Princeton basketball is currently second in the Ivy League. -
Record: 13-6 (2-0 Ivy) (t-1st)
What they’ve done: The Bulldogs are owners of the Ancient Eight’s most impressive nonconference victory to date, as they took down defending national champion UConn on Dec. 7. The Elis have dipped into league play in their last two games, both victories over last-place Brown.
What’s Next: Though it’s strange to see a squad besides Harvard at the top of the Ivy standings, the Bulldogs have looked very strong through the first half of their season. Look for leadership from senior guard Javier Duren and junior forward Justin Sears as Yale enters the thick of its conference schedule.
Record: 8-9 (1-0 Ivy) (2nd)
What they’ve done: Despite the lofty place in the standings, the Tigers have looked decidedly average in the early going. The squad has failed to register any impressive nonconference victories and was gifted its only league victory thus far at home when Penn struggled mightily down the stretch.
What’s Next: Despite the lackluster start to the season, Princeton still boasts a perfect Ivy record. Look for junior forward Hans Brase (12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds per game) to be the team’s leader as the Tigers head into a critical matchup with Harvard at home on Friday.
Record: 11-5 (1-1 Ivy) (t-3rd)
What they’ve done: The class of the Ancient Eight in recent years, Harvard has looked uncharacteristically beatable over the first half of the season. After entering the season nationally ranked at no. 25, the Crimson have suffered ugly defeats to Holy Cross, Virginia and Dartmouth.
What’s Next: Although the Crimson have looked unworthy on their preseason national attention in the early going, the firepower of guards Wesley Saunders and Siyani Chambers should allow Harvard fans to rest easier down the stretch. Tommy Amaker’s squad is still the favorites to win their fifth consecutive Ivy title.
Record: 9-7 (1-1 Ivy) (t-3rd)
What they’ve done: Despite the preseason loss of 2013-14 leading scorer Alex Rosenberg, the Lions have been able to tread water thus far this year, even coming close to a massive upset of No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 10. The Lions have split their conference games, both versus Cornell.
What’s Next: Junior guard Maodo Lo will look to build on his team-leading 15.8 PPG as the Lions face a major test against Ivy leader Yale this Friday.
Record: 9-9 (1-1 Ivy) (t-3rd)
What they’ve done: The team from Ithaca has had mixed results in the first half of the season, dropping a disappointing home game to St. Peter’s on Dec. 28 before notching a solid road victory over Columbia on Jan. 24.
What’s Next: After last season’s 2-26 debacle, Cornell will likely be pleased with this season’s return to respectability thanks to the return of senior forward Shonn Miller, who missed last season with a shoulder injury. Look for the Big Red to hang around the middle of the Ivy standings as the season progresses.
Record: 8-8 (1-1 Ivy) (t-3rd)
What they’ve done: In the midst of an otherwise middling season, the Big Green pulled off the Ivy League’s most impressive in-conference victory to date, taking down Harvard on the road last Saturday.
What’s Next: That victory in Cambridge proved that Dartmouth can hang with anyone in the Ancient Eight. Look for junior guard Alex Mitola and his team-high 14.3 PPG to continue to catalyze the Big Green offense.
Record: 9-10 (0-2 Ivy) (8th)
What they’ve done: Despite a relatively weak nonconference schedule, the Bears have collected some impressive wins, including a 77-67 win at Providence on Dec. 8.
What’s Next: Two early losses to first-place Yale have put Brown in an early conference hole, but sophomore forward Leland King’s 14.6 PPG should help the Bears claw back to the middle of the Ivy pack. Although the sophomore missed the team’s second matchup against Yale, the Bears still fought to a four-point loss.
Join us as we cover Penn basketball in its final Big 5 matchup tonight against St. Joes
Harvard men's basketball was upset at home by Dartmouth on Saturday, 70-61, falling to 1-1 in Ivy play this season.
The Crimson were the overwhelming favorites to win the conference going into the year but had struggled on offense for much of the nonconference season, highlighted by a blowout defeat at now-No. 2 Virginia. However, Harvard had easily handled Dartmouth a week earlier in Hanover and took a 43-29 lead in the early second half against the Big Green on Saturday.
But the wheels came out as the Crimson committed 18 turnovers, including 11 by their starting backcourt, and had their 11-game winning streak vs. Dartmouth snapped. Big Green junior guard Alex Mitola scored 12 points, 10 on free throws, in the final 4:09 of the game, sealing the upset win and moving Dartmouth to 1-1 in the Ancient Eight.
Meanwhile, in New Haven, Yale narrowly avoided an upset of its own, beating Brown, 69-65, on a late jumper by guard Javier Duren (Video of the play below).
For the moment, the Bulldogs take the Ivy League lead with a 2-0 record while Brown falls to 0-2.
Columbia had the chance to tie Yale atop the Ancient Eight but the Lions couldn't pull off a second straight win over Cornell, losing at home as both teams are now 1-1 in Ivy play.
Penn and Princeton play nonconference games this weekend against St. Joseph's and Division III Rowan, respectively, before resuming Ivy play next week against Harvard and Dartmouth.
