Women Cagers Down Warriors, Stumble in Augusta Tournament
The Harvard women's basketball team trounced Division II Merrimack Monday night, 84-52, in Briggs Athletic Center. But the Crimson finished fourth in the Augusta Invitational Tournament in Maine.
In the game against Merrimack, Harvard was led by Co-Captains Beth Chandler with 17 points and Sarah Duncan with 13. The cagers were never threatened by the Warriors, jumping out to a 41-20 lead into halftime and keeping up the pressure en route to an easy victory.
Harvard benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with sophomore forward Jen Mazanec contributing 11 points, and sophomore Beth Wambach adding 10. Chandler and Duncan led the team with nine rebounds each.
Duncan also reached a milestone in her career, scoring her 1000th point during the game against Merrimack. She now stands fourth on the list of all-time scorers and is in good position to improve her standing even further.
In the Augusta Invitational Tournament that took place December 17-18 at the Augusta Civic Center in Maine, the cagers opened the tournament with a 89-77 loss to Maine. Harvard's loss dropped it to the consolation round, where it lost to Howard, 104-92.
Georgia Tech went on to defeat Maine in the championship game.
Chandler was the top scorer with 23 points. Junior Heidi Kosh added 17 points, and Duncan contributed 12, as well as grabbing 14 rebounds.
"We played well defensively, but offensively we just didn't click," Chandler said. "We weren't playing aggressively."
"It wasn't a good night," Duncan said. "We played really, really poorly."
In the consolation game, neither Harvard nor Howard shot well in the first half, and the Bison pulled out to a 46-33 halftime lead. But the cagers improved their shooting percentage to 65.6 in the second half and actually outscored Howard 59-58. Freshman Maura Healey pumped in a career high 19 points and was three-for-three from three-point goal range.
"We can definitely run with people," Duncan said. "We're fast."
In addition to Healey and Duncan, who was the leading scorer with 26 points, three other Crimson players scored in double digits. Kosh contributed 16 points, and junior Melinda Nelson and Mazanec added 11 points each.
"[Howard] was definitely better than we were," Chandler said. "They crashed the boards really well, and that caused problems. But we played a pretty good game."
Rebounding seemed to be a key factor in those losses. The cagers were outrebounded 51-29 by Maine and 55-36 by Howard. In contrast, they pulled down 47 rebounds to Merrimack's 37.
"We at times were letting ourselves get pushed under the rim [aginst Maine and Howard]," Chandler said. "That's a problem because they were getting the offensive rebounds, and you feel like the offensive boards should be yours."
Harvard, which shared the Ivy title with Dartmouth last year, will host the Big Green next Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Briggs, to open its Ivy season.