Penn women turn back Cornell to keep Ivy Madness hopes alive

Two teams that knew they had to win to have a chance at Ivy Madness played some of their best basketball of the year Wednesday, but the Penn women played a bit better than Cornell and came away with the victory in Ithaca, 70-57.

That may sound like a comfortable win for the Quakers, but it was anything but.

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Columbia women outlast Cornell, 57-46, for best start to Ivy play in program history

After running out to a 24-point lead over the first 7:30 of the game, the Columbia women surprisingly found themselves in a battle with Cornell on Thursday night.  In a typically intense physical battle between the Empire State rivals, the Lions used the offense of Kitty Henderson and the rebounding of Kaitlyn Davis to come away with a 57-46 victory at Levien Gymnasium.

With the win, the Light Blue are 3-0 in league play (12-0 overall) for the first time in program history and remain tied with Princeton for first place.  For the Red, the defeat was their first of the year when holding an opponent to 60 points or less and they are now 1-3 in the conference (6-9 overall).

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Ivy weekend preview: What to watch for now that there’s finally something to watch

Sunday will mark the first Ivy League conference basketball since March 7, 2020, even if two of the eight games in the opening slate (the Princeton at Harvard and Columbia at Yale men’s matchups) have been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. Here’s what to watch for:

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Cornell women prepare for Ivy League slate

For Dayna Smith’s Cornell squad, the start of the 2021-22 season has by no means been easy. In addition to a challenging nonconference slate, the team with just six returners from two seasons ago has battled injuries, illness and COVID-19 protocols through the first seven weeks of the new campaign.

“There’s been zero pouting, zero anger [and] lack of focus,” Smith said. “We’ve practiced with six people, we’ve practiced with seven people … The people we have with us are giving us everything they have.”

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Shannon Mulroy’s buzzer-beater gives Cornell women gritty win over Albany

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell junior guard Shannon Mulroy sunk a deep three-pointer over multiple defenders at the buzzer  downing the Albany Great Danes, 47-46, Wednesday for Cornell’s third victory of the season.

 

“So happy for them,” coach Dayna Smith said. “It wasn’t our best performance on the offensive end … I love the grit that they showed.”

Albany (1-2) opened the game on an 11-0 run, but Cornell (3-3) responded with an 11-0 run of its own sparked by senior forward Theresa Grace Mbanefo more than four minutes into the game. Mbanefo scored 12 points off 6-for-15 shooting with nine rebounds.

“Getting those inside shots when they collapses on us, looking for kick-outs, is really important,” Mbanefo said. “I really focus on that, making my bunnies, and hopefully I can continue to do that.”

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Ivy League player carousel

The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft.  The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft.  Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz.  He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.

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Ivy hoops roundup – May 13, 2019

Former Penn and Temple coach Fran Dunphy was honored for the impact he made throughout his coaching career during a ceremony at City Hall in Philadelphia Monday, four days after he received an honorary degree as Temple University graduated its 132nd class last week.

Mickey Crowley, long-time NCAA basketball referee and former Ivy League Coordinator of Officials for men’s basketball, died on May 5 at the age of 85.  Crowley played for the All-Army baseball team from 1954-1957 and the Yankees minor league system in the early 1960s before turning his attention to basketball.  He was the assistant executive director of officiating for high school athletics for more than 20 years in Nassau County (Long Island) before becoming an NCAA referee.  He officiated in 21 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 1989 and 1991 championships.  Crowley eventually became the head of officiating for the Ivy, Patriot and A-10 Leagues, retiring from the Ancient Eight in 2009.

“Mickey was a well-respected fixture in college basketball officiating thanks to his engaging personality, devotion to the integrity of the game and knowledge of the rules,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “The Ivy League is deeply saddened to hear of his passing and we extends our sympathies to his wife Pat and entire family.”

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