It wasn’t enough that forward Kate Mannering shot 8-of-12 for a career-high 18 points in Saturday night’s effort.
She also led the team in stitches—she had five, just over her upper lip—as well as head bumps, swollen noses and vanished contact lenses.
It was indeed a banner night for the junior from Vienna, Va., who brushed off near-constant assault and furiously led the Crimson to victory.
“I’ve been getting hit on the head all the time now,” Mannering said after the game, laughing.
“It actually fired me up. I was like, man, these girls are hitting me in the head, and I can’t catch a break. That just got the juices going.”
Mannering filled an offensive void created by the benching of senior center Reka Cserny, out because of a sprained ankle suffered Wednesday against Northeastern.
Her prowess for executing high percentage shots gave the Crimson a big lift when sloppy first-half play threatened to drag down the team.
At times, Mannering took over the game.
“I was worried she would be a little gun-shy,” coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said of the banged-up Mannering. “She wasn’t shy. I thought she played great.”
At 15:32 in the first half, a ball squirted loose at the Central Connecticut State free throw line and Mannering directly collided heads with Blue Devils guard Denee Burgess on the ensuing scramble.
She remained down for a few seconds and left the game.
Upon her return minutes later, Mannering scored six consecutive points, helping Harvard take a 12-10 lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.
That wasn’t all that Mannering would accomplish.
“She’s a player that plays within her speed,” Delaney-Smith said. “And that’s what you do against [an athletic CCSU team]. You don’t try to out-jump them, or out-quick them. You box out, you execute, you use and set screens well.”
HUNGARY AND HURT