It was déjà vu all over again for Princeton women’s basketball.
Three weeks ago, the Tigers opened their Ivy campaign with a resounding road win over the Cornell Big Red, 79-38, at Newman Arena in Ithaca. On Saturday afternoon at Jadwin Gym, Princeton delivered a carbon-copy performance, dominating the Big Red in every facet of the game en route to a 85-47 win.
The Princeton women’s basketball team opened the Ivy League season in impressive fashion on Saturday afternoon with a dominant win over the Cornell Big Red, 79-38, at Newman Arena. The 41-point margin of victory was Princeton’s largest since the Tigers defeated Brown by 43 points last February.
With the win, the Tigers moved to 11-3 on the season and 1-0 in the Ivy League.
In an Ivy Hoops Online interview published Thursday, Princeton coach Carla Berube expressed little concern that her players would look past this contest to the Tigers’ marquee matchup against Harvard next weekend.
“I think they understand how important every one of these Ivy League matchups are,” Berube said. “You take nobody lightly, you take nobody for granted. You respect them and play your very best in each of these contests.”
With the season a few weeks away, the Ivy League hosted Women’s Basketball Media Day on Monday, the first of two media availabilities this week. The event was hosted over Zoom for media members and is available on the conference’s YouTube channel.
The preseason media poll was released last Thursday with Princeton earning all 16 first-place votes. Last year’s Ivy Tournament winner and regular season co-champions are the sixth unanimous pick in league history and the first since Penn in 2016-2017.
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.
Cornell women’s coach Dayna Smith joins Ivy Hoops Online contributor Steve Silverman for the next installment in our new series in which IHO catches up to Ivy League basketball coaches to preview the 2022-23 season. Coach Smith notes her preference for “the old school style” of basketball, explains why her program faced an especially challenging reset due to the pandemic shutdown, recalls the team scrapping its offensive system midway through last season, reports a shift in philosophy toward a greater focus on the offensive end this season and much more:
And in case you missed it, check out Steve’s interview with Cornell men’s coach Brian Earl here.
Before commencing with the rest of the Ivy hoops roundup, a note of sorrow about the passing of James “Booney” Salters, the 1980 Penn grad whose dynamic scoring and passing made him one of the best guards in men’s program history.
Salters died July 7. He was 64.
Penn made the NCAA Tournament in all three of Salters’ three seasons with the Red & Blue. The Penn Athletics and Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Famer captained the often overlooked 1979-80 Penn team that advanced to the second round of the Big Dance, leading the squad in scoring and sinking the game-winning shot to triumph over Princeton, 50-49, in an Ivy League playoff matchup.
“This is the business we’ve chosen.” – Brian Earl and Hyman Roth
“We played for, I would say, a good 15 minutes tonight, but that’s not good enough against a good program.” – Columbia head coach Megan Griffith, following the Lions defeat to top-seeded Princeton
No matter what the coaches who did not earn victories on Saturday thought, I felt there were three really good games of college basketball on display at Lavietes Pavilion, including a fantastic opener that saw Princeton escape an upset big from Cornell, 77-73. Hopefully, West Coast fans woke up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning to catch it.
Here are some random thoughts and observations from the Ancient Eight’s Super Saturday:
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).