The spirit of '76 reappeared in the IAB this weekend as the Crimson women cagers reversed their three-game losing streak by defeating Keene State College and William College by scores of 76-46 and 76-62, respectively.
"We have to win our two games this weekend to turn the momentum around," counseled Crimson coach Carole Kleinfelder, and her obedient squad did just that, boosting its record to 4-8 in a display of some of the best basketball the women have played this season.
In Friday night's contest against an inexperienced Keene State team (1-0 on the year), Crimson starters Stacie McMahon, Dorris Woolery, Nancy Boutillier, Ann Scannell and co-captain Wendy Carle (substituting for the injured Caryn Curry) ran a strong offense to build up a 30-point lead by halftime, a lead the cagers never relinquished.
The contest revealed a Crimson team with recovered confidence, sharpened shooting and a reorganized bench. The victory was as much a product of inspired play by the regular starters as of fine performances by the squad's new faces.
Kleinfelder moved sophomores Kim Belshe and Gillian Raney and freshman Kate Martin up from the J.V. for the game, and the trio really looked impressive as they swished in sideshots, grabbed rebounds and played with the poise and consistency of seasoned veterans. "My J.V. players were really strong tonight, and I think they deserve a chance to play more," Kleinfelder said.
Spunky freshman guard Pat Horne, nicknamed "Magic" by the Harvard fans for her flashy moves on the court, drove through a timid Keene State defense, displaying real initiative and aggressive offensive play.
Despite a stand-out performance by Keene State captain Karen Brodeur, who rose above the tough Harvard zone defense with an eccentric frog-kick jump for a game-high 21 points, the New Hampshire squad suffered from turnovers, lack of rebounding and unrelenting pressure from the Harvard defense.
The cagers continued their high level of play in Saturday's contest, despite the absence of three regular starters: the injured Curry, flu-ridden Frenesa Hall, and Woolery, who suffered a knee injury in the pre-game warmups.
Saturday's contest against Williams was a better, closer game. Both teams used strong zone defenses, forcing outside shots and cautious ball-handling. Harvard got the edge with expert pace-setting and play-making by the point-guard duo of Scannell and McMahon. The pair ran its plays like clockwork, passing back and forth, feeding to an open Elaine Holpuch beneath the basket, and hitting long outside shots.
A determined Williams team managed to keep the game close, trailing by only a few baskets for most of the game. Strong performances from Williams' Dancewicz twins, distinguishable only by the different numbers on their backs, kept the game from becoming a Harvard runaway.
Goold Ol' Days
The story of the afternoon, though, was 6-ft. 1-in. Crimson center Holpuch, playing like old times. After a rocky season plagued by concentration and confidence problems, Holpuch walked off the court to a cheering crowd with a game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Said a beaming Holpuch after the game, "I finally got it all together."