You weren’t expecting a close game, were you? If so, you were expecting the Penn women to travel to Morgan State for their first game in 20 days. But with the coronavirus shuffling and scuttling schedules, the Quakers instead were playing host to Division III Ursinus, and the result was an emphatic 89-29 Penn win.
It turns out that getting the gang together again wasn’t enough to solve Penn’s problems. Not even 31 points from Kayla Padilla could do it.
In their second game back after the rolling four-game suspensions of all their juniors and seniors over the season’s first eight games, the Penn women dropped their fifth straight, falling to St. Joseph’s at the Palestra, 83-70. Penn (4-6) has lost three Big 5 games, with one to play next month against Temple.
After 20 months away from the game, you have to expect some rust. The reflexes aren’t as sharp; the eyes don’t take in the court as well, or as quickly. The muscle memory — fingers on the keys, jumping to the stat book — is just a bit off when the middle-aged sportswriter returns.
No rust on the Red and Blue, though. The Penn women went to Connecticut and tore through Hartford, 85-42, as if they’d never put the ball down. (The final score is a bit deceptive; Coach Mike McLaughlin pretty much pulled his starters after three quarters to give his bench game time and keep the total below 100. Hartford won the fourth quarter, 13-7.)
One day after releasing the conference’s preseason poll, the Ivy League moved one step closer to normal by hosting the 2021-22 Media Day for women’s basketball Tuesday. For the first time, the league used a Zoom format to create a stronger connection between the coaches, players and the media.
In Monday’s poll, three-time defending champion Princeton was again picked as the top team with 122 total points and 12 first-place votes. Penn, the 2019 co-champion, was selected No. 2 with three first-place votes and 108 points. The next three teams were close, with only six points separating Columbia, Yale and Harvard.
The Lions, which earned their first Ivy League Tournament berth in 2020 before the tourney was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moved up to third with 87 points. The Bulldogs, a third-place team in 2020, dropped to fourth at 82 points. The Crimson, which finished fifth in 2020, received one first-place vote but missed the upper division by one point.
Cornell, the 2020 seventh-place squad, moved up to sixth for 2022 with 41 points. Dartmouth and Brown, two teams with new coaching staffs, ended up with the last two spots, with the Big Green’s 29 points two ahead of the Bears.
Tuesday’s Media Day revealed the four tiers apparent in the preseason poll. But there could be a slight reordering near the top.
The slew of top-flight talent leaving the Ivy League just keep gets bigger.
Together again as Tar Heels
Princeton women’s senior guard Carlie Littlefield delivered the news on Twitter Monday that she’ll be reuniting with Courtney Banghart, the coach she played for at Princeton as a rookie and sophomore, at North Carolina. An Economics major at Princeton, Littlefield will play at UNC as a graduate transfer and earn a Master of Business Administration degree there.
Now’s the time of year that an Ivy League hoops slate would be revving up, and since there’s no Ivy hoops action to come this spring, here’s an IHO contributors’ roundtable pondering what might have happened in the 2020-21 Ivy season on the men’s and or women’s sides if there had been one instead of an exodus of much of the league’s top talent via the transfer portal. Behold the one-year Ivy hoops universes we created:
Things have not calmed down after Tuesday afternoon’s bombshell announcement from the Ivy League and its eight presidents that this weekend’s Ivy League Tournaments were canceled, making the league the first conference to cancel tournament play.
The conference likes to refer to its tournament as Ivy Madness. To paraphrase Harvard senior Seth Towns, the 2018 Player of the Year, it’s more like Ivy Mayhem.