October 20, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Breaking down the preseason top three Ivy League teams

Lions and Tigers and Crimson, oh my!

In the latest episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball, host Natalie Heavren talks with The Next‘s Ivy League beat reporter, Jenn Hatfield, about the Ivy League. In particular, they break down the top three teams in the conference’s preseason poll: Princeton, Columbia and Harvard.

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Princeton was the unanimous favorite in the preseason poll, receiving all 16 first-place votes. Jenn explains why the Tigers got that nod despite graduating five seniors from last season:

“I think part of it is, honestly, they win every year lately. The last time they didn’t win a share of the Ivy League title was back in 2016-17. So they’ve been doing it for a while. But beyond that, they return all of their major award winners. They return the reigning Player of the Year in Kaitlyn Chen, the reigning co-Defensive Player of the Year in Ellie Mitchell and the reigning Rookie of the Year in Madison St. Rose. So that’s a pretty good Big Three to have. And I think that combined with their track record makes them a fairly easy choice for No. 1 in the preseason, even with as good as the top of this league is.”

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Columbia, which tied with Princeton for the regular-season championship last season, also graduated a lot. But the Lions return star guard Abbey Hsu, who played for Team USA at the FIBA AmeriCup this summer. Jenn explains how that experience will help Hsu, whom she says is “possibly the best player in program history”:

“It’s huge for Abbey, not so much because she added some skill to her game that she didn’t have before … but I think more from an intangibles perspective. She’s super humble, and I think making that team … just gives her the confidence that, yeah, I really am this good, which is something that head coach Megan Griffith says to her all the time … She can have a little more of that swagger, knowing that she’s been on the biggest stage representing her country. And she really tried to soak up that entire experience and just bring it back, so there should be a little trickle-down effect to her teammates as well.”

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