After giving then-No. 5 Villanova a scare, can Penn basketball capitalize on its effort and earn a win against Monmouth? Join Sports Editor Emeritus Ian Wenik as he gives you all the action:
After last week's performance, Sydney Stipanovich has racked up two Ivy League player of the week honors for the 2014-2015 season. -
As Penn students made their way back to campus this week, some highly impressive hardcourt performances awaited them at the Palestra.
Women’s basketball’s Sydney Stipanovich was named Ivy League Player of the Week after an utterly dominant 19-point, 13-rebound performance in a 49-47 win over Richmond on Wednesday. The performance was the sophomore’s fifth double-double and second Player of the Week nod of the season.
Stipanovich sparked a comeback for the Quakers with four minutes to go with the team trailing the Spiders by four. The sophomore poured in six straight points and assisted on Anna Ross’ game-winning three-pointer.
The men’s squad was also a beneficiary of a similarly dominant individual performance. Guard Antonio Woods was named Ivy Rookie of the Week after a breakout performance in Saturday’s close defeat to No. 5 Villanova in which he paced the team with 18 points. The freshman also chipped in seven points and four rebounds in Tuesday’s road win over Niagara.
Adding to the Quakers accolades, junior guard Tony Hicks was named to the Ivy Weekly Honor Roll after racking up 18 points at Niagara and adding eight against Villanova.
It isn’t every year that Penn women’s basketball wins the Big 5 Title. In fact, it’s never happened before in the 36-year history of the Big 5.
That all changed over winter break as a Renee Busch three-pointer sealed a win over Temple for the Quakers with 25.1 seconds left.
With the 52-50 victory, the Quakers set six school records — including their first 3-0 start in Big 5 play, first four-game Big 5 winning streak, and their most Big 5 wins in a season.
As always, it started and ended with the stifling Penn defense that has been a defining characteristic in wins this season. The Quakers held the Owls (7-10, 1-3 Big 5) to 26.8 percent shooting from the field, making up for their 17 turnovers.
It was just the most recent achievement in the Mike McLaughlin era, but given his propensity to bring in top-tier talent year after year and continually build off of past years, it isn’t too surprising.
Last season saw the Quakers win two Big 5 games for just the second time in program history. For a program that’s struggled for so many years against the Big 5 — even Ivy League title teams had failed to secure multiple Big 5 wins — starting 3-0 is impressive.
Penn’s final Big 5 game comes later this month against a Villanova team that is currently on a six-game winning streak.
Apart from Penn and Villanova, most of the Big 5 has struggled uncharacteristically this season.
While La Salle has posted a 10-6 record, they’ve struggled against conference and Big 5 opponents. Saint Joseph’s has struggled in the early going, posting a 5-10 record, just one year removed from a 23-10 season that included an NCAA Tourney win and a Big 5 sweep.
While Penn might not be able to repeat on their Ivy League Championship — No. 22 Princeton might just be the best Ivy League women’s team in history — but earning their first ever Big 5 title is an incredible achievement for the team.
Are you ready for some Ivy League basketball? Penn and Princeton kick off the annual 14-game tournament at Jadwin Gym this evening. Follow myself, Senior Sports Editor Steven Tydings and Senior Sports Editor-Elect Riley Steele for all the play-by-play action and analysis as the Quakers take on the Tigers:
Penn women's basketball claimed its first Big 5 title on Monday night but an even bigger challenge is on the horizon: a ranked opponent to begin conference play.
After a victory over Hampton on Monday, Princeton is now the No. 22 ranked team in the AP poll, the highest ranking for an Ivy League women's basketball team ever. The Tigers are also undefeated, going 16-0 in nonconference play so far before taking on Penn this Saturday.
The Tigers have been demolishing opponents week by week to start the season. Princeton has not only beaten every team it has faced, the Tigers have also won by an 24.7 point average margin of victory.
Princeton is led by Ivy League Player of the Year favorite Blake Dietrick, a senior guard, along with juniors Annie Tarakchian and Michelle Miller. Each of those three players average double digit points per game and at least 4.7 rebounds per game (Dietrick leads the team in points per contest while Tarakchian leads the squad in rebound).
This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise as the Tigers and Quakers were tied atop the Ancient Eight in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll and Princeton, led by coach Courtney Banghart, had won four straight Ancient Eight titles before Penn upset them last season.
While Penn's 80-64 victory over Princeton came at Jadwin Gym last season, it will be tough for the Red and Blue to pull off the same upset on Princeton's home court. The Tigers are 4-0 at Jadwin this year, winning by an average of 38.5 points per game (highly skewed by a 71-point victory over Portland State).
All but one of the Tigers' wins this season have been by double digits, although Princeton's last three games have been within 15 points. In terms of common opponents, Princeton defeated Drexel and Hampton, two squads that edged the Red and Blue this season.
If you want to read more about the strong program that Banghart has build at Princeton, Matthew Snyder of Slam Magazine profiled the Tigers earlier this season. Check that out here.
Are you ready for some Big 5 basketball? Join me and Sports Editor Holden McGinnis as we give you all the play-by-play action and analysis from the Quakers' matchup against the Explorers.