Victory has finally come to the women hoopsters, and to quote Jackie Gleason, "How Sweet It Is!!"
With relative ease, the Crimson dispatched Holy Cross, 67-57, and broke a four-game losing streak to notch their first win of the season.
The game itself was not that different from the cagers' other contests this season. Harvard continues to vacillate between brillant and horribly erratic play, a pattern which has become, oddly enough, the most consistent thing about this team.
Hungry for a win, the hoopsters came out on to the floor keyed up and ready. Seven minutes into the first quarter they led, 17-8, and it looked like a rout was underway. The staunch Crusaders refused to buckle, however, and with unerring patience Holy Cross's big gun Mary Ann Palazzi and hook shot specialist began to chip away at Harvard's lead, drawing to within one point and then moving ahead with four minutes left in the half.
Holy Cross, an otherwise unremarkable team, stood heads above the Crimson when it came to passing. The Crusaders kept the ball moving constantly down in Harvard's end, leaving the hoopsters flat-footed and unable to block their opponents' drives to the basket. The Crusaders used screening effectively too and had plenty of time to get their shots off.
After a Crimson time out, Coach Carole Kleinfelder sent her squad back out in a full court press. The hoopsters started moving well, picking off Holy Cross passes, and with some inspired shooting from center Elaine Holpuch established a 31-26 halftime lead.
One More Time
The second half was an instant replay of the first. The Crimson started out hot, with point guard Nancy Boutilier and forward Marget Long sharing the spotlight as they took turns peppering the nets with outside jump shots. After six minutes it was 39-28 Harvard, and the frightened Crusaders left the court for a group confession.
Absolved of past errors, the invigorated Crusader press forced a mass of Harvard turnovers and pulled within three.
As both squads began to tire, the buckets passed back and forth regularly amidst erratic passing, fast breaks, and numerous Holy Cross personal fouls. Harvard sent in a whole new line, and the appearance of Pat Horne, Janet Judge, Rose Guarino and Kate Martin brought fresh energy to the weary hoopsters.
Playing superlative defense, Horne also managed to draw repeated fouls from Holy Cross and capitalized on them, gunning in ten points--six from the line--and grabbing ten rebounds before the night was through. Shooting from the dead center of the Crusader zone, Martin sunk nine points in about three minutes.
The biggest personal triumph had to be Holpuch's, though. Harvard's less-than-confident center turned it all around last night, racking up 19 points with 10 rebounds for her steadiest game of the season.
Holy Cross, coming into the contest with a 5-2 record, walked away stunned when it was all over, but Harvard fans were not surprised:
"They're fast, they're young, and they're hungry" boasted spectator Chuck Marshall '81, adding, "Those first four losses have to be put down to inexperience. This is one of the fastest rising teams around."