W.B-Ball Cruises Past Pennsylvania
The Harvard women's basketball team showed last night why it is on top of the Ivy League by soundly defeating Penn, 86-57.
Junior Allison Feaster led the team in both scoring and rebounding, pouring in 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and grabbing 13 boards. Feaster's play inside, coupled with senior point guard Jessica Gelman's outstanding ball handling and passing outside, led the way to a clear victory for the Crimson.
Harvard jumped out to an early lead, capitalizing on its advantages in both size and strength. The Crimson broke the Quaker defense early with both good perimeter shooting and well-timed entry passes from Gelman to Feaster and co-captain Kelly Black.
"Our inside game was very strong tonight, Gelman said. "I don't really think that they could stop us."
Penn tried to switch from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone in the middle of the first half in order to contain Harvard's interior game, but it was to no avail as Harvard's consistent outside shooting caused Penn's zone to break down. Penn was forced to switch to an unorthodox defensive strategy, combining a traditional zone with a trapping defense.
The changing of the defensive strategy by Penn, however, could not keep up with the Harvard's tenacious attack.
With 13:43 left in the first half, Harvard opened up an 11-point lead when Feaster drilled a jump shot after creating for herself off the dribble. After Penn scored an easy two, junior Sarah Brandt nailed a three to open the lead even further, pushing the score up to 23-11.
By halftime, the lead had reached 21, as the Crimson entered the locker room with a 41-20 lead.
Though Penn ran off the first five points of the second half, Harvard quickly regained the momentum by putting together a little run of its own, scoring the next seven points.
It was already apparent that Harvard owned the game, but there was still some drama left.
Gelman entered last night's game just eight assists shy of tying the all-time Harvard record of 434 held by Barbarann Keffer '88. At the end of the first half she had already recorded four assists, bringing her total to 430 just four shy of the record.
With 15:42 to go, Gelman closed the gap to two as she drove the lane and dished a behind-the-back, no look, bounce pass to sophomore Suzie Miller who put up the long jump shoot.
The record count was on. The press table was talking about the record--would it fall tonight or not? With 12:24 left, Gelman passed to Brandt for a lay-up. It looked like the record would certainly be tied tonight, perhaps even broken.
But it was not to be. With 3:19 left Gelman was pulled because of a questionable foul call and sat out the rest of the game. The record would have to wait for tonight against Princeton.
With the game safely in hand, Feaster was allowed to rest and freshman Laela Sturdy was put in. Sturdy created for herself, taking the ball to the hoop on her way to eight points on three-of-six shooting in just 12 minutes of play.
"Laela just has a great shooting touch," Delaney-Smith said.
The play of both junior guard Megan Basil and sophomore center Rose Janowski off the bench was also impressive. Basil scored nine points--all on three-pointers--and handled the ball well when Gelman was out, and Janowski showed her size and strength by pulling down five rebounds.
"I really thought Rose did an outstanding job grabbing boards tonight," Gelman said. "She played really well."
It was a team effort, as 10 players contributed to the Crimson's 86 points.
"Lots of people got to play, and lots of people played really well," Gelman said. "It was a nice way to come back home again."