding 42.9% (#28) of its shots.

Junior Eleah Parker (18 points per game, 63.9% shooting, 7.3 rebounds and one block per game) and first-year Kayla Padilla (17.7 points and 2.7 made threes per game – 42.1%, 3.7 assists per game) are leading the way for Penn with Phoebe Sterba (10 points per game) and Kendall Grasela (6.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game) providing added production and senior leadership.

Harvard (3-2)

The Crimson were able to weather the loss of Jadyn Bush (10.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in ’18-’19) to come away victorious on the road at Northern Illinois (#2 preseason MAC – West Division) and at home against California (#10 preseason PAC-12). The additional loss of rookie sensation Lola Mullaney (18.7 points, 3.7 made threes per game) at the end of the Cal contest did not cause any problem against overmatched Siena.

The lack of depth and star power did catch up to Harvard in a late-game collapse against surprising 3-1 La Salle (#14 preseason A-10) and a 28-point loss at 4-0 Rutgers.

Without Bush and Mullaney, Harvard is basically going with a five-person rotation.  Senior forward Jeannie Boehm is having a career-best start with 10.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.  In the backcourt, sophomores Tess Sussman and Mackenzie Barta are averaging a combined 19.2 points, three made threes and five assists per contest. Rachel Levy, who has been given more minutes in Bush’s absence, is adding 7.4 points and eight rebounds a night.  Outside the present top five, however, there is little production with the remainder of the roster contributing 5.3 points per game.

When healthy, Harvard has shown that it compete with most teams in the country.  Bush is reported to be out for the nonconference schedule, while Mullaney’s injury is more of a day-to-day situation.  Until the Crimson can get everyone on the court together, the biggest goal will be to find consistency and depth.

Yale (1-1)

After suspending its November 5 opener against Providence due to a scoreboard malfunction, the Bulldogs fixed its electronics and got their first result of the season on November 13, beating cross-town rival Quinnipiac (#2 preseason MAAC) by four.  Three days later, the team came up short, losing by three at Colgate (#6 preseason Patriot League).

Yale’s pack-line defense is back, limiting opponents to 39.8% shooting from two (#100 nationally) and grabbing 72.9% of their missed shots (#72).  On offense, the Bulldogs are focusing its efforts down low, where they are shooting 52.9% from two (#34) and scoring 69.2% (#9) of their total points.

After two games, four starters are averaging double digits with Roxy Barahman (16.5 points per game and 50% two-point shooting), Camilla Emsbo (15.5 points per game, 58.3% from two), Ellen Margaret Andrews (12.5 points per game – 47.4% from two) and Tori Andrew (12 points per game).  The rest of the roster is only adding 8.5 points per contest, while the entire team is making just 4.5 three-pointers a night on 27.3% shooting (#239) and allowing teams to grab 78.3% (#335) of Yale’s missed shots.

Yale will look to build up these areas of the stat sheet as it hits the road to face winless UMass-Lowell and Northeastern this week.  Then on December 2 the Bulldogs will host Providence to resume the second half of the season opener.

Cornell (2-2)

The Big Red built off their big win at Albany and its competitive second half effort at TCU by taking a 15-point lead into the locker room during its home opener against Colgate.  Unfortunately, Cornell’s 29 turnovers and the team’s 25% shooting allowed the Raiders to pull out the 62-58 victory.

Laura Bagwell-Katalinich left Saturday’s game against NJIT early in the first quarter with an apparent ankle injury.  Luckily for Cornell, she had it taped enough to return a few minutes later.  The Red would cruise to a 25 point rebounding win against the 0-5 Highlanders.

Cornell is led, as usual, by Bagwell-Katalinich (11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game) and Samantha Widmann (10.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and three assists per game).  The added bonus on the offensive side has been the production from rookie point guard Shannon Mulroy (8.5 points, 1.2 made threes per game – 38.5% shooting, four assists and 30.4 minutes per game) and sophomore Theresa Grace Mbanefo (8.2 points on 60% shooting from two, five rebounds per game, 19.1 minutes per game, 1.5 blocks per contest).

