The second-place finish was a respectable conclusion to the the Crimson’s first long road trip of this season, and several key players seem to have found their stride entering December.
In the Crimson’s first game of the weekend, Idaho State senior Janae Griffin led all scorers with 19 points, but the Bengals never really threatened in Harvard’s 68-56 victory.
The difference in the game was played out on the glass, as Harvard outrebounded the Bengals 51-41 on the afternoon.
“We just didn’t rebound very well, and when you give a team like Harvard a lot of second opportunities it is really going to put you in a hole,” said Idaho State Coach Shirley Huyett.
Tubridy and freshman Reka Cserny recorded double-doubles on the evening, a season-first for both. Cserny had 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Tubridy had 16 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.
It was a breakout game for Cserny, who had been quiet until the tourney’s first game. In the Crimson’s two previous games against Villanova and Boston University, Scerny had scored a total of four points.
“I talked to [Harvard Coach] Kathy [Delaney-Smith] before the games and she asked me to try to be more patient even if I do something wrong,” Cserny said. “Also, everyone has better and worse days, I had two better days now. But again, the most important was that everyone on the court was really focused, everyone added something to the good results.”
The victory was particularly impressive as Crimson sophomore Hana Peljto did not play due to a sprained ankle.
With Peljto out of the game, Cserny and Tubridy stepped in on offense to keep Harvard scoring, but Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith credited a wider effort.
“I was hoping everyone would stp up, and I felt this was a team effort,” Delaney-Smith said. “So I am thrilled with the victory because I think Idaho State has some dangerous weapons, so I was particulalry pleased with our defense.”
Peljto returned to the Crimson lineup in the championship game, but it was not enough to overcome the strong Kansas State team playing in front of a home crowd.
As in the game against Idaho State, rebounding was the key in the game—but it was Kansas State cleaning the glass, not Harvard.
Kansas State freshman Kendra Wecker pulled down a tournament record-tying 20 rebounds in the second game and scored 17 points to lead the Wildcats to a 72-56 victory and the tournament title. Based on this performance and her strong play the previous night against Grambling State, Wecker was named the MVP of the tournament.
Strong rebounding was important for a Kansas State squad that put forth a less-than-stellar shooting performance.
“We had a lot of great looks and we had a lot of treouble dropping them down, I thought, both inside and outside,” said Kansas State Coach Deb Patterson. “The thing we talked to our team about was that we are going to have games and nights like that, and the key thing is that you are mature and you continue to work through it....”