End of an Era: Hana Peljto

Female athlete of the year runner-up

After shattering records and hearts, Hana Peljto is ready for her next challenge—fluency in French.

Peljto will follow the steps of so many women’s basketball greats, such as Allison Feaster ’98, in crossing the Atlantic to pursue professional ambitions. Starting this fall, Harvard’s co-captain will take the court for the Cavigal Nice Club, a team in the top basketball division in France.

This journey across the pond is just another chapter for the two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who has excelled both on and off the court.

Her commitment to academics has been recognized in earning first-team Academic All-America honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America for two straight years—she is only the third person in the Ivy League to garner the honor twice.

Peljto was one of two players honored with the WBCA Scholarship Award, which is presented to two players in any of the five divisions for commitment to basketball and academic excellence. Just a month before her graduation, she also gained a windfall of $7,500—her NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship award.

Her academic accolades can be matched only by the respect she has earned on the basketball court.

She topped the Ivy League in both scoring (23.7 points per game) and rebounding (9.7 rebounds per game), and placed in the top 10 in all seven conference categories.

If her league dominance is not impressive enough, she also finished second in the nation in scoring.

“I’m very sad. I’m sad. Hana is a tremendous player,” Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said after Peljto’s final game. “One of the best that’s ever played in the league.”

Peljto is also only the third woman in league history to score 2,000 points. Among her Harvard records, she tied Feaster for the Harvard record for points in a game with 39 in a win over Lafayette on Jan. 15—and she wasn’t even playing the last two minutes.

In the Ancient Eight, it is one thing to be dominant within the league, and another entirely to be dominant in the nation. And with her new job in Nice, Peljto is sure to translate that greatness into international stardom.

—Staff writer Jessica T. Lee can be reached