How to Slay A Giant 101

Harvard will need all the chips to fall to pull off the upset

They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Whether "they" are right or not, the cliche says nothing of what weapons to use.

Figuring that out has been the task of Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and the Harvard women's basketball team in preparation for their NCAA Tournament firstround game against No. 5 Stanford.

While knee injuries to Stanford's All-American junior forward Kristin Folkl and All-American senior forward Venessa Nygaard make the Crimson's task at least a shade easier, it will take a season's worth of effort all wrapped into one game in order for Harvard to pull off one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.

"I think it's going to take 15 people playing as well as they can [in order to win]," junior forward Suzie Miller said. "If we're all playing at the top of our game, we'll be hard to beat, no matter how great they are."


Indeed Stanford seems beatable by an inspired team, especially without the dominant inside presence of their super sub Folkl (18.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and the complementing perimeter threat of Nygaard (14.9 ppg,. 460 three-point percentage).

The Cardinal, ranked fourth before the season started, began its 1997-98 campaign losing four of its first seven games, all without Folkl, who was busy leading the Stanford volleyball team to a national title. Nygaard, sidelined with a torn ACL suffered in the final game of the regular season, was the team's leading scorer in its first two losses.

Since Folkl's return Dec. 28, the team is 18-1, its only loss a 91-90 defeat at the hands of No. 9 Arizona.

Last season's Final Four team had the services of standouts Kate Starbird and JamilaWideman, since graduated and playing professionalhoops; this team may not know how to win withoutFolkl and Nygaard.

But don't count the Pac-10 champs and winnersof 15 straight out just yet. They still have aformidable front line that includes two-timeAll-American senior Olympia Scott, a tall butathletic forward who has the ability to take overa game. She is joined up front by 6'4 forwardHeather Owen, one of four Stanford players toaverage at least 10 points and five rebounds.

Stanford's inside presence will make itdifficult for Harvard's drivers to penetrate, andalmost impossible to establish junior center RoseJanowski or All-American forward Allison Feasterin the post, especially early on.

On the other end of the court, Harvard lacksthe size to play an effective man defense, so itwill rely heavily on double teams and weak-sidehelp.

"We're definitely going to focus on the frontline," Feaster said. "We need to pack it in andplay good team defense."

If and only if Harvard can slow down Scott andOwen, and if and only if Stanford's perimeterthreats play inside their heads--a tall order fora team whose backcourt shot over 45 percent frombeyond the arc--can the Crimson stay in the game.

"Even with Folkl injured they still have twogreat posts," Miller said. "We're going to have tomake their guards beat us--that means packing inthe paint, playing a lot of zone, and playing asagging man."

And then there's the offense.

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