Supported by stellar rebounding and strong offensive play, Harvard women’s basketball posted a 1-1 record this week in the Hilton Garden Inn Classic at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida.
The Crimson (6-5) outrebounded its opponents, Florida Gulf Coast and Akron, 113-67, in the tournament, posting season highs in rebounds in both games. Senior guard Taylor Rooks, who led the team in scoring in both games, and sophomore forward Jeannie Boehm were both selected to the all-tournament team.
“This weekend we really pushed through the bubble rebounding,” Rooks said. “We boxed out preemptively and and really crashed the offensive boards hard.”
HARVARD 76, AKRON 63
In its second contest of the tournament, Harvard bested the Zips (6-5) 76-63 in the first ever meeting between the two schools behind strong rebounding and a quick start. The Crimson’s 26 first quarter points set a season high for points in a quarter.
“Against Akron, we played a little bit tougher and a little bit angrier and a little bit more determined, and it showed itself,” coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said.
Early in the game, junior guard Madeline Raster drilled a three-pointer, one of her two in the first period, to make the game 7-5 in Harvard’s favor. Although the contest had yet to see three minutes pass, the Crimson would not relinquish this lead throughout the rest of the game.
Harvard dominated the glass, out-rebounding Akron 57-34. This marked a season high for rebounds in a single game by the Crimson. Freshman forward Jadyn Bush led the charge off the bench, grabbing a team-leading 14 rebounds for Harvard.
“We have so many talented rebounders on this team,” Boehm said. “Rebounding hasn’t been something we’ve always been great with, but we work on it every day in practice relentlessly, and it’s great to see it pay off.”
Yet again, the Crimson turned the ball over more times than its opponent, giving the ball away 17 times to the Zips’ nine. However, the capitalization on these turnovers proved key. Akron was only able to turn these turnovers into 11 points, while Harvard took advantage of these opportunities by scoring 14 points off of the Zips’ turnovers.
The Crimson continued its offensive attack into the second quarter, shooting 59 percent from the field in the quarter. Harvard went into the half with a 13-point lead in control of the game. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Crimson led by 21 points, up 70-49 for its largest lead of the game.
Harvard closed out the game and tournament with strong defense by eventually taking the game, 76-63.
FLORIDA GULF COAST 65, HARVARD 56
In a closely contested matchup, a late surge by FGCU (12-3) allowed the Eagles to top the Crimson. With just over one minute remaining in the contest, a tough FGCU defense and strong free-throw shooting allowed the hosts to prevail, 65-56.
“We played a really tough 38 minutes, but the last few minutes we made a few mistakes and handed them the game,” sophomore guard Katie Benzan said. “It was frustrating and irritating to give them the game like that.”
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