It's about now that all those heroic New Year's resolutions get tested. Making the resolutions, that was the easy part. A little soft lighting, a couple of glasses of Moet et Cjandon, and anything seems possible. "I'm gonna stop smoking, drinking, swearing... and, I'll never again say anything nasty when a kind word will do." Right. Now comes the hard part.
The 2-7 Harvard women's basketball team has made a resolution--it's going to start winning games.
"We've put the first part of the season behind us," guard Nancy Boutilier said. "It's been frustrating so far because we've been really good in streaks but we have been inconsistent--now we're going to put it all together."
Tonight at 7:30 in the IAB, in the Crimson's first game of 1981, a highly touted team from Villanova will do its best to turn that resolution sour. Not that a loss to the Wildcats would kill Harvard's season completely--the Crimson still has only one Ivy League loss--but as Boutilier said, "winning this one would be a great way to start the new year."
But stopping Villanova means stopping one of the tallest players in women's college basketball, 6-ft., 4-in., Lisa Ortlip. As would be expected, Ortlip leads her team in rebounds, averaging 9.2 per game. She is also the Wildcats' leading scorer, sinking 17 points a game. Last year Ortlip was voted most valuable player in the Big Five league, and she is likely to repeat as MVP this year.
"Lisa is one of the quickest big people you'll ever see," Villanova coach Harry Parretta said, adding that "she is extremely agile for her size."
If the Crimson can keep a lid on Ortlip, they have a good chance of pulling off a victory. As Parretta said, "She is at the heart of our team, if she doesn't go, the team doesn't go."
Although Parretta said Ortlip is capable of hitting 15 and 20 foot jump shots, Boutilier said Harvard will basically give her the outside. "We've not worried about her shooting from out there, we're mainly concerned with boxing her out of the middle," she said. "If she gets the ball underneath she'll just keep shooting and rebounding until eventually she puts the ball in."