W. Cagers Top Lions, 69-61

Wambach's 17 Points Lead Crimson Past Columbia

The Harvard women's basketball team continued its hot play last night in New York, defeating Columbia, 69-61, to improve its Ivy League record to a perfect 8-0.

Harvard led at halftime, 35-31, but suffered a defensive lapse that alllowed the Lions to move ahead, 46-41, with twelve minutes remaining. Columbia held a five-point advantage at the six-minute mark as well, but the Crimson did what it has done all season, and stepped up its defense to notch the victory.

"The middle of the basketball game was the ugliest basketball by both teams that I've seen in a long time," Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney Smith said.

Harvard managed to clean up its act, but the win was soured by an injury to Jen Mazanec. The senior forward, who has been a key scorer, rebounder, and team leader for the Crimson, went down with an ankle injury early in the second half and did not return.

"My guess is [the injury] is bad," Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney Smith said. "We definitely won't have her for tomorrow night."


Junior forward Heather Harris was forced into increased playing time and responded with eight points and two rebounds. Harris will most likely get the starting nod tomorrow night when the Crimson meets Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y.

Harvard suffered from poor shooting all night long, connecting on only 41 percent of its shots for the game and 25 percent (4-for 16) from three-point. Co-Captain Beth Wambach led all scorers on the night with 17 points, and sophomore center Debbie Flandermeyer and sophomore guard Erin Maher added 14 and 12 points, respectively.

"They played us in a zone, which we usually just eat up," Maher said. "But we played tentatively. No one would attack the zone. In the first half, [Columbia] ran in transition well and we didn't get back. That hurt us."

Columbia shot a bit stronger than Harvard, hitting at a 46-percent clip on the night, but the Lions could not hold on to the late lead. Karen Kolstad led Columbia with 15 points, and center Kathy Gilbert added 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. For the second time this season, Harvard was able to stop Gilbert.

"Kathy Gilbert is an uncanny shot-blocker, and she was running the floor well," Harris said. "But we doubled one of the forwards down on her and played her well defensively."

NOTEBOOK: Columbia outrebounded Harvard, 29-28...Harvard sank 13-of-15 from the charity stripe...Betsy Odita, sidelined for the most of the season with a hip injury, suited up to play last night and may be called into action because of the injury to Mazanec. Crimson, 69-61 in New York HARVARD  35-34--69 Columbia  31-30--61

HARVARD (69): Maura Healey 1-4 0-0 2; Heidi Kosh 4-5 0-0 8; Dina Hadrick 1-3 0-0 2; Beth Wambach 5-12 5-6 17; Heather Harris 4-4 0-0 8; Erin Maher 4-12 2-3 12; Cara Frey 0-0 0-0 0; Jen Mazanec 3-9 0-0 6; Debbie Flandermeyer 4-12 6-6 146.

Totals: 26-61 13-15 69

COLUMBIA (61): Lisa Rutkoske 5-10 0-0 10; Karin Kolstad 6-14 3-4 15; Kathy Gilbert 6-13 0-0 12; Kathleen Johnson 4-8 2-2 11; Jennifer Beubis 2-5 4-5 8; Kerry Lunz 2-4 0-0 5; Val Purdie 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals: 25-54 9-11 61

Three-pointers: Wambach 2, Maher 2, Johnson, Lunz. Rebounds: Harvard 28 (Mazanec, Flandemeyer 8); Columbia 29 (Gilbert 12). Assists: Harvard 9 (Kosh 4); Columbia 12 (Gilbert, Johnson, Beubis 4). Steals: Harvard 10 (Mazanec, Wambach, Flandermeyer, Kosh 2); Columbia 6 (Kolstad, Johnson 6). Blocks: Harvard 4 (Mazanec, Harris 2); Columbia 5 (Gilbert). Fouled Out: None. Total Fouls. Harvard 11; Columbia 13. Turnovers: Harvard 17; Columbia 14.

Attendance: 154

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