A 'How To': The Ivy Title
The Women's Basketball Notebook
We use this week's women's basketball notebook to attempt to explain just what the Crimson has done to transform its 2-10, last-place Ivy finish of a year ago into its 8-3, first-place standing of this year--with but one game remaining.
That is we shall take a look at what the cagers might consider doing against Cornell Saturday night when they seek to secure at least a share of the Ivy crown with a win.
First, Harvard would like to play at home, where it is a perfect 5-0 against league competition in 1985-'86 (as compared to a 3-3 road mark).
That way, the Crimson could avoid the delayed planes and absurd lighting situations which the squad experienced Friday night in New Jersey, en route to being massacred by Princeton, 88-67.
Oh, what a coincidence; the hoopsters do have the home-court advantage when the 3-7, cellardwelling Big Red comes to town this weekend.
Once they take the floor the Cantabs probably want to put the ball in the hands of Sharon Hayes. Or Barbarann Keffer. Or Anna Collins. Or Co-Captain Trisha Brown. All of them scored in double figures the first time Harvard met Cornell this year in Ithaca, N.Y., and all have been sources of consistency in Harvard's first-ever title drive.
Perhaps the Crimson's most valuable asset this year is depth. Harvard's bench has outscored its opponent's bench in 15 of 22 games to date (456-336 points in all).
If none of the aforementioned players are on top of their games, Co-Captain Anne Kelly, sophomores Nancy Cibotti, Beth Chandler, Hanya Bluestone, and Mary Baldauf have all shown the ability to step in and do the job.
Not to mention Sarah Duncan, who heads Harvard's freshman crew--as well as the Ivy League--with 29 blocked shots (52 overall). The Chicago native also leads the Crimson in both field goal shooting (53 percent) and free throw shooting (90 percent), and just had her consecutive free throw string snapped at 30.
Next, the Crimson wants to get good ball movement in the Cornell contest. It's no mistake that the cagers recorded one--that's right, one--assist Friday against the Tigers and lost by 21 points and then registered a season-high 22 assists the next night against the Quakers and triumphed 80-65.
In games in which Harvard has recorded less than 10 assists this season, the squad is 0-4. That means the hoopsters are 15-3 when they've handed out 10 or more.
Coach Kathy Delaney Smith's troops definitely want to secure some type of lead by the intermission--when the Crimson has gone into halftime ahead, it owns a perfect 11-0 record. Four times this season, Harvard has come back from halftime deficits to win, but statistics show the earlier the lead the better.
Finally, the cagers want to commit less than 25 turnovers, for on the 12 occasions in which they have done that this season, they are 10-2 (5-5 when they've committed 25 or more).
What does all of this add up to? Harvard wants to play the kind of solid, fast breaking, depth-utilizing type of basketball which last year was the exception and this year has proved to be the rule.
THE NOTEBOOK'S NOTEBOOK: Last year, Harvard lost five games by five points or less and 10 games by 10 or less. This year's squad is 5-1 in contests done by five or less and 8-2 in (g note clear) determined by less than 10.
Ivy Standings Ivy Overall School W L W L HARVARD 8 3 15 7 Dartmouth 8 3 13 10 Yale 6 4 11 11 Brown 4 6 10 12 Princeton 3 6 7 14 Penn 3 6 4 17 Cornell 3 7 9 13