The goal of the Harvard women's basketball team was to hold the Columbia Lions to 50 points at Briggs Athletic Center Saturday night.
Although the Crimson failed to succeed in that attempt--Harvard allowed Columbia to score 13 points too many in its 84-63 victory over the Lions--50 was the magic number of the weekend for the women cagers.
Harvard (12-13 overall, 7-6 Ivy League) grabbed a season-high 50 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half outscoring the Lions, 43-28, and moving above the .500 mark in league play for the first time this season.
Junior Co-Captain Sharon Hayes, who leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points-per-game, netted 21 points to wrap up a 50-point personal scoring weekend, as the Crimson completed its first weekend sweep since traveling to the New York Ivies last month.
Hayes also grabbed five rebounds--four of them off of her own shots.
"Sharon follows her shot better than anyone else on the team," Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney Smith said. "She is excellent on the offensive boards."
Sophomore Sarah Duncan also battled well on the boards, notching a game-high 12 rebounds while also blocking four shots. Duncan, who leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage, continued her accurate shooting with 16 points on 8-for-11 from the floor.
After trailing by two points early in the first half, the Crimson outscored Columbia, 20-8, over a six minute span to establish a 10-point advantage. The run was sparked by the entrance of junior Mary Baldauf and freshman Heidi Kosh into the game for Harvard, as well as the strong defensive play of junior Hanya Bluestone.
Kosh executed excellent offense, dishing out five assists and driving to the basket to net nine points on four of four shooting. She also was credited with five steals.
"Heidi was absolutely outstanding in the point guard position," Delaney Smith said. "She really handles the ball well."
The Crimson played what was arguably its best defensive game of the season, stealing the ball from Columbia 16 times and forcing 23 Lion turnovers.
Ula Lysniak (22 points) was the hottest Lion, but the senior forward was prevented from netting a field goal for the first 15 minutes of the second half by the persistent defensive play of juniors Nancy Cibotti and Hayes.
The Crimson--which has had its share of second-half troubles this season--came out of the locker room to outscore Columbia, 17-5, over an eight-minute period and control the remainder of the game.
The Lions shot a miserable 24 percent from the floor during the second stanza.
"[Columbia] is usually a second-half team," Bluestone said. "We proved that we are a second-half team too."
THE NOTEBOOK: The Crimson bench combined for 88 minutes of action last night, with all cagers scoring at least two points...Harvard shot 49 percent from the floor, and continues to lead the Ivy League in field goal percentage...The cagers only committed four fouls in the first half, and kept the Lions out of the bonus until 14 minutes into the second stanza...The Crimson closes out its season this Saturday when it hosts Dartmouth at Briggs.