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On a night that junior forward Tricia Tubridy won’t soon forget, there was only one thing missing—her parents.
“They’re at every game and they didn’t come tonight,” Tubridy said after recording her first career triple-double in Harvard’s 72-61 win over Brown on Friday.
Even without her parents’ support, Tubridy finished the game with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as the Crimson (14-4, 6-0 Ivy) moved into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League.
The 12 rebounds and 11 assists are both season-highs for Tubridy, while the triple-double is the first for a Harvard player in recent memory.
The Bears (10-9, 4-2) entered the game tied with the Crimson atop the Ivy standings at 4-0 but currently sit two games back after losing 74-68 to Dartmouth on Saturday.
Harvard jumped out to a 14-7 lead behind the hot shooting of junior forward Hana Peljto. Peljto converted back-to-back fast-break layups and nailed a mid-range jumper as Harvard turned a 5-4 deficit around with a 10-2 run. The Crimson would not trail again.
With 5:08 remaining in the half and Harvard leading 24-17, the Crimson made four straight three-pointers. Tubridy connected from the left wing, followed by back-to-back trifectas from junior guard Bev Moore and one more Tubridy trey from the top of the key. A 16-foot jumper by Moore put the finishing touches on a 14-5 run that broke the game open.
By halftime, the Crimson led 41-26 over a Brown team that was expected to mount a serious challenge to Harvard’s Ivy supremacy.
“I loved how we played in the first half,” said Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. “We got so many breakaway layups, and we were hitting from the outside.”
Tubridy, too, was well on her way to her triple-double. The Broad Channel, N.Y. native was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range in the first half while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Moore ended the half with 10 points and the game with 15, her second-highest output of the season.
The one down note in the first half was the mysterious disappearance of sophomore center Reka Cserny. Last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year was averaging 13.6 ppg entering the Brown contest but was held scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting in the half. Cserny finished the game with only six points.
“Reka was rushing her shot tonight,” Delaney-Smith said. “She looked tired at times and just didn’t play her best game.”
Fortunately for the Crimson, it didn’t matter. While Tubridy picked up the slack in the first half, Peljto stepped up to finish the job.
But the Bears did not go away easily, fighting back behind the torrid shooting of freshman forward Colleen Kelly. After a nightmare first half in which she scored only two points and misfired on all nine shots from the field, including five three-point attempts, the rookie found her touch in the second half. Kelly connected on four three-pointers and scored 17 of Brown’s 27 points as the Bears turned a 51-34 blowout into a 66-61 thriller with two minutes remaining. Kelly finished the game with 19 points on 6 of 18 shooting.
“There was a stretch of eight minutes in the second half when Kelly got hot when I thought our intensity was not good,” Delaney-Smith said. “I was displeased that we let Brown back in to the game and didn’t find [Kelly] in our zone on defense.”
Yet Peljto made sure Brown would get no closer. The junior nailed a clutch three-pointer with 1:39 remaining to extend Harvard’s lead to eight. She then made three consecutive free throws to ice the win for the Crimson. Peljto finished with a game-high 27 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.
“Hana did a great job in the second half, defensively too,” Tubridy said. “She picked up rebounds and we didn’t allow [Brown center] Nyema Mitchell to dominate the paint.”
Mitchell finished the game with nine points on 4 of 12 shooting, well below her average of 15 ppg.
—Staff writer Alex M. Sherman can be reached at email@example.com.
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