Now that every team has played its first game, we’ve gotten our first look at how Ivy League women’s basketball will shape up this year. Princeton has dominated in recent years, but it is by no means the only contender in the Ancient Eight this season.
1. Princeton (0-1): Things won’t be the same without Niveen Rasheed ’13, and that was evident from the tip-off of Princeton’s season-opener against Rutgers. After ceding two points before the game had started due to an error on the team’s roster, the Tigers fell 79-65 to a team they beat 71-55 last year. Senior forward Kristen Helmstetter, who scored 8.8 points per game as a starter last season, will now attempt to lead an inexperienced but explosive team to the NCAA tournament for its fifth straight year.
2. Harvard (1-1): The Crimson handed the Tigers their first Ivy loss in 33 games last year and finished second in the league just two games behind Princeton. Harvard returns three starters, including two-time All-Ivy guard Christine Clark, and defeated Cal Poly convincingly Saturday after losing by 22 to DePaul in its season-opener.
3. Penn (0-1): Despite a rough start in which the Quakers lost at home and went 2-21 from three-point land, Penn will be a serious contender this season. Last year’s team had one of the school’s best seasons in recent memory, making it to the semifinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational, and all five starters are returning for 2013-14.
4. Yale (2-0): The Bulldogs notched a win in their opener, defeating Monmouth by 11. Though that game was unimportant in and of itself, the Bulldogs pulled down an amazing 59 rebounds and let up only 55 points, showcasing a defense that Yale hopes will remain tough throughout the season, though its starters are relatively untested.
5. Dartmouth (1-1): Hungarian sensation Fanni Szabo led the Big Green in its first win of the season with 31 points against Vermont in New Hampshire. The win came after a throttling of Dartmouth by Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Dartmouth has a cold and difficult stretch of games ahead of it, as the Big Green will travel to Syracuse and host Providence before searching for warmer weather with a trip to American.
6. Cornell (1-0): Senior forward Allyson DiMagno picked up where she left off last year, when she won four Player of the Week Awards. DiMagno was the first Ivy Leaguer to earn the honor this season. She put up 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Cornell routed Colgate to begin its season.
7. Brown (0-1): The 2013 season started with a heartbreaker for Brown, which lost its opener 70-69 at home against Lafayette. The Bears will hope to rebound on the road as their next five games will take them away from Providence, but they can take solace in the fact that their defense managed 13 steals and had the best turnover margin of any team in the league.
8. Columbia (1-1): The Lions have played two close games so far with different results. Though not expected to do much offensively this year, they have averaged 65 points per game so far, tying with Princeton for third in the league in that category. Columbia freshman Carolyn Binder has had a solid start to her career, averaging 18 points per game.