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Dartmouth Dubbed Preseason Women's Hoops Favorite

Monday, November 09, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Coming off an impressive run of 16 wins in its last 18 regular-season games en route to its 17th Ivy League title last season, Dartmouth was voted the 2009-10 Ivy women's basketball preseason favorite to capture its third-straight Ivy crown and fifth in the last six years.

Dartmouth (18-11, 13-1 Ivy in 2008-09) received 11 of the 16 first-place votes, earning 123 points, from a panel comprised of Ivy media and women's basketball sports information directors. The Big Green's 2009-10 success will depend heavily on junior forward Brittney Smith, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, who finished her second Ivy season among the League's top five leaders in points, rebounds and blocks. While Smith may be the focal point, it will be the veterans -- junior guard Megan McFee, senior guard Betsy Williams and Brittney's older sister, senior guard/forward Margaret Smith -- who will be the catalysts to bring the Big Green its 18th Ivy title.

Harvard (19-10 overall, 11-3 Ivy) garnered second place with 115 points and the remaining five first-place votes. The Crimson comes into its 2009-10 campaign fresh off its seventh postseason appearance in the last 14 seasons. Returning for Harvard are two of its top three scorers in sophomore guard Brogan Berry, the reigning Rookie of the Year, and junior forward Emma Markley. Berry led the Ancient Eight in three-point shooting at 41.1 percent and was ninth in scoring (11.7 ppg). A second-team All-Ivy selection a year ago, Markley led the League in blocks (1.6 bpg) and was fifth in scoring (14.0 ppg) and sixth (7.0 rpg) in rebounding.

Princeton (14-14, 9-5) and Columbia (13-15, 6-8) look to challenge Dartmouth and Harvard for a place among the Ivy elite with both deep squads filled with talent.

Finishing third in the poll with 86 points, Princeton returns its talented sophomore duo of center Devona Allgood and guard/forward Lauren Edwards. Both earned Ivy Rookie Team honors last season, logging quality playing time for the Tigers. Along with sharp-shooting junior guard Addie Micir, Princeton's three-way attack should prove potent offensively throughout the season.

Columbia, selected fourth with 83 points, will feature one of the nation's most lethal double-double threats in junior forward Judie Lomax. Lomax made her mark on the Ivy record books in her first season with the Lions, becoming just the second person in League history to pull down over 400 rebounds in a single season. The Lions also return the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, senior guard Sara Yee, along with key contributors in senior guard Danielle Browne and junior center Lauren Dwyer.

Cornell and Yale tied for fifth in the poll with 57 points, followed by Penn with 36 and Brown with 19 to round out the rankings.

Once again Yale returns senior guard forward Melissa Colborne, the League's top returning scorer at 15.6 points per game, while Cornell will look to its two top returning scorers, senior guards Lauren Benson and Allie Fedorowicz, to lead the Big Red this season.

Penn will be looking to two senior guards as well, Sarah Bucar and Caitlin Slover, for leadership under the direction of first-year head coach Michael McLaughlin. McLaughlin comes to the Quakers after a very successful 14-year tenure at his alma mater, Division II Holy Family.

Brown will be relying on depth at the guard position in senior Courtney Lee, junior Sadiea Williams and sophomore Hannah Passafuime to guide the Bears to more successful campaign for the 2009-10 season.

First-Place Votes in Parentheses

1.Dartmouth (11)123
2. Harvard (5)115