In an impressive exhibition game against Austrian club team UBBC Herzogenburg, Harvard co-captain Hana Peljto poured in 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and added seven rebounds and three steals, leading the Crimson to a lopsided 90-53 victory last night in Lavietes Pavilion.
“Hana was absolutely wonderful,” said Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith.
Beginning a theme that was to become recurrent, Peljto scored the first two points of the game on a layup from the right side.
Hampered early on by errant passes and cold shooting, the Crimson offense did not seem to click.
On the defensive end, however, Harvard swarmed the Austrians, forcing them into 12 turnovers in the first nine minutes.
Junior center Reka Cserny got a hot hand midway through the first period, scoring buckets on a sweet up-and-under move and laying in a rebound off her own shot. She finished with 17 points and seven boards.
A jumper by sophomore Jessica Holsey, who started at two-guard, extended the Harvard lead to 31-16. Junior Rochelle Bell, last year’s starting shooting guard, did not dress for the game as she is recovering from an ankle injury.
After a layup by Herzogenburg’s Kim Alexander closed the gap to 31-24 with 1:18 left in the half, junior guard Katie Murphy dished to Peljto for a layup and then added a layup of her own off a nice steal to put the score at 35-24 at the half.
“Katie Murphy has improved enormously,” Delaney-Smith said. “[She] will contribute way more this year, I think.”
In the course of the first half the Crimson turned the ball over 13 times and shot an uncharacteristic one-for-10 on three-point shots.
A three-pointer from co-captain Tricia Tubridy 23 seconds into the second period quickly showed that Harvard’s reputation as a trey-happy team would not soon be tarnished. The Crimson would finish the half hitting nine-of-15 from beyond the arc.
Later in the half, Peljto stole the ball away from Edit Skoze, one of Herzogenburg’s two 30-something year old six-footers out of Bucharest, Romania, and passed to senior point guard Bev Moore, who dropped a three-pointer for a 69-40 Harvard lead.
Despite the fact that it was only a preseason exhibition, enthusiasm still ran high.
When Cserny took a charge with 8:45 to go in the game, a group of fans holding a “REKA FOR PRESIDENT” sign broke into a spontaneous “Budapest! Budapest!” chant.
The Crimson defense was suspect at times, but it had its moments.