Last season, Princeton and Columbia split the Ivy League women's basketball regular season title, but it was the Tigers who emerged victorious from the Ivy League Tournament and earned the chance to represent the Ancient Eight in March Madness. But in the months since last March, teams have been able to reload, while also bidding farewell to some key contributors. Now, with just a few weeks left before the start of the season, let's see how the Ivy League looks to shake out.
1. Princeton (2022-23: 24-6, 12-2 Ivy)
Let's clarify one thing: Princeton is stacked. The Tigers are almost a sure bet for the Ivy title this upcoming season. With senior guard Kaitlyn Chen — the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year — leading the offense, senior forward Ellie Mitchell, a two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, guarding the basket, and last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, sophomore guard Madison St. Rose, fueling the team, a conference crown is essentially Princeton's to lose.
Besides these accolades, Princeton represents sustained success. As they prepare for Chen and Mitchell's final season, the team's recruiting has not lagged. Incoming freshman Fadima Tall promises to bring athleticism and skill when needed most for the Tigers. It's safe to say that this team is a strong contender.
2. Columbia (28-6, 12-2)
The reigning Ivy co-title holders are back this year, with a shot at claiming the top spot again. Heading into the season, it's crucial to not sleep on senior guard Abbey Hsu, a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection last year and member of Team USA's FIBA AmeriCup squad, who will be the driving force behind Columbia's team. Don't be surprised if Hsu mounts an Ivy League Player of the Year campaign in her final year as the Lions aim to take the top spot. Columbia is a cohesive unit from top to bottom: from coach Megan Griffith to new transfers and incoming freshmen, the Lions have the potential to disrupt the top of the table.
3. Harvard (20-12, 9-5)
Harvard may not be the favorite for this year's title, but a podium finish is well within its range. This Crimson squad is deep and will be competitive, but they may not have the firepower to go all the way. However, things can change: the Crimson's big three, junior guard and first-team All-Ivy Harmoni Turner, senior guard and second-team All-Ivy Lola Mullaney, and junior guard Elena Rodriguez, will be key contributors. Beyond this core, Harvard returns plenty of talented players, giving the team a strong chemistry before a single game is played. Like Columbia's Hsu, Rodriguez also participated in international play last summer for the Spanish national team, an experience that should benefit her throughout the year.
4. Penn (17-12, 9-5)
The Quakers enter their first year without one of Penn's most accomplished and storied athletes: Kayla Padilla. Padilla's absence will be felt, adding an element of uncertainty to the squad's prospects. But senior forward Jordan Obi, a second-team All-Ivy selection from a season ago, has become the player to watch this year. Filling the void left by Padilla is a tough task for anyone, but Obi seems capable of stepping up to the challenge — although an injury to senior forward Floor Toonders also complicates things for the Quakers. While this year feels more unpredictable compared to others, Penn remains a competitive team that is well-coached and excels defensively. The question is if there will be any turbulence during this transition into the post-Padilla era.
5. Brown (11-15, 4-10)
The key to elevating this Bears unit from the bottom section of the standings to a potential Ivy tournament berth is chemistry. Concerns about the team have always centered on their youth and experience. Now, with their primary contributors from last season coming back, synergy could positively influence Brown's performance. Senior guard and floor general Kyla Jones — the team's leading scorer and defensive linchpin — will play a significant role in how the team performs. While they may not have a guaranteed chance, the Bears have the potential to reach the Ivy League Tournament.
6. Yale (13-14, 7-7)
To sum up Yale's past season in one word: mediocre. After finishing exactly .500 in conference play and missing out on the Ivy tournament, few expectations were met. Senior guard Jenna Clark — a second-team All-Ivy selection — is returning as the Bulldogs' leading scorer and two-time Ivy leader in assists, and she must step up to help the team succeed. Coach Dalila Eshe, in her second season, will benefit from her experience as she adapts and learns on the job. A significant asset for this team lies in junior guard Nyla McGill, the reigning Ivy League Co-Defensive Player of the Year, who averaged 2.6 steals per game last year. Time will tell if the Bulldogs can adapt and become contenders, but witnessing an underdog tale unfold is always exciting.
7. Cornell (10-17, 3-11)
It would be prudent not to expect too much from the Big Red this season, as questions of experience are prominent following the departures of three pivotal starters from last season. While this turnover may be concerning at present, it could prove to be a blessing in disguise, allowing Cornell's five freshmen to find their roles on this developing squad. Regardless, there are reasons to be excited, particularly with sophomore forward Emily Pape, who averaged a solid 11.2 points per game as a freshman, and senior guard Kaya Ingram, who brings experience and pedigree to the team.
8. Dartmouth (2-26, 0-14)
Finishing 0-14 in Ivy conference play last season is quite alarming. The near future may not hold much success for the Big Green, so a top-down reevaluation of the team is necessary before they can understand what changes are needed to secure wins. New coach Linda Cimino faces the daunting task of leading this team to success. But it's not solely on Cimino — junior guard Victoria Page and senior guard Mekkena Boyd need to play a pivotal role in driving change on the court and in the locker room for this team to find success.