Courtney Banghart recently wrapped up her seventh season as head coach of the Princeton women’s basketball team. She has turned the program into a dominating force in the Ivy League and in the region, bringing the national spotlight on the Tigers.
Inheriting a team that had never played in the NCAA tournament, Banghart has led the squad there in four of the last five years, and the No. 11, 12, 9 and 9 seeds that she has taken Princeton into the tournament with are the four best in Ivy League history. She has also been on eight of the last 16 teams to win the Ivy League championship, with two as a player at Dartmouth, two as an assistant coach for the Big Green and four as the head coach at Princeton.
Last season, Banghart helped guide the Tigers to their fifth-straight 20-win season. Despite falling to the University of Pennsylvania on the last day of the regular season, Princeton earned its fifth-consecutive (sixth overall) postseason bid, eventually advancing to the second round of the WNIT.
Led by first-team All-Ivy selection Blake Dietrick, second-team performer Kristen Helmstetter and honorable mention selection Alex Wheatley, the Tigers ranked amongst the league's leaders in several team categories. Topping the conference charts in scoring offense (75.7 ppg), scoring margin (+11.6), field goal percentage (.474), assists (16.1) and rebounding margin (+9.4), Princeton finished second in the Ivy in field goal percentage defense (.377), three-point shooting (.366), three-point defense (.310) and blocks (4.0) and third in scoring defense (64.1).
Back in 2012-13 the Orange and Black earned an NCAA tournament berth after winning its fourth-consecutive outright Ivy League title, the first time any school has accomplished that since the league went to the double round-robin format back in 1982-83. The Tigers (22-7, 13-1 Ivy) were also the first-ever Ivy program to advance to the NCAA tournament in four-successive years.
For the third-straight season, Banghart coached the unamious Ivy League Player of the Year (Addie Micir in 2011, Niveen Rasheed, 2012, 2013). Princeton also had Lauren Polansky pick up an unprecedented third-consecutive Ivy Defensive Player of the Year award. Rasheed was also a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection, while Megan Bowen and Kristen Helmstetter were named to the second team in their first years as full-time starters. The 2012-13 season also marked a personal milestone season for Banghart, as she won her 100th career game as Tiger head coach.
In 2011-12 Princeton was the first-ever Ivy women’s program to earn a national ranking. The Tigers finished the year ranked No. 24 in the AP Top 25 Poll, in addition to remaining in the top-5 all season in the Collegeinsider.com Mid Major Poll. Princeton went 24-5 on the year and won the 2012 Ivy League Championship for the third consecutive season behind its second perfect 14-0 Ivy record in three years. The Tigers earned a No. 9 seed, the highest seed ever for an Ivy program, into the NCAA Tournament, but fell in the first round to Kansas State, who lost in the second round to Final Four participant UConn. Entering the NCAA Tournament, Princeton was riding a 17-game winning streak and the Tigers were the only DI men’s or women’s team to defeat all conference opponents by double figures.
Niveen Rasheed '13 catapulted into the spotlight after missing much of the previous season due to injury, earning unanimous Ivy Player of the Year and All-Ivy First Team honors. She was also named a Full Court Mid-Major First Team All-America, ECAC First Team All-Star and a Net Scout All-America Honorable Mention. Lauren Polansky ’13 was named Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, while senior Lauren Edwards ’12 was named a Lowe’s Senior Class Award Second Team All-American and a unanimous selection for All-Ivy First Team. Devona Allgood ’12 earned her third consecutive All-Ivy recognition, being named to the second team. Banghart also earned national recognition, being named to the USBWA Coach of the Year Watch List.
In 2010-11, the Tigers once again dominated the Ivy League going 13-1 to be crowned champion for the second consecutive season. Princeton posted a 24-5 overall record, and earned the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament and faced Georgetown in the first round, falling to the eventual Sweet 16 program. Addie Micir ‘11 was named the unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year, the first time a Tiger has captured the award. In addition, Lauren Polansky ‘13 was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week. Three players were named first-team All-Ivy League, marking the first time in history Princeton had three first-team players in a single season. The 2010-11 program had 13 wins at home, a program record, and led the league in nine of 12 statistical categories, including: scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, three-point field goal percentage, rebounding margin, blocked shots, assists, and turnover margin. In addition, the Tigers are currently riding a 22-game home winning streak, the eighth longest home court winning streak in the NCAA.
The 2009-10 squad finished the season with a 26-3 overall record and a perfect 14-0 mark in the Ivy League to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The team set numerous records during the year including: most wins in a season (26), winning 25 of those 26 games by double figures, most road victories (14), longest win streak (21), longest home win streak (9), fewest losses (3), best win percentage (.897), most conference wins (14), most points (2051), highest scoring average (70.7), ranking sixth in the nation in scoring defense and fifth in scoring margin.
