Harvard women wallop Penn, 84-60

Sophomore forward Elena Rodriguez led all scorers with a career-high 28 points to lead Harvard to an 84-60 win over Penn at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)
The Harvard women staked their claim to a top spot in the Ivies with an emphatic home win Saturday over Penn, 84-60.
Mike McLaughlin’s Quakers are known for a stingy defense — backcourt pressure to slow you down, traps and steals, a mix of zones and man-to-man to keep you off balance. Carrie Moore’s Crimson were ready, time after time getting the ball to the high post and finding players cutting to the basket behind the defense to take the pass for the easy score.
Sophomore Elena Rodriguez was often the beneficiary, and she led all scorers with a career-high 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting. The 6-foot-2 forward also scored from deep (3-for-4), collected 11 rebounds, handed out three assists and collected a pair of steals. On a team with the Ivies’ second-leading scorer in fellow sophomore Harmoni Turner (12 points against Penn to go with an astounding 12 assists and seven rebounds) and two others in the top 10, Rodriguez — a veteran of the Spanish national 16-and-under team — has made huge strides this season and helped make Harvard a power again.
Also in double figures for Harvard, as usual, were Lola Mullaney (19 points on 8-for-17 shooting) and McKenzie Forbes (10 points and seven rebounds). The Crimson, cheered on by a crowd of 1,385 at Lavietes Pavilion, shot 52.5% from the field for the afternoon.
Two players on the court that you’d expect to light up the scoreboard simply didn’t: Penn senior guard Kayla Padilla and junior forward Jordan Obi. Obi had nine points and five assists. Padilla picked up early fouls, played less than her usual 35 minutes and scored just 10 points, all in the second half after Harvard had built a double-digit lead. It was Penn’s other senior guard, Mandy McGurk, who had the hot hand: 27 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
We’ve seen enough of Penn this year to know that a 24-point loss is an anomaly. Seven days before the debacle at Harvard, Penn blew past Yale by 22 points. Most days, Padilla has 10 points before the half — sometimes before the fans have settled down after the Star-Spangled Banner. The last team that scored this many points against Penn in regulation was Tennessee, then ranked No. 4 nationally, in November 2014. (Columbia scored 84 in an overtime game in 2020 — but Penn scored 86.)
It may well be that Columbia and Princeton are the true powerhouses of Ivy women’s basketball this season, as expected; Saturday’s games left Columbia on top with the league season half over and put Princeton, Harvard and Penn into a tie one game back. But this Harvard team has beaten Princeton and now Penn, and no one who saw Saturday’s game would swear that it won’t do so again in the Ivy tournament.
The second half of the Ivy season starts with back-to-backs next weekend. Penn travels to Columbia and Cornell; Harvard hits the road to Yale and Brown.

Yale women escape Harvard with 71-70 overtime victory

Yale was traveling from Hanover to Harvard Friday night and coming off a 97-53 home thrashing by Columbia a week before against a Crimson squad that had taken down mighty Princeton the same day. It seemed like a recipe for defeat.

But first-year coach Dalila Eshe’s team delivered a Saturday night stunner by pulling out a 71-70 overtime win at Lavietes Pavilion.

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Harvard women hand Princeton its first Ivy loss in 43 games in conference opener

Junior guard Lola Mullaney helped power Harvard to a win over Princeton at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday afternoon that marked the Tigers’ first loss in Ivy play since Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

1,423 days.

That’s how long it had been since Princeton women’s basketball lost a game to an Ivy opponent.

But Harvard snapped the Tigers’ winning streak spanning 42 games, three Ivy League championships and two head coaches at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday afternoon in the Ivy opener for both teams.

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Harvard women fade late in loss to UMass on a cold shooting night

Junior guard Lola Mullaney posted 15 points, going 5-for-17 from three-point range in Harvard’s 77-67 loss to UMass Friday night. The Crimson died by the three, launching 40 of their 61 field goal attempts from beyond the arc and hitting just 11 of them. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Coming off an eight-day layoff, Harvard women’s basketball ran out of gas in the fourth quarter against Bay State rival Massachusetts and suffered  its first loss of the season, 77-67, at Lavietes Pavilion Friday night.

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2022-23 IHO Women’s Preseason Poll

It’s still Princeton’s conference until another Ivy proves that it isn’t. Our contributors are united in believing that the Tigers will stay on top in 2022-23, with Megan Griffith’s ascendant Columbia program again placing second.

But there wasn’t consensus on how the rest of the top half of the league will fill out.

Penn could break back into the Ivy League Tournament after missing it for the first time last season, but we expect the Red & Blue to draw stiff competition from Harvard and Yale in their first years under new coaches.

Will #2bidivy happen in the league for only the second time in conference history? It very well could, and the bottom half of the conference is likely to be substantially stronger this season as Brown and Dartmouth return more experienced rosters under coaches that now have a year of Ivy play under their belts.

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Princeton women ranked No. 24 in AP preseason poll, poised to be class of Ivy League again

Carla Berube’s Princeton Tigers extended an impressive run of greatness in the 2021-22 season which began over a decade ago under Courtney Banghart.
The Tigers spent most of last season nationally ranked en route to an overall record of 25-5, ending with a near-upset of Indiana in the NCAA Tournament round of 32. The Tigers defeated Kentucky, the SEC Tournament champion, in the first round.
Now the Tigers are ranked again, placing 24th in the Associated Press’ Top 25 released Monday. Princeton was also projected to finish atop the Ivy League in the conference preseason poll released Monday.

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Ivy hoops roundup – Recruits and assistants coming, transfers going

Our latest Ivy hoops roundup features critical hires amid new starts for Harvard and Yale women’s basketball, an especially promising recruiting class for the Princeton women, some big men’s graduate transfer losses and more:

Princeton women introduce No. 19 class of recruits 

Princeton women’s basketball announced what ESPN.com deemed the No. 19 recruiting class in the nation:

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Yale women’s basketball names former Princeton assistant Dalila Eshe its new head coach

Dalila Eshe is the new head coach for Yale women’s basketball after three years as an assistant coach at Princeton. (Yale Athletics)

The Dalila Eshe era has begun in New Haven.

Yale Athletics named Eshe head coach of Yale women’s basketball Monday, 17 days after Loyola Chicago announced that Allison Guth was leaving Yale to take over there.

Eshe comes from Princeton, where she was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons under Carla Berube.

Eshe will be introduced at a press conference Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., inside John J. Lee Amphitheater, Yale Athletics announced.

Guth had won 99 games in six seasons, during which the Bulldogs set the single-season program win record twice during her tenure at Yale.

Now it’s up to Eshe, a former WNBA Draft pick, to build on that success.

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Carrie Moore returns to the Ivy League as Harvard’s new women’s basketball coach

Carrie Moore comes to Harvard after two stints at Princeton as assistant coach (2016-19) and director of basketball operations (2008-10) that yielded three Ivy League championships. (Harvard Athletics)

Carrie Moore, a long-time Princeton assistant for Courtney Banghart, was named the fourth coach in the history of Harvard women’s basketball on Tuesday afternoon.  The Western Michigan and Detroit Country Day alum takes over for legendary coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, who presided over the Crimson team for the last 40 years.

“I am so incredibly humbled and excited to be the next head women’s basketball coach at Harvard University,” Moore told Harvard Athletics. “A very special thank you to Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith for building such a tremendous foundation here and for your long history of fighting for women. Congratulations on your retirement. I am absolutely thrilled to lead these incredible young women and move this program forward.”

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Ivy League coaching carousel

After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April.  Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.

On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up.  Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign.  In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.

Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.

In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.

The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.

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