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Dr. Seuss Heckler Unable to Impede the Crimson’s Big Green Blowout

By Timothy J. Mcginn, Crimson Staff Writer

HANOVER, N.H.—Reka Cserny stood behind the charity stripe, knees slightly bent, squaring her shoulders towards the basket. In the stillness of Leede Arena, a single voice began to bellow from the stands:

“Up at Lake Winna-Bango...the far northern shore, lives a huge herd of moose, about sixty or more. And they all go around in a big happy bunch, looking for nice tender moose-moss to munch.”

“Only at an Ivy League school,” said Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith.

Despite scattered chuckles and widespread bewilderment, the lone fan read on, reciting Dr. Seuss’ Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose at the top of his voice during each Harvard free throw attempt.

“It talks about Harvard,” he said during a respite from his cheering during the halftime intermission, while excitedly flipping to the appropriate page before declaiming once more.

“‘Get that moose! Get that moose!’ Thidwik heard a voice call. ‘Fire again and again and shoot straight, one and all! We must get his head for the Harvard Club wall!’”

But the lyrical cheer did fall on deaf ear. Each free throw they shot went straight through the pot.

All 13 tries made Big Green wet eyes. With each renewed cheer, for Dartmouth another tear.

For Cserny made six and three added two more, helping fair Harvard to just slam the door.

“We noticed him,” co-captain Hana Peljto laughed. “How could you not?”

HEIRED OUT

Big Green freshman center Elise Morrison’s 30-point performance against the Crimson two months ago led many pundits to brand her the heir apparent to Peljto’s throne as the Ancient Eight’s preeminent player. But much of the success Morrison realized in Dartmouth’s overtime victory at Lavietes Pavilion came as a result of Harvard’s unfamiliarity with her game.

This time, the Crimson was ready.

Allowing Morrison just four shots in the first half while keeping her away from the free throw line, Harvard limited the much-hyped prospect to just six points and a pair of rebounds, while forcing four turnovers.

With the game already well out of hand in the second half, Morrison tacked on nine more “junk” points, inflating her performance, Delaney-Smith said.

“She’s a great post player,” Delaney-Smith said. “But we just denied her the ball.”

The Crimson succeeded not only in shutting down Morrison, but clogging the passing lanes as well to generate a large number of turnovers.

Co-captain Tricia Tubridy and sophomore Jess Holsey proved particularly effective at infiltrating the Big Green’s set plays before they were carried out, snatching two and three steals beyond the three-point arc, respectively.

That aggressive play rejuvenated Harvard in the second half, supplanting the first half’s offensive explosion as the driving force behind the Crimson’s success.

“[We were] supposed to play like that all year,” Delaney-Smith said.

HOT SHOTS

Despite the unfamiliar rims, Harvard burst from the gate, scoring 30 points in the first 10:46.

After missing its first two shots, the Crimson rattled off 20 points, hitting seven consecutive shots to build an early seven-point lead.

Spearheaded by Peljto’s flawless 17-point half—she sank all seven of her buckets, including two treys while adding a free throw—Harvard put home 48.6 percent of its shots. Inside the arc, the Crimson enjoyed even greater success, knocking down 57.1 percent of its attempts.

“We just started to shoot and everything went in,” Cserny said. “I could hardly believe it.”

Though the Big Green enjoyed similar stats, hitting 47.4 percent of its shots, Harvard ripped down seven more offensive boards and generated five more takeaways, leading to the 16-point half-time margin.

BENCH PRESSED

Delaney-Smith took advantage of the early blowout to rotate 13 different players into the game. Each player recorded at least four minutes on the court with none spending more than 29 off the pine.

The second and third strings did not disappoint, tallying 22 points, easily out-scoring Dartmouth’s bench, which added just seven.

—Staff writer Timothy J. McGinn can be reached at mcginn@fas.harvard.edu.

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