The Harvard women's basketball team can't help thinking that the key to a win over Dartmouth this weekend lies in the numbers.
The Crimson (6-5 overall, 2-0 Ivy League) faces the Big Green (2-8 overall, 1-1 Ivy) tomorrow at Briggs Cage, marking the second weekend of Ivy League action for both teams.
Last weekend, the Crimson tipped off its Ivy League season with inspired victories over Princeton and Pennsylvania. In Saturday's contest alone, 12 Harvard players contributed to a 92-69 win over the Quakers, and 10 Harvard players hit at least one bucket for the Crimson. This weekend, this same dirty dozen will be primed to face rival Dartmouth.
The Hanover, NH-based crew, on the other hand, is hoping that seven is its lucky number. The Big Green currently dresses only seven players. (Yup. Only seven.)
Dartmouth has faced hard times this season--two starters left the program early this season and two others are currently out with stress fractures.
Still, the Big Green is tied for second in the league and considered a top contender for the Ivy title.
"Dartmouth is very good and very well-coached," Crimson Coach Kathy Delaney Smith said, "but they are also very young and will rely heavily on their freshmen."
One key frosh member of the Big Green is guard Meredith Cornell. (At least it's not Meredith Harvard.) Cornell is this week's Ivy Rookie of the Week and the third Dartmouth player to earn that title this season.
Cornell earned 11 points, three rebounds and five steals in a Dartmouth loss to Penn last weekend, and hit a career-best 16 points--including a stunning four-for-five three-point performance in a win over Princeton.
Another key Darmouth player is Ivy Honor Roll honoree Laurie Stucker, who nabbed a career-high 19 points and 14 rebounds last weekend.
Big Green sophomore Brand Jones has also seen some quality time on court, tying a personal career mark with 20 points against Penn.
Still, the Crimson isn't miffed; despite these sterling performances by the Big Green young-uns, Harvard is healthy, secure, deep and in first place in the Ancient Eight.
Lest we forget, Harvard has its own sophomore standout--Tammy Butler. Butler garnered a recent Ivy Player of the Week title for her impressive performances.
Butler had 18 points and 10 rebounds in a contest against Northeastern, a 20-point, nine-rebound performance against Princeton, and tallied 16 points and eight boards against Penn.
Harvard co-Captain Debbie Flandermeyer said that "our strategy is to play aggressive offense, tough defense and run on them."
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