The Harvard women's basketball team had every possible motivation to deliver its best effort of the season Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion.
Not only was it the team's first home game in almost a month and the Ivy League opener against arch rival Dartmouth, but the game was also broadcast live on DirecTV and attracted a crowd of 2,035 spirited fans.
And the Crimson did not let down a single one of them. On the strength of an unbreakable half-court defense and precise shooting and passing, Harvard came out of the gate with an 11-2 run and never looked back.
Leading by as many as 22 points in the second half, the Crimson (7-5, 1-0 Ivy) allowed the Big Green (6-6, 0-1) to mount a futile rally at the end, as Harvard triumphed 73-67 in a lopsided six-point victory.
"There is nothing better than beating that team," Captain Laela Sturdy said. "I know the seniors on this team have been around for a while, and the rivalry has been getting stronger every year. This is what we work for."
It was also a huge victory for Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. Not only was it the 150th Ivy victory of her career.
"We were just so ready," said junior center Melissa Johnson. "Coach says it's not always the better team that wins, but the team that is willing to pay the bigger price. We just laid it out there today."
Harvard's outside shooting allowed the Crimson to build a 22-point lead with 10:16 left in the game.
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