W. Cagers Complete Near-Great Season
Crimson Dominates Statistical Leaders
Yogi Berra once said that it ain't over 'til it's over.
"It's over" Harvard women's basketball Co-Captain Erin Maher said. "It's a kind of empty feeling, though."
Despite a magnificent year from the Harvard women's basketball team, the Crimson came up just a little short of the Ivy crown--two games short, in the final analysis.
Brown, the Ancient Eight champion, lost to Pennsylvania 78-69 in overtime Sunday night to finish 13-1 in Ivy League play. Harvard, which lost twice to Brown and once to Pennsylvania, finished second at 10-3.
"Those losses were very disappointing," Maher said.
Harvard is not without solace, however. The Crimson dominated the Ancient Eight's statistical leader-boards. Consider:
* Maher won the league's scoring title, averaging 16.7 points per game.
* Sophomore forward Tammy Butler finished third on the scoring list, averaging 16.2 points.
* Co-Captain Debbie Flandermeyer is fifth on the same list, averaging 14.9 points.
* Butler and Flandermeyer occupy the two-three spots on the rebounding list with 11.8 and 9.0 boards per game, respectively.
* Maher led the league--and was fifth in the nation--in three-pointers, hitting 78 in 25 games. Junior Cara Frey is second in the Ivy League with 50, shooting a torrid 53.2 percent for long range.
* Flandermeyer easily led the league in blocked shots with 3.4 per game--a full 1.2 more than her nearest rival, Penn's Katarina Poulsen.
As a team, Harvard led the league in:
* Field-goal percentage. The Crimson shot 48 percent from the floor. The next-best team, Princeton, shot 44 percent.
* Free-throw percentage, at 74 percent.
* Three-point field-goal percent age. This one's a no-brainer. Harvard shot an amazing 44 percent from downtown. Yale, the next-best team, shot 34 percent.
* Scoring offense. Not surprising, really, at 77.7 points per game.
The problem was in scoring defense, where Harvard finished seventh--allowing 70.8 points per night.
"It was just an amazing season," Flandermeyer said." "It was an incredible team to play on."
There's even more good news. Both Maher and Butler were two time Players of the Week, and freshman point guard Elizabeth Proudfit won the rookie of the Week award the times.
"I thought we could win the Ivy League this year with the talent we had," Maher said. "But next year's team should be just as good. A lot of players will step up and have really good seasons."
Wait 'til next year. If Yogi didn't say it, he should have.
These were heady times for Coach Kathy Delaney Smith.
In her last four recruiting classes, she has come up with Maher and Flandermeyer--who finished one two on Harvard's all-time scoring list--as well as Butler, who finished with the single-season Harvard rebounding record with 285 boards.
Butler averaged a double-double each night, with 16.2 points and 11.8 rebounds.
Those Darn Bears
Harvard and Brown are developing the kind of rivalry that use to he the exclusive province of the Red Sox and the Yankees.
But while the two teams match up evenly on paper, the Bears have taken the last four matchups.
"Its hard to say why," Flandermeyer said. "They just had two great games against us this year. The games have all been very close. They just get really "up' to play us."
It's not for a lack of familiarity between the teams. Delaney Smith had her entire team watch the Bears play twice this season--once against Northeastern in Boston (a 61-62 loss for the Bears) and again against Cornell at Brown (an 82-63 Bear win).
"It was really funny," Flandermeyer said. "They were paying more attention to us than the game. During timeouts they would keep looking at us in the stands."