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W. Hoops Loses Pair over Thanksgiving Weekend

By Timothy M. Mcdonald, Contributing Writer

The Harvard women's basketball team, in Maine over the Thanksgiving weekend, dropped a pair of games to No. 30 Florida and Central Michigan.

Playing at Orono, Maine, in the Dead River Company Classic, a four-team tournament that also included Maine, the Crimson (0-3) played well in its opening loss to Florida but fell apart against a weak Central Michigan team.

"We are still in the formative stages of the season," said co-captain Kristen Boike. "But it has been a tough couple of games for us."

Central Michigan 69, Harvard 52

After falling into the consolation game, Harvard found itself Saturday slated to face Central Michigan, which had fallen to Maine in a 78-65 game the night before.

While the Chippewas (1-3) were winless entering the game, they left it with a 69-52 win over the still-winless Crimson.

Harvard actually held a 20-18 lead over Central Michigan with 5:36 to play in the first half, but that lead quickly evaporated as the Chippewas mounted a 17-4 run to finish the first half. The Central Michigan lead would reach 22 points in the second half, making any Crimson comeback hopes futile.

Against Central Michigan, sophomore guard Bree Kelley tallied 11 points and freshman forward Hana Peljto added 10 points. Their contributions weren't nearly enough to match up to Central Michigan, which had four players score in double figures.

Pacing the Chippewa offense was Molli Munz, who had a game high 26 points. For her efforts over the weekend, Munz was named to the All-Tournament Team. Also for the Chippewas, Laurie Henderson had 15 points, Vershaun Jones had 12 points and pulled down 11 boards, and Mandy Elner added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Florida 78, Harvard 56

Southeastern Conference stalwart Florida (4-0), beat the Crimson, 78-56, to open the tournament on Friday, but, despite the loss, the Crimson can take something positive away from its play, which kept it close to the Gators for much of the game.

"I was proud of our effort in that game," said co-captain Melissa Johnson.

If the Crimson could be proud of its effort in the Florida game, then junior center Lindsay Ryba deserved to be downright haughty after turning in a 21-point effort, connecting on 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

"Lindsay was just inspired against Florida," Johnson said.

Ryba was anything but haughty in discussing the game, dwelling not on her impeccable outside touch but instead on the defensive lapses she said gave the game away.

"My shot was falling in that game," Ryba said. "But a couple of defensive breakdowns hurt us."

Two other Crimson players of note were Peljto and junior forward Katie Gates who each contributed 12 points. Peljto added eight of her 12 from the free throw line while attempting a game-high 12 foul shots. Peljto also had a team-high eight rebounds for the Crimson.

The Crimson, which trailed 42-28 at half, was outdone by a balanced Florida attack that featured freshman center Vanessa Hayden and junior Brandi McCain. McCain scored 19 points and added five assists, while Hayden led all scorers with 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

While Harvard lost the consolation game, Florida polished off Maine 87-41 to win the tournament. Harvard fielded no members on the All-Tournament Team.

The Crimson will look to post its first win of the season on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts New Hampshire at Lavietes Pavilion.

"I think that we're going to take all our frustration out on UNH," Johnson said.

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