W. Hoops Looks for Third Straight
Riding a two-game winning streak after a devastating 89-61 loss to Holy Cross last Saturday, the Harvard women's basketball team looks for three in a row for the first time this season tomorrow at Mount Saint Mary's.
The Crimson (5-3) beat Rhode Island 83-59 on Wednesday, but will have a significantly tougher time against the Mountaineers (4-2), who have won three straight on the strength of three double-digit games from leading scorer Kia Williams, who averages 17.5 points per game.
"They're a solid team," sophomore forward Sharon Nunamaker said. "If we win it will give us some momentum going into the Ivy League season in January."
Winners of four of its last five, the Crimson comes into Saturday's game fresh off of a 24-point home-court thrashing of URI. After a rocky first half that saw Harvard commit 13 turnovers, the Crimson outscored the Rams 47-28 in the second 20 minutes on its way to an easy victory.
The Crimson was paced by the outstanding play of freshman center Sarah Johnson and sophomore point guard Jennifer Monti. Johnson netted a game-high 18 points to complement her 10 rebounds while Monti netted 13 on 6-of-8 shooting to go with her nine assists. It was a nice breakout effort for Johnson, whose sister Melissa has anchored the Crimson frontcourt.
The game is an especially important one as Harvard concludes its tune-up for an upcoming barrage of Ivy League games. The Crimson will play 14 of its last 15 games against league foes. It sees tomorrow as one if its last chances to knock heads with a quality team before its season heats up.
And the Mountaineers will certainly not disappoint. Mount Saint Mary's entered the season as the defending Northeast Conference champion, and it's hungry for a repeat.
Williams paces the Mountaineers' offensive attack, averaging 17.5 points per game to go with 9.3 boards. Freshman Lauren Kokotajlo, who is 10-of-23 from three point range, and senior Vera Feldbusch, averaging 11.5 points per game, have played pivotal roles as well.
Mount Saint Mary's enters tomorrow's contest after a decisive 13- point victory against rival William and Mary last Sunday. The Crimson may have a tough time stopping Williams, who scored 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and Kokotajlo, who netted an additional 13.
But perhaps the Mountaineers aren't really all they are stacked up to be, as they have yet to prove themselves against a powerful opponent. While they have prevailed in relatively close contests against smaller, weaker schools like William and Mary, Coppin State, Akron and Radford, they fell by 30 to Georgetown on Nov. 23 and lost to George Mason by seven three days later.
No matter what happens with the their opponents, Harvard will have to come into tomorrow's game with all cylinders firing in order to establish control of the game. Some members of the team feel like they have yet to play a solid game at all levels.
"We have yet to truly dominate all aspects of a game," Nunamaker said. "If everyone comes to play on the same day, we will be unstoppable."