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WALTHAM, Mass.--Wendy Carle could do no wrong here yesterday at the Bentley College gymnasium. Pouring in 26 points and snatching 12 rebounds, the multi-talented guard led her Harvard teammates to a 73-59 romp over Westfield State yesterday afternoon.
With Harvard trailing 8-5 just five minutes into the game, Carle suddenly caught fire and ripped off 12 points in the next eight minutes. By the time the smoke cleared, both the momentum and the lead had shifted to Harvard. The Crimson lead was 22-18.
But Harvard's offense, largely a one-on-one affair against the Westfield zone, was unable to produce enough points to quickly outdistance the blue and white opposition. Westfield's version of the Empire State Building, center Bev Carter, did a fine job clogging the middle, blocking five Harvard shots in one six-minute stretch.
While Carter did the inside work, both offensively and defensively, guard Louise Bieg sank 30-foot bombs to keep Westfield close behind the Crimson women throughout the first half.
Land of the Giants
When Carle and teammate Sue Williams teamed up for ten points, Harvard opened their lead to eight points, 30-22, but the undisciplined Harvard offense soon grew flustered and in the closing minutes of the half they began to fall apart.
Taking advantage of the Crimson's disintegration, Westfield outscored Harvard 10-2 in the last three minutes and closed out the first half with the score knotted at 32.
The second half, however, was a totally different affair. Carle hit on a follow-up for the first score on the half, giving Harvard a 34-32 lead, and the Crimson women never fell behind again in the game.
Defense was the key to Harvard's success in the second half. Coach Carole Kleinfelder used a "box and one" zone defense, playing Bin Martineau as the "chaser," the defensive player who follows the ball.
Martineau forced Westfield's Bieg, the offensive quarterback, to go to her left--her weaker direction. The pressure disturbed Bieg, and forced her to commit numerous turnovers under Martineau's close guarding.
Capitalizing on Westfield's offensive degeneration, captain Katherine Fulton found the net with her long-range bombs, while Carle took control of the defensive boards. Boxing out Westfield's Carter, Carle forced the awesome center to commit three fouls in the fight for the rebounds.
When center Sue Hewitt took the ball to the hoop, three-quarters of the way through the half, the Crimson women got their biggest break of the game. As Hewitt turned to shoot, Westfield's Carter went for the block, caught Hewitt on the arm, and chalked up her fifth foul, sending her out of the game for good.
Without Carter, Westfield was unable to keep up with Harvard's fast-paced game. Their defense, which was a middle-clogging zone in the first half, shifted to a man-to-man effort in the second half. Without Carter to slough off and block the lane, Harvard drove through the Westfield defense with ease.
Speedy Ellen Hart was the key to the Crimson attack in the closing portion of the game. Playing aggressively as the "chaser" in Harvard's zone defense (she replaced Martineau), Hart bagged five steals down the stretch and converted three of them into breakaway layups.
Finishing with an incredible 13 for 18 from the floor (72 per cent) Carle was the obvious standout, but after the game she pointed to the team's "lack of fear" of the taller Westfield women and the way Harvard "passed quickly to hit the open man" as the keys to the victory.
The win advanced Harvard to the finals of the Division II bracket of the MAIAW Tournament, the Massachusetts State women's basketball championship. The third-ranked Crimson women will meet number one seed Worcester State in the finals today at 2 p.m. here at Bentley.
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