PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 33rd season of Ivy League women's basketball kicks off over the weekend, as all eight teams will open their 2011-12 campaigns. Five squads will be in action on Friday, Nov. 11, including two-time defending champion and preseason favorite Princeton.
The Tigers are 27-1 in League play the past two seasons, including a 13-1 mark in 2010-11. The team returns four starters from last year's 24-5 squad, including first-team All-Ivy selections Devona Allgood and Lauren Edwards and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Polansky, as well as 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Niveen Rasheed, who missed last year's conference slate due to injury.
Harvard (18-10, 10-4 Ivy League) handed Princeton its only Ivy loss last year and looks to compete for the League title in 2011-12. Both senior guard Brogan Berry and junior guard Victoria Lippert are back; they averaged 13.9 and 13.5 points per game to earn first-team and second-team All-Ivy honors, respectively. The team will have to replace leading rebounder Emma Markley.
Yale (14-14, 10-4 Ivy) tied with Harvard for second in the League but thanks to a sweep of the Crimson, the Bulldogs earned the conference's automatic bid to the WNIT, where they fell to Boston College, 85-61. Four starters return, including junior guard Megan Vasquez, who was named first-team All-Ivy after averaging 13.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season.
Penn (11-17, 5-9 Ivy) welcomes back senior forward and defensive stalwart Jess Knapp, who finished fourth in the Ivy League with 38 blocks and sixth in rebounding (6.6 per game), and Rookie of the Year Alyssa Baron, who led the League in scoring with 16.6 points per contest. Junior guard Sheila Dixon returns for Brown (10-18, 6-8 Ivy); she recorded 11.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest and was named second-team All-Ivy.
Columbia will look to sophomore guard Brianna Orlich to improve from her 2010-11 campaign, where she averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds and was named to the League's Rookie Team. Dartmouth expects junior guard Faziah Steen to pick up where she left off from a solid sophomore campaign that saw her earn second-team All-Ivy honors after posting 12.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Cornell hopes to rebound from a tough 2010-11 campaign in which the Big Red dropped all of its 14 road games. Junior forward Clare Fitzpatrick was named honorable mention All-Ivy after leading the team in scoring with 11.4 points.
Friday, November 11
Vermont at Columbia, 12 pm
Holy Cross at Yale, 7 pm
Cornell at William & Mary, 7 pm
Saint Joseph's at Princeton, 7 pm
1-New Hampshire at Brown 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 12
2-Harvard at Iowa, 7 pm
Dartmouth at Kansas State, 8 pm
Sunday, November 13
2-Harvard at Hawkeye Challenge,1 pm
Brown at NJIT, 2 pm
Cornell at Longwood, 2 pm
St. Francis (N.Y.) at Penn, 2 pm
1-Pizzitola Sports Center (Providence, R.I.)
2-Hawkeye Challenge (Iowa City, Iowa)