After two weeks free of intercollegiate obligations, the Harvard women’s basketball team looks to pick up right where it left off.
On Jan. 12, the Crimson opened up Ivy League play with a comprehensive win over Dartmouth, 88-66, at Lavietes Pavilion. This Saturday, Harvard hopes for a similar result in Hanover.
“We’re dying to play,” Crimson coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “I would guess the same with Dartmouth. The two week break isn’t ideal, so we’re pretty excited to be playing.”
Harvard will be seeking its seventh straight win over the Big Green. The Crimson (10-5, 1-0 Ivy) heads into Saturday’s matchup tied with Princeton for the Ivy League’s best overall record. Dartmouth (2-13, 0-1 Ivy) is tied with Columbia for the conference’s worst.
“Their program is kind of in the rebuilding stages, but the Harvard-Dartmouth rivalry goes back so many years,” junior guard Christine Clark said. “It’s always a competitive game, and we always have to be on our best game to beat them.”
In Harvard’s last outing against Dartmouth, the Crimson jumped out to a 16-point advantage in the first half and extended the lead in the second. Clark and senior forward Victoria Lippert led all scorers with 22 and 19 points, respectively.
“Both [Lippert] and I really took what the defense gave us,” Clark said. “And we just had great team offense, working the ball around, which opened [Lippert and me] up for drives and pull-ups.”
For the third time this season, Clark earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors. She currently leads all Ivy scorers with 16.9 points per game.
The Crimson’s reserves also put up big numbers against the Big Green as Harvard’s bench combined for 37 points. In just eight minutes on the floor, freshman guard Shilpa Tummala contributed a career-high 10 points as she shot 4-for-4 from the field.
“It doesn’t surprise me when [Tummala] comes in and shoots 4-for-4,” Delaney-Smith said. “She’s capable of that.”
The freshman has begun to show improvements on the court as she continues to rehab a shoulder injury that she sustained in high school.
On Saturday, the Crimson will try to contain sharp-shooting senior guard Faziah Steen, who led all Dartmouth scorers with 18 points and recorded a game-high five steals two weeks ago at Lavietes. Steen is the sole senior on a young Big Green squad.
“She’s one of the better players in the league,” Delaney-Smith said of Steen. “We could have done a better job on her. She’s fast, she’s grown, and she’s always been a tremendous shooter, and now she’s taking it to the hole pretty well, so we’ve got to adjust.”
Steen will share the backcourt duties with junior point guard Nicola Zimmer, who was out with a knee injury two weeks ago. Steen, Zimmer, and junior Eve Zelinger are Dartmouth’s only upperclassmen.
Freshman forward Lakin Roland led Dartmouth’s underclassmen corps two weeks ago, coming off the bench to score 13 points. Sophomores Tia Dawson and Abbey Schmitt may also challenge Harvard’s backcourt tomorrow.