Women’s basketball continues to look commanding, while the men’s team stays in contention.
The women remain the undisputed powerhouse of the Ivy League, having defeated all seven other teams as of Feb. 25 (they play each team twice during the regular season). The team’s margins of victory have been jaw-dropping: The Tigers topped Columbia by 62 points, Yale by 46 points, and Cornell by 31 points. They scored decisive wins over traditional powerhouses Dartmouth (77–65) and Harvard (67–51), and their victory over Cornell Feb. 23 set a new Ivy record for consecutive conference wins.
The Tigers have gone to the NCAA Tournament for the last three years and have lost in the first round each time. But this year’s team has greater depth, which may enable it to finally secure an NCAA victory. Less experienced players — such as guards Blake Dietrick ’15 and Mariah Smith ’15 — have come into their own as they get more playing time, thanks to easy victories.
“I think this is our best team since I’ve been here,” head coach Courtney Banghart said.
Men’s basketball had seven league victories as of Feb. 25, but couldn’t muscle past Yale (69–65) at home or Harvard (69–57) in Cambridge. The team bounced back from those losses with decisive road wins over Columbia (65–40) and Cornell (72–53).
The Tigers had worked out early-season kinks by the beginning of league play, winning six straight games before their loss to Yale. Harvard had shown signs of weakness, but the Crimson brought its best game when it mattered most. The Tigers stayed close during a back-and-forth first half, but struggled to make close-range shots against standout Harvard center Kenyatta Smith.
Forward Denton Koon ’15 has been a key part of the Tigers’ victories. Playing far more minutes this season than last, he has scored in the double digits in nine of the last 10 games. He did not miss a beat after the Harvard loss, putting up a career-high 23 points against Columbia Feb. 22.
There has not been a dominant team in the league so far, so the Tigers still are in the running. “The league’s been so crazy this year — anyone can beat anyone,” point guard T.J. Bray ’14 said. “There are no easy games.”