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Whether in Europe, Lavietes Pavilion or Manhattan, Kan., sophomore center Reka Cserny’s so-called European style has been confounding both defenses and referees.
“I know that [Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith] calls my long first steps ‘European first steps,’ but I don’t think it’s necessarily true,” Cserny said. “I’m considered to have relatively long steps compared to others at home [in Budapest, Hungary] as well.”
Though Cserny largely plays in the shadow of junior forward Hana Peljto’s consistently dominant performance, against Kansas State, the sophomore showed why she is six-time member of the Hungarian national team.
Cserny scored Harvard’s first points of the game on a putback. From then on, she proved herself a threat from anywhere on the court, using her unorthodox moves to score from the post and the point while also getting to the line five times.
“All I can think is that my steps during layups are slower and longer than what everyone is used to and sometimes I change direction before my last step and that’s why it might seem weird first,” Cserny said.
Cserny’s long steps allow her to maneuver around two or more defenders in the post and combined with her 6’3 stature to create shooting opportunities where there seemed to be none against Kansas State. She banked in three key shots in the first half that kept the Wildcats from opening up the game, and scored 10 straight Harvard points in one stretch of the second.
“I didn’t really realize how many points I scored,” Cserny said. “I just know that I felt really comfortable on the court. Everyone on the team was connecting so well with each other and somehow it happened that I had the open shots after a couple of extra passes more than I usually do.”
While Cserny’s so-called extra step is legal, it is also uncommon in women’s basketball, so traveling calls sometimes result from her unusual style. The quite center particularly struggled with them while adjusting to Harvard’s style of play early in her rookie season.
“I used to have problems with it at home too until they got used to my European style,” Cserny said.
Call it European style or call it Cserny’s flair—either way, defenses have not been able to adjust to it.
—Staff writer Jessica T. Lee can be reached at email@example.com.
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