Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Returning all five starters, including 2009-10 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Niveen Rasheed, and coming off arguable the most successful season in Ivy League history, the Princeton Tigers were voted the 2010-11 Ivy women's basketball preseason favorite to repeat as League champion.
Voted on by a panel of Ivy media and women's basketball sports information directors, Princeton received 16 of 17 first-place votes and 135 points. The Tigers went 26-3 overall and a perfect 14-0 in Ivy play, earning the League's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Princeton led 11 of 19 Ivy statistical categories, including scoring offense (70.7 ppg) and scoring defense (52.4 ppg).
Key to Princeton's repeat success in 2010-11 will be the 10 returning letterwinners, including all five starters in sophomore forward Rasheed, junior guard Lauren Edwards, junior center Devona Allgood, senior guard Addie Micir and sophomore guard Lauren Polansky. Rasheed, the Ivy Rookie of the Year, was also a first team All-Ivy selection along with Edwards while Allgood and Micir earned second team honors. Rasheed also ranked second among all Ivy players with 15.4 ppg and third with 8.8 rpg.
The team most likely to give Princeton a run at the Ivy title is Harvard (20-9, 11-3 Ivy in 2009-10), picked second in the preseason poll with one first-place vote and 115 points. The Crimson also return five starters from last year's NIT qualifying squad. Senior forward Emma Markley was a first team All-Ivy pick while junior guard Brogan Berry and sophomore guard Victoria Lippert were second team selections. Markley and Berry make for a solid returning duo as the former averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and a League-best 2.7 rebounds per game while the latter led the League in assists (5.8 per game) and free throw percentage (83.8%, 83-for-99).
Dartmouth (11-17, 6-8 Ivy) finished third in the poll with 96 points followed closely by Yale (13-15, 8-6 Ivy) in fourth with 84 points.
The Big Green welcome back 2009-10 first team All-Ivy selection Brittney Smith and All-Rookie selection Faziah Steen among its nine returning letterwinners. Smith averaged a double-double during her junior season (12.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg) while Steen chipped in 9.4 ppg and was one of the League's best perimeter defenders, collecting 1.9 spg.
The backcourt duo of senior Megan Vasquez and sophomore Yoyo Greenfield headline the seven returning letterwinners for the Bulldogs. Vasquez, an All-Rookie selection who averaged 11.5 ppg, was one of just two Ivy freshmen to lead her team in scoring. Junior forward Michelle Cashen also returns to the court after averaging 8.5 points and a team-best 6.9 rebounds per game last year.
Columbia (18-10, 9-5 Ivy) earned 73 points and fifth place in the poll, followed by Brown (8-20, 5-9 Ivy) in sixth with 50 points and Cornell (7-20, 2-12 Ivy) in seventh with 39 points. Penn (2-26, 1-13 Ivy) rounds out the rankings with 19 points.
Following the departure of all-everything Judie Lomax, the Lions will look for others to step up and fill the void left by their leading scorer and rebounder. Junior guard Kathleen Barry will be one of the keys to that transition after averaging 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds and earning All-Ivy honorable mention honors in 2009-10. Another key returner is senior center Lauren Dwyer (10 ppg, 4.6 rpg) who will be looked to for more production in the paint.
Brown returns its top scorer in the form of sophomore guard Hannah Passafuime. The All-Ivy honorable mention selection averaged 9.3 ppg while chipping in 38 assists and 27 steals. Featuring just one senior in 2010-11, the Bears will look to its underclassmen to step up into key roles.
Another team with just one senior, and one junior, is Cornell. The Big Red roster features four sophomores and six freshmen, including 2009-10 All-Rookie selection Clare Fitzpatrick. The sophomore guard averaged 8.7 points and a team-best 5.1 rebounds per game last year.
Penn second-year head coach Mike McLaughlin has a rebuilding process in front of him after managing just two wins in his inaugural campaign. But if his career record is any indication (409-76), McLaughlin will look to begin turning the tide with seven returners and six freshmen. Junior forward Jess Knapp (6.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and senior center Caroline Nicholson (3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg) represent the Quakers' returning starters.
2010-11 IVY LEAGUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
First-Place Votes in Parentheses