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It was a wacky scene at Briggs Cage last night.
Even before the opening tipoff, the fans were on their feet.
They weren't cheering. Actually, they were waiting... and waiting... and waiting... for the playing of the national anthem.
A problem with the tape recorder forced announcer and senior Kirkland House resident Dan Ramos to fill in on vocal.
"It was very proud moment for me," Ramos said. "I've known the words for a while. I think I belted it out pretty nicely."
"I didn't think he could hit all the high notes, but his range was incredible," junior Co-Captain Beth Wambach said. "He should sing at every home game."
Maybe he should. Although Ramos' rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was Roseanne Barresque, it seemed to fire up the Crimson squad, which rolled past Central Connecticut State University, 83-60.
Harvard (3-5 overall) came out strong, getting on the board just five seconds into the game when senior forward Jen Mazanec broke away from center court and sank a lay-up.
For the next five minutes it was all Maura Healey. The junior point-guard scored a quick seven points, including a three-pointer. After a short rest on the bench, Healey returned to hit a pretty off-balance baseline jumper.
Those nine points were all Healey scored, but her smooth ballhandling kept Harvard on track. Healey has seen less playing time this season because of the plethora of guards on the team, but her presence was felt on the court last night.
"It was nice to win again," Healey said. "I've started the last three games--I'm happy about that--but I'd be happier if we had a few more wins."
Performances like last night's should certainly provide Harvard's faithful with some happiness. Harvard shot only 40 percent from the field in the first half, but stormed to a 42-30 halftime lead thanks to 17 offensive rebounds.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
While the teams were in their respective locker rooms planning out their strategies for the second half, the fans were treated to a Secret Santa halftime show. In the Kirkland House tradition of wild holiday festivities, football lineman Milan Kosanovich was put through a challenging shooting contest by his Secret Santa.
Donning a Santa hat and a six-inch plastic nose, Kosanovich sank his first free throw and three-pointer, thrilling the crowd.
Back To The Game
Harvard outrebounded CCSU, 55-41, led by junior forward Heather Harris' 11 ferocious boards. Mazanec was hammered all night long in the paint but hung tough to score 13 points and pull down eight rebounds.
The Crimson never really found its shooting touch, scoring at a 39 percent clip on the night. It was even weaker from three-point range, sinking only 3-of-16. But Harvard played a fundamentally sound game, committing only 15 turnovers, tallying 20-of-26 from the free-throw line and getting great ball movement.
"I think that kind of play between the guards and the forwards is what we need," Harris said.
Harvard had a balanced scoring attack, with five players in double figures. Central Connecticut's Tula Kofitsas was the game's leading scorer with 20 points, but it was "garbage time" by the five-minute mark.
Coach Kathy Delaney Smith put in four freshmen, who continued to pressure the Huskies. Katie Phillips and Catherine Crisera tallied their first collegiate points in the waning seconds of the game.
NOTEBOOK: Delaney Smith is feeling the holiday spirit and has decided to give her team the day off tomorrow. But Harvard will travel to the University of Massachusetts Saturday night, the same night that nine out of 11 upperclassmen on the team were supposed to attend the Kirkland House dance. "We're all pretty bummed about it," Harris said. "It's always disappointing this time of the season."
Crimson, 83-60 at Briggs Cage Central Conn. 30-30--60 HARVARD 42-41--83
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT (60): Charlene Shepard 3-8 4-4 12; Christina Grubb 2-9 1-4 5; Ruthie Smith 3-6 4-6 10; Angie Suffridge 1-6 0-0 2; Andrea Hartman 2-6 1-1 5; Melissa Prindiville 3-11 0-1 6; Tula Kofitsas 9-17 2-3 20; Margaret Van Cott 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals: 23-63 12-19 60
HARVARD (83): Jen Mazanec 4-12 5-6 13; Heidi Kosh 6-7 0-0 13; Debbie Flandermeyer 5-15 1-3 11; Maura Healey 4-8 0-0 9; Beth Wambach 4-14 2-2 10; Dina Hadrick 0-5 0-0 0; Katie Phillips 0-0 3-4 3; Kelly Morrison 0-0 3-4 3; Heather Harris 4-5 0-0 8; Erin Maher 3-8 3-3 10; Cara Frey 0-2 0-0 0; Catherine Crisera 0-1 1-2 1; Kim Seidel 0-1 2-2 2.
Totals: 30-77 20-26 83
Three-pointers: Shepard 2; Kosh, Healey, Maher. Fouled Out: Grubb. Rebounds: Central Connecticut 41 (Kofitsas 9); Harvard 55 (Harris 11). Assists: Central Connecticut 8 (Hartman 4); Harvard 11 (Kosh, Maher 3). Steals: Central Connecticut 8 (Hartman, Van Cott 2); Harvard 8 (8 tied with 1). Blocks: Central Connecticut 4 (Shepard 2); Harvard 3 (Flandermeyer). Total Fouls: Central Connecticut 19; Harvard 12. Turnovers: Central Connecticut 20; Harvard 15.
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