Revenge is a dish best served cold--or at least with a convincing win.
The Harvard women's basketball team feasted on Hartford, 80-63, last night at Briggs Cage and erased the taste of a bitter defeat.
Last year, the Hawks--an average team in the Seaboard Conference--should have been an easy victim for Harvard. Instead, they were a menacing foe who shocked the Crimson with a come-from-behind win, 99-86. The game was one of the few low points during Harvard's best season ever.
This year, no such foils occured. Harvard wouldn't let it.
"We were really pysched for this game," said senior Beth Chandler, who led all scorers with 24 points and 10 rebounds. "We were thinking about last year's game since [we began practicing]. It was a loss we wanted to revenge."
"Everyone remembered it," senior Sarah Duncan added. "It's hard to forget a loss like that."
The victory improved Harvard's record to 4-2, while leaving Hartford without a win for the season. The Hawks are now 0-6.
Harvard came on to the court like a team with a mission. Three minutes into the game, the Crimson unloaded an attack of 17 straight points and established a 17-4 lead.
A combination of aggressive defense and timely shooting under-scored this sequence. Guard Hanya Bluestone made a steal off a Hartford shooter, took the ball down court for a reverse lay-up basket and was fouled on the play to give Harvard a 9-4 lead. Chandler followed by blocking a shot and feeding the ball to Heidi Kosh for the score.
"They beat us down on the floor, on the transition game." Hartford Coach Jean Walling Murphy said.
Harvard suffered a defensive let-down toward the end of the first half and allowed the Hawks to creep back into the game. The score at the half was 40-29, and the Crimson had to enter the locker room wondering if last year's collapse would haunt the team.
"We came out and did what we were supposed to do...then had a breakdown," Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney Smith said. "We talked about it at halftime, and they came out and did the job."
In the second half, the Crimson kept Hartford off-balance. It suppressed Hartford's leading shooters, limiting Annette Flynn to only two points after she scored 12 in the first half.
"The only way they could have gotten back in the game is if we beat ourselves," Delaney Smith said.
Harvard was powered by the unrelenting efforts of Co-Captains Chandler and Duncan. Duncan had 20 points and six rebounds.