Despite a strong comeback late in the second half, the Harvard women's basketball team suffered a 62-59 loss in its home opener against the University of New Hampshire quintet last night at the IAB.
A spate of Harvard turnovers resulted in a big lead for the visitors at the end of the first half. In the early going, however, the scoring swayed back and forth with the Wildcat women failing to cash in on Harvard's sloppy play.
Freshman center Elaine Holpuch led the Crimson scoring with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while captain Caryn Curry finished with 11 points. UNH's Kathy Ladd led all scorers 14.
The Crimson played tenacious defense in the first half but UNH still managed to pop consistently from outside. With the score tied 16-16, New Hampshire began to open it up, feeding inside to center Cindy Mulica. The end of the half found the hoopsters trailing by 38-27.
The Crimson came out smoking in the second half as guard Wendy Carle swiped the ball at midcourt for a layup to make it 40-35. The women were clicking from the outside now but the Wildcats went into a full-court press and put an end to the rally.
With playmaker Curry and the 6-ft., 1-in. Holpuch resting on the bench, the visitors responded with an even bigger brushfire of their own, singeing the cagers with 16 unanswered points to go out ahead, 56-35.
The Crimson's Dorris Woolery, who had run into foul trouble early in the game and eventually fouled out, broke the dry spell with a bucket off a steal to rekindle Harvard's attack.
With Curry and Holpuch back on the hardwood, the Crimson whittled the UNH lead down to 58-51 with three minutes to play. The potent duo paced the charge as Harvard went on to outscore New Hampshire 22-6 in the last ten minutes.
To the chagrin of the boisterous IAB crowd, however, scrappy ball handling and some clutch jumpers by Kathy Sandborn and Donna Couture enabled the women from Durham to seal the victory.
FREE THROWS: In earlier action the Crimson J.V. downed its UNH counterpart, 57-54. The women will trek to Ithaca over the weekend for a tournament with Cornell, Ithaca College, and Barnard.