Going 14-0 in the Ivy League has happened just three other times, but the Tigers can boast that they won all 14 games by 11 or more points. Princeton also received the highest seed in the NCAA Tournament by an Ivy League team grabbing the No. 11 seed and also received the most votes by an Ivy team in the national poll. The Tigers recorded the program’s first 4-0 sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard and earned five All-Ivy League honors, the most received by the Tigers in a season. Freshman Niveen Rasheed became just the second Princeton player to be named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, after she won nine Rookie of the Week honors during the season.
The 2008-09 team was predicted to finish seventh in the Ivy League, but Tigers closed out the season in third place with a 9-5 Ivy League record. It marked the second time in 10 years that the team finished with a league record of over .500, with those five losses being by a combined 20 points. Princeton finished its season 14-14 overall, with 11 of those losses to teams that made the postseason. The Tigers swept four Ivy League teams, finished second in the league in scoring defense, led the league in blocks and assists, and had three players named All-Ivy.
Bangart’s first recruiting class ranked No. 74 in the All-Star Girls Report, including a player that ranked No. 41 in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100. Two of those freshmen were on the five-member Ivy League All-Rookie team.
Prior to coming to Princeton, Banghart spent four years as an assistant coach at her alma mater Dartmouth College, from 2003-07.
In her four seasons as an assistant coach under longtime Big Green mentor Chris Wielgus, Banghart helped Dartmouth to two Ivy League Championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006. The Big Green had an overall record of 70-44 in those four seasons and was 41-15 in Ivy League play.
She has coached two Ivy League Player of the Year recipients, one Rookie of the Year, one Defensive Player of the Year, as well as nine first-team all-Ivy picks, six second-team selections, and five honorable mention players. She also helped to recruit five players that made it on the Ivy League all-rookie team.
As both a coach and a player, Banghart was made six trips to the NCAA Tournament, one trip to the preseason WNIT and two trips to the postseason WNIT.
Banghart was four-year letterwinner for the Big Green, from 1996-2000. A three-year starter, she was an integral part of two Ivy League Championship teams in her junior and senior years. She was named first-team all-Ivy League in 1999 and 2000, and was a member of the all-Ivy League rookie team in 1997.
Banghart owned the arc at Dartmouth, sinking a program record 273 career three-pointers. She still holds the record for triples in a season with 97, which earned her the Ed Seitz Award, as the best three-point shooter in Division I women’s basketball in 1999. Her personal best was eight three-pointers in one game. Banghart showed her skill, as one of eight participants that were invited to compete in the NCAA 3-Point/Slam Dunk contest televised on ESPN.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience in 2000, and a master’s degree in writing and leadership development in 2007.
Between her stints at Dartmouth, Banghart worked at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. She was head coach of both the girls’ basketball and tennis teams, guiding each to league championships, and was also the girls’ athletic director.
A native of Amherst, N.H., Banghart is the ninth head coach in Princeton women’s basketball history as the program.
She has been inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the Dartmouth College Hall of Fame. She was also named the 2010 New Jersey Sports Writers Association Women’s College Coach of the Year.
THE BANGHART BRIEF
Birthplace: Manchester, N.H.
Hometown: Amherst, N.H.
