Cserny, W. Hoops Rout Leopards

Crimson rebounds from USC collapse with 44-point win over hapless Lafayette

Jessica E. Zbikowski

Captain Reka Cserny scored a season-high 23 points against Lafayette.

The Harvard women’s basketball team recently earned a week to stew after suffering a Thanksgiving collapse in Southern California.

On Saturday, fresh off of that break, it achieved happy redemption—in the unlikely form of a six-hour jaunt to Easton, Penn.

Senior center Reka Cserny and the Crimson (4-1) lowered the boom in a big way against unlucky Lafayette (2-3), crushing the Leopards by a score of 84-40.

“We came out angry,” junior forward Shana Franklin said.

Cserny shot 8-for-13, chipping in 23 points, her highest total of the season.

Ten other players shared in the scoring effort. Junior Jessica Holsey, senior Katie Murphy and Franklin added nine points each.

The game was never close.

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep it up,” said sophomore forward Christiana Lacker, who pulled down a career-best six rebounds, “when you play a team that’s not necessarily on your level.

“This team has a really good energy, a good chemistry.”

Franklin said Harvard “knew it was a tough game to get up for.”

The Crimson left a day early to conquer the drive to eastern Pennsylvania. “It’s long,” Franklin laughed.

Thanks, in part, to lingering distaste from a swing to California last week—Harvard beat San Jose St. but folded late in a game against USC—the Crimson turned on the weekend intensity despite some tedious circumstances.

Last season, Lafayette finished with a 1-27 record and lost at Harvard by 21.

Said Franklin of Saturday’s game with gross understatement: “We came out ready to go.”

The Crimson scalded the nets from the beginning, shooting 70.8 percent in the first half and opening with a 30-9 lead.

“The shots were falling,” Franklin said.

Crisp efforts on both sides of the ball—Harvard forced 22 Lafayette turnovers while committing only 11—helped the Crimson pad their halftime lead of 43-15.

The Crimson led by 45 at one point.

“I feel that offense comes from playing really good defense,” Lackner said. “If you’re controlling the game on defense, you don’t rush things.”It helped that Cserny, whom many predicted might take over the Ivy League this season, showed signs of resuming her offensive dominance.

Forced to press while searching for her outside jumper, Cserny averaged only 16.8 points in the first four games. She hit two baskets from behind the arc on Saturday.

“That was the Reka we know and love,” Franklin said.

Holsey, the point guard who opened the season with Ivy League player of the week honors after averaging 22 points per game, was forced to take a backseat.

She dished out four assists, calmly leading the team to victory.

“Everybody,” Lackner said, “did their part.”

—Staff writer Alex McPhillips can be reached at rmcphill@fas.harvard.edu.