Following a disappointing performance in the Hartford Courant Connecticut Classic, the Harvard women's basketball team is looking to show that it can play against quality competition.
The Crimson will get this opportunity when it faces the University of Rhode Island today at Lavietes Pavilion.
"Tomorrow is a huge game for us," senior co-captain Elizabeth Proudfit said. "Rhode Island is a good team and we have yet to beat a quality opponent this year. We need to prove that we can play against teams like this."
Harvard is a team with something to prove. Last weekend, the Crimson's hopes for a second round showdown against defending national champion Connecticut were shattered following its first round 80-74 loss to Duquesne.
"We expected to win in the first round and then play UConn in the second," Proudfit said. "Even though we played well against Loyola, the tournament was still a letdown."
In spite of its disappointment, the season is still young and Harvard has plenty of time to improve on its 4-3 record. However, the Crimson is not that far away. Harvard's record is a deceptive 4-3. Harvard has beaten opponents by a total of 108 points, while the Crimson has fallen in its three losses by a mere 11.
"We have lost all of our close games," senior Katy Davis said. "Obviously, it would be nice to win one for a change."
However, despite its bad luck in crunch time, the Crimson remains optimistic.
"I'm hoping for an Ivy League title," Davis said. "If everyone is on top of their game, I think we're unbeatable."
But before Harvard can eye a shot at the title, it must get past a strong URI team. Led by standout point guard Dana Smith, URI poses another chance for the Crimson to prove itself against a top notch team.
"They are supposed to be very good," Davis said. "They are returning a lot of players and might be the best team that we have faced yet."
Harvard appears to be more than willing to accept the challenge that Rhode Island presents. It's another chance at fulfilling its potential. The Crimson was predicted to finish first in the preseason Ivy League media poll.
"We have a lot of potential," Proudfit said. "We just have to prove it to people."
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