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A team that faced more questions than answers at the start of this season is now firmly in the hunt for a spot in the NCAA tournament. After losing multiple veteran leaders from last season, the Princeton Tigers (15-12 overall, 9-5 Ivy League) have found themselves as the second seed in the inaugural Ivy League postseason tournament. The winner of the four-team tournament will have the honor of representing the Ancient Eight in the one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year: March Madness.
This men’s basketball team is on a mission.
For the presidency, orange has become the new black. For the Princeton men’s basketball team, however, black is the new orange. Following his eight years at the helm of the United States, President Barack Obama 'S85 announced in a surprise press conference that he would be playing guard for the Princeton men’s basketball team.
Fresh off of splitting their two game homestand, the Princeton men's basketball team is set to hit the road once more this weekend. They will travel down past the Mason-Dixie line, taking on Liberty University this Saturday afternoon.
A monumental sporting event is taking place in New York City this month. No, dear reader, I refer not to the start of the season for my beloved New York Knicks (though who couldn’t fall in love with the lovable Latvian string bean known as Kristaps Porzingis?). I’m actually talking about the World Chess Championships, hosted in the Big Apple, and it features two of the brightest stars of this generation, Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin.
Just six points across two games kept the Tigers from taking the Ivy League title outright, and a two-point loss to Harvard in the waning days of the season kept them from sharing the league title and a chance for a playoff game with Yale. This year, in the 2016-2017 season, the Princeton Men’s Basketball team hits the court as experienced and as hungry as the school has seen them in a long time.
On the right wall in Courtney Banghart’s office is a framed article: Fortune Magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders from 2015. There, her name and accomplishments are listed alongside people such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Banghart’s lead of the Princeton women’s basketball team to a 30-0 regular season, and the first NCAA win in the program’s history, earned her a continuous spotlight all season long.As a leader in the national spotlight, her abilities to guide her team are tested night in and night out. But this upcoming season could be one of the most unpredictable for her in many seasons. She is forced to handle not just a drastically changing roster but also a league continuously growing and evolving.In Banghart’s tenure as head coach, Princeton has enjoyed many a season as the Ivy League’s top team. Starting in 2007, with a team that would go just 7-23 on the season, she has seen five first place finishes in the Ivy League in the last seven years. This year, however, was not more of the same: The University of Pennsylvania Quakers, in two of the past three seasons, have beaten the Tigers to earn the top spot.True to character, however, Banghart could not seem to relish these newfound challenges more. Having been a part of the Ivy League basketball scene since 1996 as a player at Dartmouth, and an assistant coach at Dartmouth for four seasons before coming to Princeton, she has gotten to see the Ivy League grow deeper and deeper in talent.“The strength of the league, it’s gotten so much better, top to bottom… The days are gone of winning by 30, and I love it,” Banghart explained. “We can be really proud of the program, [and] the players that came here to build this thing. They’ve raised the level of the Ivy League.”She has not failed to respond to the challenges – despite losing the top spot in the Ivy League, the Tigers earned the first at-large bid to the tournament in Ivy League history. But next season poses far more questions than answers. Heading into the 2016-17 season, the Tigers lose five seniors, all of whom were large parts of Banghart’s rotation: forward Annie Tarakchian, forward Alex Wheatley, guard Michelle Miller, guard Amanda Berntsen and forward Taylor Williams.Their impact to the team cannot be understated – the seniors were five of the top six scorers for this team (with Miller, Wheatley and Tarakchian ranking 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively). Tarakchian, for her part, was one of the league’s top rebounders at 9.4 boards per game.Indeed, with these players leaving, and having lost last year’s star Blake Dietrick (2015 Ivy League player of the year), Banghart will enter this year lacking her core that has seen so many struggles together. Indeed, most of her team will be underclassmen next season.“It’s going to be different. We’re going to require some patience. How you gain experience is just by getting it,” Banghart explained. “We have to go into some battles, we have to feel that, respond to it and grow from it – regardless of the outcome.”With this in mind, the ability of the Class of 2020 to perform immediately becomes more important than ever. Forwards Bella Alarie, Taylor Baur, Sara Lewis and Jordan Stallworth – Banghart’s newest recruiting class – will have large shoes to fill. Notable is that all four are listed as forwards; Banghart hopes that bringing in players capable of scoring in the post will offset the losses of current Tigers such as Tarakchian, Wheatley and Williams.“It’s a very talented class, and we need them to be very good very quickly,” Banghart said.That being said, Banghart stressed that for her, the biggest challenge will be adjusting to the fact that her players are so new. Having grown so accustomed to players with a wealth of experience and savvy, getting herself to readjust could take time.“It’s going to be different. We’re going to require some patience. How you gain experience is just by getting it,” Banghart said. “We have to go into some battles, we have to feel that, respond to it and grow from it – regardless of the outcome.”“We’re going to be putting a lot of people in roles they haven’t had before,” Banghart said. “And that’s exciting, because I feel like I have a great staff, and I feel like they trust me, the kids, so they’ll need me to be their leader this year, and I’m ready to do that for them.”Banghart’s greatest asset (and indeed, what she looks for in her players) seems to be not just the ability but also the desire to take on new challenges. As the program faces uncertain times, it appears her primary focus in building this team has been to bring people that are able to take on and grow from the difficulties set before them.“If you’re recruiting to Princeton you have to understand is that what you’re looking for is kids that embrace the challenge. Kids that are looking for the easy route shouldn’t come here.”The League may change, the game plan may shift, but Banghart and her attitude remain the same: hungry, prepared and eager to battle.
