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Around the Ivies: Women's basketball

The Ivy season starts at the beginning of reading period, but Ancient Eight teams still have plenty of games left before they begin to play each other. A week before they head off on a break that will be full of basketball, here’s how the Ivy League women’s basketball teams stack up:

1. Princeton (4-4): The Tigers will look to surmount the .500 mark for the first time since mid-November on Wednesday, when they visit Binghamton. Despite a mediocre record, the Tigers lead the league in field goal percentage and are second in scoring offense. They occupy the same spots in defensive rebounding and seem to have been improving their defense after a 73-57 win over Navy.

2. Harvard (7-3): The Crimson’s offense is certifiably high-powered this season, putting up over 77 points per game, good for best in the league. Senior guard Christine Clark is a big part of that, averaging 19.4 points per game, the highest mark in the league. After a six-game winning streak, Harvard is now 1-2 in its last three games.

3. Penn (3-2): After two losses and nothing else in November, the Quakers have won three games to start their December off right. A middle-of-the-road offense that has only hit 70 points once so far is complemented by the best scoring defense in the Ancient Eight, something that looks like it will keep Penn in contention deep into the Ivy season.

4. Brown (5-4): The Bears are the best team in the league from three-point land, shooting 43.1 percent from beyond the arc as a team. Sophie Bikofsky leads the Bears in that category, sinking 58.1 of her three-point attempts and averaging 16.2 points per game. Brown consistently puts up 60-70 points a game, with the exception of an offense explosion in its 92-53 rout of UMBC.

5. Cornell (5-4): Led by Allyson DiMagno, a strong preseason candidate for Ivy League Player of the Year, the Big Red has put up a good fight in each of its games this year, except a blowout loss to Syracuse. The secret to the success Cornell has had so far seems to be ball control: the Big Red has the most steals in the Ivy League and is tied for fourth in turnovers.

6. Yale (4-5): Yale’s strength is in rebounding — the Bulldogs average 16.7 offensive boards per game (best in the league) and 25.2 defensive rebounds. The aptly named Meredith Boardman leads Yale in that regard with nearly eight boards per game, third-best in the league. The Bulldogs will host Georgetown and St. Peter’s before a four-game road trip that will end with their first game of the Ivy season.

7. Dartmouth (1-6): Already struggling, the Big Green has hit an especially rough patch since the start of December, putting up very few points in each of its three losses and setting a season-low with 37 against New Hampshire. Dartmouth’s prospects are not great this season, but there may be hope for future Big Green squads in Hungarian sensation Fanni Szabo, who leads the team with 18.3 points per game.

8. Columbia (1-9): The Lions started their season with a win on Nov. 8, and it’s been nothing but bad news since. They have failed to score 50 or more points in three of their last five games. The Lions are at or near the bottom in most categories but do rank second in the league in offensive rebounds although this might be a result of their low field goal percentage giving them more opportunities for offensive boards.

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