Ivy League women’s basketball Media Day roundup

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.

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Ivy League 2021-22 season preview: Buy, hold and sell edition

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ were looking up at the end of last week, but more importantly, it’s a good time to be bullish about Ivy League basketball. There’s going to be an actual Ivy hoops season this year, and we’re here to herald its return together. Here’s how Ivy Hoops Online contributors feel about some of the storylines within that greater, happy story as the 2021-22 campaign approaches.

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Ivy hoops roundup – Hard roads, new hardwood and a Hamburger

The Ivy League conference schedules were released last month, but official releases of the Ivies’ nonconference slates have been trickling in and reveal that after the season that wasn’t, the Ancient Eight aren’t shying away from trekking throughout the country for out-of-conference competition. Meanwhile, the coaching carousel continues:

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Ivy hoops roundup – NIL gains and Olympic games

The NCAA’s new, long awaited policy of allowing players to use their name, image and likeness for commercial profit extends to the Ivy League, which says it has adjusted rules to allow players to take part in NIL activity.

Former Columbia Lions Tai Bibbs and Randy Brumant quickly signed a deal to advertise for GCDC, a Washington, D.C. grilled cheese bar, per Dafter having transferred from Morningside Heights to Howard to join former Columbia assistant coach Kenny Blakeney.

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What’s up with the Dartmouth women’s basketball search?

After leading the Big Green for the last eight years, head coach Belle Koclanes announced she was stepping down to become president of a nonprofit organization in Delaware.  While Koclanes’s last day was officially March 31, interim AD Peter Roby has actually been on the clock since the statement was released on February 24 – 68 days ago.

To put things into an Ancient Eight perspective, it took 29 days for Princeton to hire Carla Berube after Courtney Banghart left for North Carolina and 28 days for Brown to replace the departed Sarah Behn with Monique LeBlanc.  Looking at this year’s national coaching carousel, the Big Green now find themselves with the longest coaching search in the nation.

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What to expect when Ivy League basketball returns

As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:

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Brown women’s incoming first-year Mya Murray joins stand against racial injustice amid college preparation

Mya Murray puts up a shot for her 1,000th career point last December in a non-section game for Uniontown at McKeesport. | Photo by Ed Thompson

It’s been quite a year for incoming Brown first-year Mya Murray.

The Uniontown Area High School graduate was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Team, tabbed as the player of the year by her local hometown newspaper, The Herald-Standard, represented her school as a scholar-athlete with a 4.25 GPA, finished second in her district in scoring and completed her high school career with 1,363 points and 1,028 rebounds in her four years playing for Uniontown.

Murray, who graduated on June 4, decided to head to Pittsburgh the day after donning her cap and gown in a socially distanced ceremony to march in a Black Lives Matter protest. Murray and many of her friends were aware of the potential dangers of the event but felt they had a responsibility to act in the face of social injustice.

“I just felt like this movement is really important to me, especially being a person of color,” Murray said. “I have had personal experiences that have shown me that things need to change. My mom has always tried to shelter me from how cruel the world could be, but I still experienced smart remarks and criticism my whole life.

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Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

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Brown chooses Monique LeBlanc as its new women’s head coach

Monique LeBlanc takes over the helm of the Bown women’s basketball program after a nine-year tenure at Merrimack. (Brown Athletics)

On Friday afternoon, Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes announced the hiring of Monique LeBlanc as the Bears’ new women’s basketball coach, the fifth in program history.

LeBlanc, a native of Cumberland, R.I., will arrive in Providence after a nine-year tenure at Merrimack College.  This past season, when the Warriors made the jump from Division II to Division I, LeBlanc had her best season with a 20-10 record and a 13-5 third-place finish in the Northeast Conference.

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