As the season draws to a close, the Princeton softball team has put itself in excellent position as it look for its first bid to the NCAA tournament since the spring of 2008. They have put themselves atop the South Division within the Ivy League, going 3-1 on the road against Columbia on the weekend.
Fresh off of a difficult weekend on the road, the men’s tennis team will look to get back on track this Friday and Sunday, as they take on Columbia on the road and Cornell at the Lenz Tennis Center.
The most critical portion of the season has begun for the Princeton softball team: Ivy League play. Defending their home field against visiting rivals, the Tigers split their weekend games against Dartmouth and fell in both of their matches against Harvard.
We’re already well into the season for the baseball teams of the Ivy League. With league play just around the corner, we take a look at how teams across the Ancient 8 have positioned themselves so far in the standings.
Cornell Big Red(5-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy League): you can’t ask for a better start than perfection, especially for a team that is hungry for a tournament appearance after finishing third last year. Resounding wins against Yale and Columbia have certainly set a strong tone for the season. The Big Red certainly have their strong defense to thank – they’ve allowed a league low 6.4 goals per game to start the year.
It’s been a year full of amazing highs for the Tigers, but they were dealt a critical blow this weekend.
With spring fast approaching, it means the softball team will gear up for another run, and hunt for their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since the 2008 season.
With the conclusion of this weekend, the Tigers have now earned five straight wins. These last two, however, might just be the sweetest of them all.
With half of Ivy League play in the books, the men’s basketball team has set itself up for one of its most successful seasons in a long time.
After experiencing a season featuring tight wins and a trip to the NCAA tournament, the women’s water polo team will begin their quest for glory once more. This weekend, they will open the 2016 season at home as they take on California Baptist University, Villanova University, California Lutheran University and Iona College at the Princeton Invitational.
As league play reaches its midway point, the race for first place in women’s basketball is as tight as ever. While three teams are currently jockeying for first, the spot in the NCAA tournament could be nearly anyone’s game.
After a promising start to Ivy League play, the men’s basketball team finally gets the opportunity to bring the fight to their home court. After playing the first three intra-league games on the road, the Tigers will host the Harvard Crimson and Dartmouth Big Green in a Friday-Saturday double-header.
The men’s basketball season in the Ivy League is in the middle of its most exciting portion, as all the teams of the Ancient Eight continue to duke it out for a chance to go to the Big Dance in March. The race for the top remains competitive, with no one team able to break away from the pack.Yale Bulldogs (13-5 overall, 4-0 Ivy League)A roaring hot start to Ivy League play is certainly a great sight to behold for the men of New Haven. They’ve been clamping down on teams, leading the league in fewest points allowed at just a hair under 64. As they ride their current eight-game winning streak, they give thanks not just to perennial star Justin Sears but also to high-scoring Makai Mason in giving them the boost.Columbia Lions (15-6, 4-0)One of the surprises of the season, the Lions’ perfect start is a stark contrast to their 4-10 finish against their fellow Ivies last year. The second highest-scoring team in the league continues to live and die by the play of star forward Maodo Lo, who averages just under 16 points per game. Highly encouraging is their play on the road — three of their four league wins were in the gyms of their opponents.Princeton Tigers (12-5, 2-1)The Tigers stand where they’ve finished the last two years: third place. Despite having been dealt their first loss in league play against Yale, the Orange and Black have to be pleased with the players they’ve had step up throughout the year. Junior forward Henry Caruso and rookie forward Devin Cannady both continue to impress — the former having a breakout season and leading the team in scoring, the latter serving as an offensive dynamo off the bench.Cornell Big Red (9-9, 2-2)Standing in the middle of the league isn’t too shabby for a program continuing to make its climb back to relevance in the league. The Big Red stands in a solid fourth after finishing eighth and fifth in the league the past two seasons. The backcourt duo of Robert Hatter and Matt Morgan are keeping this team in the thick of things, as they rank first and second in the league’s scoring leader.Harvard Crimson (9-11, 1-3)With the loss of Wesley Saunders due to graduation and Siyani Chambers due to injury, the Crimson knew the battle was to be uphill all season. Junior forward Zena Edosomwan has stepped up and is the only player in the league to average a double-double (14.2 points, 10.5 rebounds).Dartmouth Big Green (7-11, 1-3)It’s defensively been one of the poorer teams in the league so far, ranking sixth in points allowed and last in blocks per game. The Big Green did not help its case by giving up 77 points in both of its most recent losses against Cornell and Columbia. The strong play of Evan Beaudreaux alone, who just put up a dominating effort against Cornell with 24 points and 16 boards, won’t be enough to lift this team to higher ground.Brown Bears (6-12, 1-3)While they snapped the 0-3 start to league play with the victory against bottom-dweller Penn, the Bears will have to make some changes if they want to avoid finishing joint last once again in the league. Big man Cedric Kuakumensah swats shots away well, but he’ll need more help to lift a team currently dead last in points allowed per game.Penn Quakers (6-11, 0-3)Like Brown, a repeat season at the bottom of the league could be in the Quakers’ future if they don’t right the ship as soon as possible. Finding the net itself has been a struggle all year — they’re second to last in both shooting percentage and points per game. It’s the exact dilemma they found themselves in last year, when they finished dead last in PPG as well.