Family: Parents- Jim and Anne; Siblings- Jen and JB
College: Dartmouth College
Bachelors: Psychology, 2000
Masters: Writing and Leadership Development, 2007
Head Coach: Princeton University (2007-present)
Assistant Coach: Dartmouth College (2003-07)
Ivy League Championships (Head Coach): 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Ivy League Championships (Assistant Coach): 2005, 2006
Ivy League Championships (Player): 1999, 2000
First-Team All-Ivy League: 1999, 2000
Ed Seitz Award (DI Best 3-Point Shooter): 1999
NCAA Tournaments: 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
New England Basketball Hall of Fame: 2006
Dartmouth College Hall of Fame: 2004
New Jersey Sports Writers Association Women's College Coach of the Year: 2010
USWBA Coach of the Year Watch List: 2012
College Sports Madness Preseason All-Mid Major Coach of the Year: 2012
College Sports Madness Preseason Ivy League Coach of the Year: 2012
Coaching at Princeton
“I cannot imagine my college career playing for anyone other than Coach Banghart. Her first hand experience playing at Dartmouth gives her a unique understanding of the life of a student-athlete in the Ivy League and enables her to not only impart extensive insight on the court, but to act as a mentor to her players off the court as well. Coach Banghart’s unyielding passion for the game, unparalleled competitive nature, and sincere caring and devotion to her players was a constant source of inspiration for us to play harder, be a better teammate, and to constantly go the extra mile. I will be forever grateful to Coach Banghart for surrounding me with such talented and amazing people and for acting as our constantly selfless and inspirational leader.” - Lauren Polansky '13
"Coach Banghart exemplifies everything you hope for in a college coach. She is a competitor that does not settle for anything except the best. She truly understands how make her players reach their true potential by challenging us each and everyday. Her uncanny ability to consistently surround herself with a great compilation of coaches and players has led to the transformation of this program into one that is nationally respected. I took a chance on Princeton because of the fact I had faith in Coach Banghart’s plan. In the next four years she accomplished more than I could have ever imagined, which will later go down in Ivy League history. It was an honor to play under Coach Banghart, and I will always cherish the bond we created in those four years." - Niveen Rasheed '13
"Not many people can accomplish what Coach Banghart has achieved in the just five years. The transformation of the women's basketball program at Princeton from a 7th place finish in the Ivy League to three consecutive outright titles and NCAA appearances, and a top 25 ranking, is a direct consequence of the work ethic, buy in, and intellect of coach Banghart. She has been an incredible leader who is relentless in achieving greatness, while bringing out the best in her players along the way. Her unwavering support and dedication to the team is why the program is where it is today. There is a reason she is highly respected among the residents, faculty, and students in the Princeton community. People appreciate and praise what she has brought to Princeton. Her influence reaches far beyond the court in Jadwin, as she has made all of her players better, stronger, and more motivated people. She never settles when it comes to us- expecting more of us than just good plays and showing up. She demands and enables us to constantly exude excellence, a positive attitude, promptness, selflessness, gratefulness, and politeness. It has been a joy to play for Coach Banghart for four years. She has provided me with an unforgettable experience, and I cannot thank her enough for teaching me, pushing me, and believing in me. " - Lauren Edwards '12
"Coach Banghart has truly rejuvenated my dream to enter the college coaching profession. As a player under Coach Banghart, I got to experience first hand how powerfully a coach can impact a player. My senior year at Princeton, Coach Banghart's first year at the helm, I looked forward to going to practice every single day because I knew I was going to be put in positions to be successful . Don't get me wrong, playing for Coach Banghart wasn't all brownies and fairies. She demanded excellence from me, and she pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of on the basketball court. The reason I embraced these high expectations on a daily basis was because I knew that Coach Banghart believed in me. You can't fake sincerity, and this was the real deal. The respect she showed me and my teammates was never compromised or dependent our performance the week, day, or second before. If I influence one player even half as much as Coach Banghart influenced me, I will consider my career a success. She just gets it." - Alison Prichard '08
1. What’s you favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy
2. What’s your favorite movie: Can’t Buy Me Love
3. What’s your favorite book: Anything non-fiction
4. What’s your favorite holiday and why: Thanksgiving. There’s something right about a day of
5. What was a fad you were involved in during high school that many would be surprised to learn: I’m always the last one to find out about fads.
6. How do you spend your free time: Traveling.
7. If you could be on any reality show, what would it be and why: Amazing Race with my brother - we’d win.
8. What’s your favorite restaurant: Theresa's in Princeton
9. What’s your go-to junk food: Chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
10. What’s your favorite quote: “Go Tigers.”
11. What’s your most memorable experience as a college basketball player: There are many, but probably the most memorable was in the locker room after my last game, which was a loss in the last possession to defending national champion Purdue, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions: crushed about the loss, disappointed- we should have beaten them, proud of all we had done over four years, sad that my career had come to an end, and thankful for the entire collegiate basketball experience.
12. What are your pregame rituals: Blow a kiss to the sky at the end of the National Anthem, for all those that have changed my life and watch over me.
13. What’s your most memorable experience as a head coach: Anytime I see my team. I know how lucky I am.
14. What’s your most embarrassing college basketball moment: Even after repeated reminders, I forgot my ID for our first plane trip of the year my junior year. Luckily I had a media guide and thankfully it was before 9/11.
15. What was the best coaching advice you ever received: “Success is peace of mind that your players are getting the best of what you have, always.” That and, “Leaders can aim to be uniformly liked- but in doing so, they will be respected by few. A good coach hopes the basketball experience has made his/her players better on and off the court, no matter how hard the journey.”
16. What’s your favorite road trip of the season and why: Any one where we win two games.
|Alma Mater:||Dartmouth '00|