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Peljto's Career Night Moves Her into Legendary Company

By Lisa Kennelly, Crimson Staff Writer

Maybe if Hana Peljto and coach Kathy Delaney-Smith had known that Peljto was chasing history, they wouldn’t have been so willing to let her come out of the game with just under two minutes left.

“I’m furious. I didn’t know. I would have left her in,” Delaney-Smith said. “I think breaking a school record is wonderful, and I would have loved to have let her do that.”

Instead, Peljto had to be content with tying the school record for points in a game (39) and setting new Harvard records both in field goals (16) and field goals attempted (29).

Peljto’s point total matched the Crimson single-game record set by women’s hoops legend Allison Feaster ’98 in a Dec. 7 win over Loyola. In that game, Feaster also had 12 rebounds and dominated a 21-8 Harvard run with 16 points and four threes. At the time it was the fifth-highest single game scoring total in Ivy League history.

With last night’s performance, Peljto joins Feaster for seventh all-time in the league. Peljto’s previous single-game high was 36—attained in 2001 and 2003—a mark good enough for second place that Peljto also shares with Feaster.

“Let the defense create the offense”

Shaken from its first back-to-back losses since 2000, the Crimson knew how best to get back on track against Lafayette—force turnovers. The Leopards coughed up 33 and Harvard was able to convert them into 34 points.

“That was one of our goals,” Delaney-Smith said. “It almost didn’t matter who we were playing.”

In the past two contests, Crimson opponents gave up the ball less than half that amount. Quinnipiac turned the ball over 16 times, while Dartmouth lost it only 12 times.

However, last night a ferocious defense nagged mercilessly at hapless Lafayette all game, forcing forward Elecia

Kruise alone to turn the ball over nine times.

“We started to be more aggressive, taking more chances and getting more steals, and that’s what led to great offensive production,” Peljto said.

Three-for-all

At halftime, with Harvard only up a meager 28-24, the telltale statistic was the Crimson’s woeful zero-for-13 three-point shooting.

“We shoot a lot of threes—sometimes they fall and sometimes they don’t,” Peljto said.

The second half yielded better results, with Harvard going five-for-10 from the beyond the arc.

“I want them to get easier shots rather than the first three-point shot they see,” Delaney-Smith said.

The squad’s first-half field goal percentage was not much cleaner. Harvard managed 14 of 42 shots, a mere 33.3 percent. But with smoother, tighter second-half play, the Crimson shot 51.5 percent, making 17 of 33 goals attempted.

Harvard would finish the game with 75 shot attempts—30 more than the Leopards.

State of Convalescence

Injuries continue to plague the lineup, with a new blow coming last night to junior Reka Cserny. The center played only 10 minutes, notching four points and two boards, and exited the game after she bruised while taking a charge. Cserny was having difficulty taking a deep breath so Delaney-Smith decided to play it safe.

“You don’t want to take any chances with something like that,” Delaney-Smith said.

Sophomore guard Jess Holsey managed to see playing time despite a brace covering most of her left upper arm. Holsey dislocated her shoulder in practice earlier this season and had problems with it last season which forced her to sit out several games.

Though rust was evident with only two recent practices under her belt, Delaney-Smith commended Holsey’s play.

“She has to make all kinds of game adjustments,” Delaney-Smith said.

Senior point guard Bev Moore also has been playing hurt, with bone inflammation in her ankle. The upcoming exams and two-week break will provide a much-needed respite for the wounded Crimson, which does not play until Jan. 30 against Cornell.

—Staff writer Lisa J. Kennelly can be reached at kennell@fas.harvard.edu.

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