Goin' Bohlen: The Future is Now
If you missed last night's women's basketball game at Lavietes Pavilion, you missed a glimpse of the future.
Harvard (12-15, 9-5 Ivy) defeated Dartmouth (12-15, 8-6), 73-60, to finish in second place in the Ivy League and gain a season sweep over its nemesis for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
Precocious Crimson freshman forward Hana Peljto upstaged Dartmouth sophomore forward Katherine Hanks in what will become the premier individual matchup in Ivy women's basketball for the next two years.
Expect the Harvard-Dartmouth team rivalry to remain just as strong as both teams are the early contenders for next year's crown.
Although Penn (22-5, 14-0) won the Ivy title with room to spare, the Quakers graduate forward Diana Caramanico, who broke the Ivy scoring record of Allison Feaster '98 in a game against Harvard this year. With 26 last night in a win over Princeton, Caramanico averaged 21.9 points per game this year.
Caramanico's departure paves the way for Hanks and Peljto to be the premier frontcourt players in the league.
The 6'1 Hanks was last year's Ivy Rookie of the Year. If anyone other than Peljto wins the honor this year, it would be a major upset. Peljto was Ivy Rookie of the Week seven times this year.
"Hana is on her way to a great career because she is multi-dimensional," Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. "She's in the same league as Katherine Hanks was her freshman year."
Against the Big Green last night, Peljto was in Hanks' league, and maybe a little out of it. Peljto netted 25 points, preserving her lead over Hanks for second place in the Ivy scoring race with a 16.1 ppg average, 17.4 ppg in Ivy play.
Hanks finished the season averaging 15.7 ppg after putting in 18 frustrating points in last night's loss, including a desperation 30-foot three-pointer that banked in as the halftime buzzer sounded.
"Our plan was to go double-team her," Peljto said. "She's a great player, very strong."
The 6'2 Peljto is a more explosive, athletic player who can drive or shoot the three with equal ease, often drawing the opponents' big players out to the perimeter and opening up the paint for a teammate or a drive down the lane for herself.
Hanks is more of a back-to-the-basket, post-up player capable of making an open jumpshot and picking up garbage buckets around the rim. Hanks is also the stronger defender at this point in the two players' careers.
Peljto said she wasn't bothered by Hanks' attempts to alter her shot, even though most of Peljto's points came in the paint with Hanks swarming.
"I didn't really know she was there," Peljto said.
Peljto, who fled war-torn Bosnia before ending up in Minnesota for high scool, deflected any questions about next year's Ivy scoring race. The title run should be a free-for-all with Caramanico out of the picture. Besides Hanks and Peljto, Brown guard Barbara Maloni, Penn forward Julie Epton and Cornell guard Deborah Stevens could all contend.
"I'm not really thinking about that," said Peljto, who added that she is looking forward to matching up against Dartmouth again next year.
Delaney-Smith is more than happy to have Peljto on her team for the next three years, and her prowess on the court should keep the Crimson in title contention for her entire career.
"You can't stop her," Delaney-Smith said. "She'll either rebound or she'll shoot a three or she'll drive. She's only going to get better. She's filled with passion for the game."