The Red are playing their typical gritty defense, holding teams to 54 points per game (#45 nationally) and a 37.7% effective field goal rate (#39), while securing 73.7% (#61) of its rivals’ missed shots.  Cornell continues to generate most of its offense within the two-point arc, scoring 69.6% of its points (#9) on 49.1% shooting (#74). The big question, as usual, will be whether the Red can improve their three-point production (16% of total points; #328) to help in close games.

Columbia (2-3)

The Lions defeated Robert Morris, 61-59, on Sunday, coming back from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.  This was the team’s second victory of the year, with both coming against 2019 conference title holders (the other being Fordham).

Columbia is getting a good deal of productivity from a trio of newcomers, rookies Abbey Hsu (31.1 minutes, 15 points per game – 51.7% shooting, 1.8 made threes and 5.6 rebounds per contest) and Kaitlyn Davis (22.8 minutes, 9.6 points per game – 56.7% shooting, 5.8 rebounds per contest) as well as sophomore Hannah Pratt (8.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game) who missed last year to injury.

Last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Sienna Durr, struggled with foul trouble in the first three games of the season, limiting her court time and numbers.  In those contests, she averaged 22.1 minutes, 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.  Being more disciplined the last two games, Durr has seen her stats jump to 35.0 minutes, 22 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest.

The Lions, looking to improve its rebounding from a year ago, have seen positive numbers on the boards.  Last season, Columbia had an offensive rebounding rate of 27.5% (#298 nationally) and 65.3 percent on the defensive end.  Through the first five games, the Light Blue have a 39.2% rate on the offensive side (#52) and 67% (#202) defensive rate.

Dartmouth (3-0)

After a one-point win, 52-51, at Fairfield on Sunday, the Big Green are undefeated heading into first-semester finals.

Dartmouth is finding offensive success inside the arc, shooting 50% from two (#59 nationally) and securing 38.6% of offensive rebounds (#61) to generate a large 71.8% of its total points (#3).  The team is struggling in other areas, however, shooting only 27.3% from three (#239) and 55.6% from the free throw line (#313).  Defensively, the Green are controlling opponents’ production, holding them to 52.7 points per game (#38) on a 37.3% effective field goal rate (#37).

Last year’s team was often dominated by two players, but this year’s team is more balanced, getting solid production from senior point guard Annie McKenna (14.3 points and 5.3 assists per game), senior forward Paula Lenart (11 points per game – 63.6% shooting, eight rebounds per contest), junior forward Anne Luce (12.3 points per game – 56.7% shooting, 7.7 rebounds per contest) and junior guard Elle Louie (seven points per game – 50% shooting, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game).

The Big Green’s strong start will be put to the test after their short break, taking on Manhattan (#4 preseason MAAC), 3-0 Loyola Chicago, 3-0 Northwestern and Maine (#1 preseason America East).

Brown (2-2)

The Bears followed up its big overtime win against Maine with a 10-point victory at Central Connecticut State.  The winning streak ended on Saturday, losing by 10 at Longwood.

Despite its large roster changes from last season, Brown continues to benefit from a prolific offense. The team scored an uncharacteristically low 44 points in its season-opening loss to Bryant, but it has averaged over 78 points per game in the last three contests.  That increase may be due to the return of senior guard Justine Gaziano, who is averaging 20.3 points per game since returning to lineup in game #2.

The Bears have to be pleased with its offense, having an effective field goal rate of 49.6% (#73 nationally), scoring 1.04 points per possession (#89) and balancing its point production (17% from the foul line, 53% from two, 30% from three),  The coaching staff has to be even more pleased with the defensive effort, which has limited teams to a 40.2% effective field goal rate.

In addition, the rebounding has shown marked improvement over the first two weeks.  Last year’s offensive rebounding rate was 25.1% (#326) and it is 37.8% (#78) at this time.  On the defensive end, the Bears had a 63.9% rate (#306) and now stand at 67.1% (#200).

Brown will look to keep its momentum going at UMass and New Hampshire before welcoming Merrimack.