NASHVILLE, Tenn.--The Harvard women's basketball season came to an abrupt close last night at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium, as the Crimson fell to the Commodores, 100-83.
Harvard, the No. 14 seed in the mideast bracket, played its best half of the season against third-ranked Vanderbilt, setting an NCAA tournament record for most three point field goals made in a half.
After the Crimson seized a 41-40 halftime lead on the strength of their perimeter shooting, Vanderbilt adjusted its defense in the second period, coming out of its zone defense to shut down Harvard's perimeter attack.
Forced out of its three-point game, the Crimson then tried to penetrate the Commodores' tight man-to-man defense. But the switch paid instant dividends for Vanderbilt, who took advantage of Harvard's failure to rotate back on defense.
As expected, the Commodores' most potent offensive weapon was third team All-American Sheri Sam.
The domintant forward lit up Harvard for 39 points, 24 in the second half alone.
Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith asked junior point guard Jessica Gelman, senior forward Amy Reinhard and freshman guard Suzie Miller to cover Sam, but none of the three could contain her.
With the game tied, 45-45 and less than 17 minutes to play, Vanderbilt took the lead for good on a basket by Na'sheema Hillmon.
The Commodores began to take advantage of their front court height. In one sequence, the Crimson surrendered two offensive rebounds off free throws, one of the cardinal sins in basketball. This enabled Vanderbilt to increase its 74-70 lead to 80-70 with 4:15 remaining.
But the overmatched Crimson kept it close. Harvard cut the lead back to five on a Reinhard trey, one of the five three-pointers Reinhard hit in the contest.
As the game wound down, however, Vanderbilt went on a 17-to-five run to close out the game.
The Commodores hit their freethrows down the stretch, while the Crimson fired off-balance three-pointers which clanged off the rim and into the waiting hands of Vanderbilt players.
Harvard took its 41-40 halftime advantage by playing its best basketball of the season.
The Crimson shot 80 percent from behind the three-point arc in
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