As the year winds down and we prepare to enter 2013, the Back Page recalls the top five monumental moments in sports for the Crimson in 2012. From historic postseason play to NBA fame, it was a big year for Harvard athletes in all disciplines.
For the first time in both Harvard and Ivy League history, a women’s basketball team won a game in the WNIT. The Crimson squad, led by then co-captain Brogan Berry, edged Hofstra, 73-71, on March 15. Berry finished the night on point, tying her season high with 26 points, followed by sophomore guard Christine Clark’s 23 points. Despite two threes from Pride guard Katelyn Loper in the final 90 seconds of play that brought Hofstra within one, a Clark layup and a pair of foul shots by Berry ensured victory for Harvard. While the Crimson would go on to fall to Temple in the second round, 64-59, the historic first-round win remains a highlight of Ancient Eight women’s basketball.
Near the end of a tense fourth quarter that saw Harvard and Yale trade leads, a 63-yard touchdown by senior running back Treavor Scales with 1:08 remaining gave the Crimson way more than just the first down it needed to ice the game. Harvard beat the Bulldogs, 34-24, on November 17 for its sixth straight win in The Game and 11th in 12 years. Yale football, which had faltered all season both on and off the gridiron, was expected to buckle easily to a powerful Harvard offense. That didn’t happen. Instead, the teams entered the locker room tied, 3-3, after a first half saddled with errors. The second half saw many more big plays, as the Bulldogs assumed a 17-13 lead 1:30 into the fourth quarter. With its win streak against Yale in jeopardy, the Crimson stepped up. Senior quarterback Colton Chapple connected on a 32-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Andrew Berg to regain the lead and then completed a four-yard touchdown toss to junior Cam Brate after a Bulldogs score had earned the visitors a 24-20 lead. Scales’ 63-yard scamper on Harvard’s next possession secured the 34-24 win.
After a tight contest with Yale for the Ivy League title, Harvard women’s squash sailed to a decisive win over the Bulldogs just two weeks later on February 26 to capture the Howe Cup, the national title of the College Squash Association. The Crimson blanked first and second round opponents, Dartmouth and Trinity, respectively, with perfect 9-0 wins. While the Ancient Eight cup saw Harvard rally for a 5-4 victory over Yale, winning this time came much more easily, as the Crimson locked up the national title by the end of the sixth matchup and beat the Bulldogs, 8-1. The run of success for the ladies of Harvard squash didn’t end there, as just a few weeks later then-freshman Amanda Sobhy continued her undefeated season at the CSA Individual Championships to win the individual national title, storming past all five of her opponents.
A sequence of injuries and poor performances by the New York Knicks led former coach Mike D’Antoni to take Jeremy Lin ’10 off the bench and give him a chance at point guard for the ailing team. After Lin netted 25 points against Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets, D’Antoni started the guard, who was nearly released by the team just weeks earlier, and created an era of pick-and-roll domination for the team. Lin led the Knicks on a 9-3 run in February before D’Antoni was fired in favor of Mike Woodson and Lin was forced off the court by a knee injury. While Lin signed with the Houston Rockets and “Linsanity” finally began to die down, the alum became a household name and an icon for the Chinese-American and Ivy League communities across the country.
Overcoming a challenging slate of Ivy League and non-conference opponents, the Harvard men’s basketball team electrified Cambridge and made it to Albuquerque, N.M. for the school’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 66 years. Conference losses to Princeton and Penn jeopardized the Crimson’s grasp on the Ivy title, but road wins in New York over Columbia and Cornell combined with a Princeton victory over Penn allowed Harvard to win the Ancient Eight outright for the first time ever. For its accomplishments, the Crimson got the pleasure of an NCAA Tournament matchup with a hot-handed Vanderbilt squad coming off a win over No. 1 Kentucky to take the SEC championship. Harvard was knocked off, 79-70, by the Commodores on March 15. While the Crimson may have lost the game, the season as a whole was historic for the program.
What a year for Harvard athletics! What was your favorite Crimson sports moment of 2012? Tell @THCSports on Twitter.