The Crimson finally came out on the winning side of a close game against Brown on Friday night, but the next night Harvard (10-10, 3-4 Ivy) dropped a heartbreaking 62-59 loss to Yale. Halfway through the Ivy season and standing fifth in the league, the Crimson has paid dearly for its weekly dance of one step forward and one step back.
“I think up until this point, we felt like we had a chance to avenge all our losses, and we still do, but having the four losses so early in the season doesn’t bode well for the Ivy title,” co-captain Hana Peljto said.
As the preseason favorite, Harvard was the team to beat with the offense every coach in the league aimed to defend. Now, rather, it is Penn living the undefeated dream season. After bowing under pressure, the Crimson now has the unfamiliar opportunity of playing with nothing to lose.
“We’d rather have that pressure than be where we are now,” co-captain Tricia Tubridy said. “The motivation is definitely a little different, but we get another shot at everybody, and there’s a lot of pride in that. Now we definitely are just playing for ourselves.”
Harvard has the advantage of playing its next four games in friendly Lavietes Pavilion, beginning this weekend with Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday.
YALE 62, HARVARD 59
After mounting an impressive comeback on Friday night, Harvard ran out of time at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday night. Much to the pleasure of the 500-plus fans at Yale, the Bulldogs (4-17, 1-7) eked out a 62-59 upset for their first league win.
“We came out after basically saying that our intensity wasn’t great,” Peljto said. “It was a complete change from the night before.”
Twelve points were scored in the last minute, as Yale countered every Crimson basket with points from the charity stripe.
Peljto hit a layup with 50 seconds to go, narrowing the deficit to three at 57-54. The Bulldogs answered with a pair of free throws from Bonnie Smith. Harvard again brought the game within a basket with two from sophomore guard Laura Robinson, but Brynn Gingras tallied two more free throws to put the score at 61-56.
Senior point guard Bev Moore finally broke out of the exchange with a three, and Gingras managed only one of the following free throws, giving Harvard a final possession with 12.1 seconds remaining.
The Crimson drew up a play sending the ball to Peljto for the final chance. But Peljto’s shot from behind the arc bounced off the rim, sealing Yale’s first Ivy win.
Peljto knocked down a game-high 22 points, and junior center Reka Cserny and sophomore guard Jess Holsey tallied in the double-digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Moore added nine points and nailed three of her four trey attempts.
Though no Bulldog player scored more than 13, four registered in the double digits, including freshman center Erica Davis.
Standing at 6’3, Davis scored 11 points and challenged Harvard’s inside game.