Something had to give on Sunday afternoon at Rose Hill Gymnasium, with both Harvard and Fordham riding four-game winning streaks. Unfortunately for the Crimson, the Rams withstood a late second-half rally and emerged with the hard-fought 68-60 victory in the Bronx.
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.
Only five points separated the top three teams in the Ivy League Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll, and our final tabulation was even tighter. Just three points separated the team atop IHO contributors’ preseason poll.
Yale gets the slight nod here, with our contributors trusting James Jones to lead the Bulldogs to their fifth Ivy League title in an eight-season span in a bid to represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament for a third straight time. Penn, the Ivy League preseason poll’s top team above Princeton by a single point, also finished a single point above Princeton in our standings. Our contributors saw potential for success in a roster that returns most of the key players from last year’s squad that placed third in the Ivy standings. We’ve got Princeton pegged to finish third, aided in their quest to repeat as Ivy League champions by returning 2021-22 Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan but losing significant backcourt production from last year’s conference title team.
Harvard was the clear No. 4 finisher in our poll, a showing that would improve upon the disappointing sixth-place result that locked the Crimson out of the Ivy League Tournament on its home floor last season. We have Cornell ranked slightly ahead of Brown as the Big Red look to build on last season’s overachieving Ivy League Tournament berth and the Bears look to bounce back from an underachieving sixth-place finish (tied with Harvard) a season ago. Columbia and Dartmouth tied in our voting tally at the bottom of the standings as both programs look to secure their first Ivy League Tournament appearances.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Cannady completing a comeback
Devin Cannady is nearing the end of a 10-day contract with the Orlando Magic that has marked an extraordinary comeback from a devastating injury for the former Princeton standout.
Cannady signed the contract March 31, making the jump from the Lakeland Magic of the NBA G League, where he had been averaging 15.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 16 games and 11 starts.
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.”