Harvard appears to have found a pattern early in the season: start out strong, taking a commanding lead, and slowly but surely enter a downward slope in the latter minutes of the game.
Wednesday’s game followed this outline perfectly. The Crimson jumped out to an early 10-4 lead off layups from sophomore guard Emily Tay. After baskets by the opposition and a bucket from sophomore Emma Moretzsohn, Harvard commanded a seven point advantage at the 15:39 mark. The Crimson then increased the advantage to 20-11 again lead by Tay, who already scored ten points.
Before Harvard could seal the win, however, the Bobcats clawed back into the game. With 10 points from sophomore Erin Kerner and nine from junior Monique Lee, Quinnipiac edged within two, ending the half at 38-36.
Following the break, Harvard came out strong as sophomore Katie Rollins drew a foul on a basket in the low post. Up 40-36, the Crimson entered into a back and forth game of basketball with the Bobcats. After trailing for the entire game, Quinnipiac took its first lead of the game on a three-pointer from freshman Courtney Kaminski.
Not to be outdone, junior Lindsay Hallion provides a spark for the ailing Crimson. Coming off a screen from senior Christiana Lackner, Hallion landed a jumper to tie things up at 48. Hallion then followed up with a steal and layup to push Harvard back out in front.
The teams then traded baskets until the Bobcats had had enough. At the 11:51 mark, Megan Barnum dropped a three pointer to put Quinnipiac up for good.
The Bobcats went up by as much as eleven before the Crimson cut the lead into five off shots from Tay and Hallion.
The Harvard defense awoke in the final minutes. The extra pressure cracked a tough Quinnipiac offense, who shot 62.2 percent from the field. More Crimson players hit the ground, diving for loose balls, and began to confound the visitors after switching to a full court press.
However, it was too little too late as Harvard could not generate enough momentum to reclaim the lead.
To find the answer to these recent troubles, Harvard only need to look into a mirror.
“Too many fouls,” Crimson coach Kathy-Delaney Smith said. “Too many fouls.”
The Crimson entered foul trouble early in the game, committing 23 total fouls, nine of which came in the first half alone.
The fouls sent the Bobcats to the line too often, where the visitors shot an overwhelming 22-29. Whereas, Quinnipiac committed only ten fouls the entire game.
A total of 24 turnovers did not help either. The Bobcats used the Crimson’s mistakes and converted for 21 points.
There remains only one way to overcome this rut in time to repair the season.
“We have to push ourselves even further,” Rollins said.
—Staff writer Vincent R. Oletu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.