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W.Hoops Batters Rams, 77-55

* Basil, Feaster lead crimson offense

By Eduardo Perez-giz, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

What is the best way to spark a sluggish offense? How about by adding some spice on defense in the form of a little Basil.

Megan Basil, co-captain point guard of the Harvard women's basketball team, was the main ingredient in the Crimson's 77-55 runaway victory over the University of Rhode Island last night at Lavietes Pavilion. Basil and her six steals spearheaded a strong defensive performance the jumpstarted Harvard's offense with easy transition buckets and helped the Crimson (6-1) put the Rams (1-6) to bed early in the second half.

"This is the Megan we've been waiting for all year; she was great," Harvard Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said.

Holding a slim 33-29 lead at halftime, Harvard opened the second period with a 17-8 run that quickly ended all doubt as to the outcome of the contest. Basil led the attack with her defensive command over Rams' point guard Dena cocchiola and her confidence in running the Crimson's offense.

"Megan dominiated [Cocchiola] on both ends, defensively and offensively. That's what Megan can do," said Delalney smith.

"I know I just have to step up and be more confident with the ball," Basil added.

Forward Rose Janowski opened the second-half scoring on one of her many aggressive moves eight seconds into the period. Janowski finished the game with 12 points and could easily have had more if not for some questionable calls which put her into foul trouble.

"I thought Rose played great. I loved all of her moves and all of her decisions," Delaney-smith said.

Co-captain Allison Feaster followed Janowski's lead, connecting on a short jumper for two of her game-high 31 points. Feaster, the nation's third leading scorer, added 16 rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot to round out her evening. She has now scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games.

"[Feaster] is amazing and she is playing so well," Basil said.

Following Feaster's bucket, Basil did her own thing. The Crimson's floor general first found Janowski under the hoop for an easy deuce.

She then picked the pocket of Rams' guard Amber Jansen and looked to Janowski who fed the rock to Feaster for a conversion at the other end. Shortly threrafter, another Basil theft turned into two more easy points for Feaster, and the Crimson had its first double-digit lead of the game.

"That's about the only advantage of being my size," Basil said. "I can just go right under her and take the ball."

Basil was not the only Crimson player practicing thievery. Junior guard Suzie Miller got into the act with a steal at midcourt that led to her own uncontested layup, and seniors Sarah Brandt and Alison Seanor each came up with a couple of crucial steals as well.

"Defense got us the breaks we had," Feaster said. "We went into the locker room at halftime and made a goal for ourselves to win by 20, and we did it. We really dug in on defense."

Harvard forced URI into 30 turnovers during the course of the game which the Crimson converted into 30 points. The first half, however, was a different story.

A relentless Ram's defense flustered the Crimson and stifled Harvard's offense throughout the first period. It was Basil's poise and Feaster's production that kept the Crimson in control during this stretch.

"We let the pressure bother us in the first half," Delaney-Smith said. "We tried to be quick, we didn't use ball fakes, we used up our dribble--all the things you're not supposed to do against pressure."

Harvard made 45 percent of its field goal attempts in the game, well above its season average of 37 percent. Its 77 points were also a season high. Such an offensive improvement bodes well for the crimson's upcoming contests.

"[45 percent shooting] is where we want to be," Delaney-Smith said. "[That's a product of] better shot selection and better ball movement."

Harvard's bench came through a well, outscoring URI's reserves 21-12 Laela sturdy led the charge with six points on beautiful moves in the paint Freshmen Lisa Kowal and Jill Zitnik also looked inpressive off the bench. HARVARD  77 URI  55

HARVARD, 77-55 at Lavietes Pavilion URI  29  26  -  55 Harvard  33  44  -  77

URI: Lapciuk 5-8 2-3 13; Hvizdak 1-3 2-2 4; Jansen 6-10 8-9 20; Blakemore 1-3 0-3 2; Cocchiola 2-12 0-0 4; Strike 0-1 1-2 1; Pacheco 3-5 0-1 9; Gibson1-5 0-0 2; Steele 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS 19-49 13-20 55.

HARVARD: Miller 2-5 0-0 4; Feaster 12-19 7-9 31; Seanor 1-4 0-0 2; Basil 2-8 2-2 7; Janowski 4-9 4-8 12; Egethoft 0-0 0-0 0; Sturdy 3-6 0-0 6; Kowal 1-2 0-0 2; Brandt 1-6 1-2 3; Russell 1-1 0-0 2; Zitnik 2-2 1-1 6; Kinneen 0-2 2-2 2. TOTALS: 29-64 17-24 77.

HARVARD, 77-55 at Lavietes Pavilion URI  29  26  -  55 Harvard  33  44  -  77

URI: Lapciuk 5-8 2-3 13; Hvizdak 1-3 2-2 4; Jansen 6-10 8-9 20; Blakemore 1-3 0-3 2; Cocchiola 2-12 0-0 4; Strike 0-1 1-2 1; Pacheco 3-5 0-1 9; Gibson1-5 0-0 2; Steele 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS 19-49 13-20 55.

HARVARD: Miller 2-5 0-0 4; Feaster 12-19 7-9 31; Seanor 1-4 0-0 2; Basil 2-8 2-2 7; Janowski 4-9 4-8 12; Egethoft 0-0 0-0 0; Sturdy 3-6 0-0 6; Kowal 1-2 0-0 2; Brandt 1-6 1-2 3; Russell 1-1 0-0 2; Zitnik 2-2 1-1 6; Kinneen 0-2 2-2 2. TOTALS: 29-64 17-24 77.

URI: Lapciuk 5-8 2-3 13; Hvizdak 1-3 2-2 4; Jansen 6-10 8-9 20; Blakemore 1-3 0-3 2; Cocchiola 2-12 0-0 4; Strike 0-1 1-2 1; Pacheco 3-5 0-1 9; Gibson1-5 0-0 2; Steele 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS 19-49 13-20 55.

HARVARD: Miller 2-5 0-0 4; Feaster 12-19 7-9 31; Seanor 1-4 0-0 2; Basil 2-8 2-2 7; Janowski 4-9 4-8 12; Egethoft 0-0 0-0 0; Sturdy 3-6 0-0 6; Kowal 1-2 0-0 2; Brandt 1-6 1-2 3; Russell 1-1 0-0 2; Zitnik 2-2 1-1 6; Kinneen 0-2 2-2 2. TOTALS: 29-64 17-24 77.

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