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.
Heading into the last two days of the regular season, Columbia and Princeton were tied for first, while Penn held a one-game lead over Harvard for third place. After the Lions, Tigers and Crimson each grabbed a win, the Ivy League Tournament semifinal matchups of Columbia against Harvard and Princeton versus Penn had been set. What needed to be determined was the seeding of the four teams and the timing of the two matchups.
When the updated NCAA NET rankings were posted on Sunday morning, Princeton’s convincing road victory over upper division Penn combined with Columbia’s narrow escape at home against seventh-place Cornell resulted in the Tigers overcoming an 11-position difference from last week and taking the No. 1 seed away from the Lions.
Editor’s note: Princeton-Penn is always a big deal, and our Toothless Tiger and Palestra Pete combine to recap Saturday night’s P vs. P action in audio and written form below:
It was The Kaitlyn Chen Show, but more than that, it was The Princeton Defense Show at Penn on Friday night, and the Tigers roared back (sorry) from a first-half deficit to beat the Quakers handily, 71-52.
In some respects, the game was meaningless: For weeks we’ve known that the top two women’s teams going into the Ivy League Tournament would be Princeton and Columbia, and that they would face Penn and Harvard in the first-round games. But pride counts, too, and Princeton knew it needed this win to get a share of its fifth straight regular-season title.
On the Penn side, too, the stakes were emotional: This was Senior Night, and Princeton was the only Ivy the graduating Penn players had never beaten. Truth is, they’d never come very close: The 15-point loss in January at Princeton was their closest score. Their best chance probably would have come in the COVID-canceled Ivy tournament of 2020, or more likely the canceled season that followed, when the career of Penn’s last dominant center, Eleah Parker, would have overlapped with that of forward Jordan Obi.
Following Saturday afternoon’s action, the upper division pulled away from the bottom half, while the Brown rebuild took a positive step forward.
Columbia bounced back from a disappointing result against Princeton by taking it out on Yale in front of 1,485 fans at Levien Gymnasium. The Lions jumped out to a 32-17 halftime lead on the strength of a 14-0 second quarter run. The Light Blue made it a 20-point game after three and widen it to a game-high 28 points with just under four minutes to go in the contest. Defensively, they limited the Bulldogs to 32% shooting and only 49 points, the first time they held an Ivy opponent under 50 this season.