Ivy Madness reporter’s notebook: Days 1 & 2

Ivy Madness became Ivy Gladness for Princeton women’s basketball after its 72-67 Ivy League Tournament semifinal win over Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

“As we battle in the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association), they’re always talking about “create this environment.”  Any time I talk equity with anyone, they always say there’s more pressure on a man because the gyms are full, and the bands are playing.  The opposite is true.  It’s much easier to play in a (packed) venue like this.  It’s very, very hard for women all over the country and play in empty gyms without bands, fighting their schools for support to get the bands there and to get the cheerleaders there.  There’s been huge growth at Harvard, but there’s such a long way to go.  It’s really wonderful for the athletes to play in this kind of venue and it’s fun to watch as well.” – soon-to-be retiring Harvard women’s coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, talking about the boisterous atmosphere during her team’s 72-67 loss to No. 1 seed Princeton

Some random thoughts after two great days at the 2022 Ivy League Tournament:

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Columbia women defeat Harvard, punch ticket to Ivy Madness

Jaida Patrick scored a season-high 20 points and Abbey Hsu set the program record for three pointers in a season, as the Columbia women (18-4, 9-1 Ivy) held off a determined Harvard (12-11, 6-5 Ivy), 74-70, to earn a spot in the 2022 Ivy League Tournament.

The victory not only ensured the Lions their second straight ticket to the league’s postseason party, but it also tied the school record for wins in a Division I season and an Ivy League campaign (2009-10).

For the first time in the calendar year, the Lions welcomed the general public to Levien Gymnasium and 1,000-plus members of the campus community came out to cheer them on in the team’s annual Play4Kay game to support the Kay Yow Foundation’s fight against cancers that affect women.

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Columbia women stop Penn again, stay unbeaten in Ivies

Columbia junior Kaitlyn Davis posted 17 points, 15 rebounds and five steals in 38 minutes as the Lions swept their season series with Penn Friday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Just nine days after snapping an 18-game losing streak against Penn, the Columbia women on Friday stretched their winning streak against the Quakers to two, this time in Philadelphia, 66-57.

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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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Columbia women defeat Georgetown in double overtime, 66-56, to remain unbeaten

Columbia’s Carly Rivera, held scoreless through regulation, hit three straight triples late in the second overtime to help the Lions break away from Georgetown and secure a hard-fought 66-56 victory Sunday. 

With the win, the Light Blue move to 5-0 for the first time in program history.

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Columbia women cruise past Hampton in season opener

Fresh off a program-high third-place selection in the 2022 Ivy preseason poll, the Columbia women looked ready for even greater heights as they took down Hampton, 78-56, in the season opener at Levien Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

The Lions (1-0), as usual, were led by their dynamic All-Ivy duo of Abbey Hsu and Sienna Durr.  Hsu led all scorers with 22 points on 50% shooting and five three-pointers.  Durr finished with 14 points with 57% shooting and a pair of treys.  Kaitlyn Davis and Duke transfer Jaida Patrick, added 14 and nine points, respectively.

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Columbia women win fifth straight, make big push toward Ivy Madness

Columbia rode its stingy second half defense, Abbey Hsu’s hot fourth quarter shooting and its deep bench to beat Harvard, 62-57, notching its fifth straight win and moving within a game of its first-ever birth in the Ivy Tournament.

Harvard (14-10, 5-6 Ivy) entered Friday night’s contest on a three-game losing streak, including an 89-64 defeat at Columbia (16-8, 7-4) two weeks ago. The Crimson hoped a return to Lavietes Pavilion, where the team was 8-2 on the season, would help turn the tide and return team back to the league’s upper division.

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Yale women use dominant second half to defeat Columbia for seventh straight win

Leading by only three at the half, Yale used a 50-point effort over the last 20 minutes to convincingly beat Columbia, 85-60, taking the first leg of its Empire State weekend.

A battle between two of the Ivy’s up-and-coming programs started with the visitors jumping out to a quick 10-0 start.  The Lions (10-6, 1-2 Ivy) battled back to tie the game at 15 by the end of the first quarter, with 12 of those points being scored by Ivy rookies Abbey Hsu, Hannah Pratt (a sophomore who missed all last year), Kaitlyn Davis and Carly Rivera.

The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair with four lead changes and four ties, leaving the game knotted at 32 after Rivera nailed a jumper from the right baseline with just under a minute to go.  Yale senior Roxy Barahman calmly sank a shot from the top of the key, beyond the men’s line, to put the Bulldogs up 35-32 to finish the half.

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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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