Did you ever have a day when everything went right? When you find a $20 bill lying on the ground, when you sleep through your 9 a.m. class and later find out that it was canceled or when you meet that "special someone" at the Grille?
If you have had one of those days, then you have an inkling of what Harvard women's basketball was feeling after its 91-66 thrashing of Brown at Briggs Cage Saturday night.
You can use any of the standard basketball terms to describe how the Crimson played: on fire, in the zone, unstoppable. You can be as hyperbolic as you want and still correctly describe Harvard's play.
Without further adieu, here is the Crimson's laundry list of what went right Saturday night:
1) The Tammy Butler factor. Harvard's senior captain has always come out on the short end of the stick against Brown. Until Saturday. In her eighth try at trapping the Bears, however, Butler emerged from a slump and racked up a game-high 17 points. It was the intangibles, her pregame speech and the rest of the team's keen sense of history, that really set the stage for the win.
"We were going to do it all for Tammy tonight," freshman Karun Grossman said. "And nothing was going to stop us--all the way down the line, whomever Kathy put it in. We were just going to take it right at them and beat them for Tammy."
2) Gregarious crowd. Briggs Cage was more alive than it has at any point this season, men's games inclusive. The students flocked through the doors in unprecedented numbers, brought cow bells and chanted "Fight" and "Defense." The Harvard Band added far superior stoppage of play music than usual. The scene was as chaotic as it should be in a big game.
"Everyone on the team fed off the crowd," Proudfit said. "We said at halftime `It's great to have such a good crowd."'
3) Expert marksmanship. Actually, accurate shooting is an item for the entire four game homestand, not just Saturday night. For the game, Harvard shot .529 from the field and .500 from behind the three-point arc. Harvard hit four of its first five shots, including two treys, in the first half for an early 10-4 advantage. In each half, Harvard had six three-pointers.
In fact, the only aspect of the shooting game that lagged was foul shooting. The Crimson shot a dismal 7-of-18 (.389) from the line, including a dismal four straight misses in the middle of the first half.
4) Pine players. Up and down the bench, everyone made meaningful contributions. Sophomore Kelly Black, playing with a stress fracture, was deadly from international waters, knocking down an astounding four three-pointers in four attempts. Freshman Sarah Brandt (seven points in 17 minutes) has worked herself into coach Kathy Delaney Smith's regular rotation. Cara James hit a three-pointer, Liz Gettelman added 7 points and Grossman had 5. The only bench player not to score was Megan Basil.
5) Tenacious defense. Delaney Smith mixed up the defensive set all night. The Crimson played full-court man-to-man, full-court zone trap, half-court man and switch-on-all-screens match-up. The variety of packages threw Brown completely out of sync, especially in the second half.
Moreover, Harvard corrected the problem that foiled the Crimson in its 65-57 loss to the Bears earlier in the season: guard's penetration. Proudfit and Jessica Gelman simply shut down Brown's Liz Turner and Chris Yasaitis.
Brown's trees were again a nonfactor. Like the February 10 meeting, Butler and Allison Feaster kept 6'6" Martina Jerant and 6'1 Kjersten Boschen at bay. Jerant and Boschen finished with 12 and six points, respectively.
It was the kind of night which most teams dream about, but rarely experience.
"I can't even describe how you feel inside," Black said. "Our whole team had this feeling....I was more pumped than I have every been in my life."
"Our whole team was in a zone," Proudfit said. "Everything came together."
It did, Buzz. It really did.