Just a couple of hours after The Game marked the end of one sports season in New Haven, a new one began a few miles up the road in Hartford.
It was there that the Harvard women's basketball team opened its '85-'86 campaign by defeating the University of Hartford 45-43, to give the Crimson its first road win in over two years.
Hanya Bluestone, a sophomore guard, paced a balanced Harvard attack with 10 points while forwards Anna Collins and Sarah Duncan each chipped in seven points as Harvard snapped a six-game losing streak dating back to February.
"This victory strengthens my position that we're 10 players deep," said fourth-year coach Kathy Delaney Smith. "We're going to win a lot of games this year just on the strength of how many different people can contribute."
Delaney Smith also praised her team's defense, which surrendered the lowest point total to a Crimson opponent in over two years and forced the Lady Hawks to commit 35 turnovers.
Harvard, however, had 26 turnovers of its own--a figure the squad hopes to bring under 20 in tomorrow night's home opener against Smith.
Nevertheless, the Crimson was in control throughout, leading by at least eight points most of the way. Hartford guard Pauline Fransina almost single-handedly brought her team back midway through the second half--connecting on 3 consecutive long-range jumpers--but Harvard held on for the win.
The Crimson was plagued throughout the contest by poor shooting from the field and cold free throw shooting, hitting on just nine of 19 from the foul line.
"We had pretty good shot selection most of the game," Delaney Smith said of her squad's 34 percent field goal efficiency (28 percent in the second half). "It seemed like we would dominate and then we just went really cold. Their [comeback] was in no way due to a breakdown in defense but just cold shooting on our part," she added.
But the Crimson seemed to get the shots when it really needed them. Junior Co-Captain Trisha Brown and Barbarann Keffer--a sophomore who earned honorable mention All-Ivy recognition last year--each hit key free throws down the stretch to insure the Crimson victory.
Keffer (5 points, 4 assists) made the first of a one-and-one situation and Brown (4 assists) snagged the rebound of a missed second shot to secure the game with 20 seconds left.
Fransina finished the game leading all scorers with 14 points, while teammate Hope Kelley chipped in ten points and eight rebounds.
For Harvard, senior guard Anne Kelly contributed five points, four rebounds, and a pair of steals while Collins picked up eight rebounds and four steals with her seven points.
Sharon Hayes, Beth Chandler, and Mary Baldauf--all sophomores who figure to play prominent roles in Harvard's quest for its first-ever Ivy Leauge crown this year--saw only limited action Saturday night as they continue to recover from pre-seasor injuries.