That was the scenario the Harvard women’s basketball team enjoyed on Monday night as the Crimson (4-9) took a 42-20 halftime lead over lowly Colgate (2-10) en route to an 80-62 triumph at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard never trailed and used an 18-0 run midway through the first quarter to turn a 17-11 lead into a 35-11 lead. Colgate failed to score for an eight-minute stretch as the Crimson ran away.
“We came out really tough on the ball,” co-captain Maureen McCaffery said. “We played great help defense. It is exciting that it is finally working and we are playing together.”
The win was Harvard’s second in a row since its December 28 home victory against Binghamton snapped an eight-game non-conference losing streak, which was the team’s longest since the 1983-84 season.
In the first half, the Crimson was dominant, shooting 61.3 percent from the floor and limiting the Raiders to a pitiful 26.7 percent shooting.
“We played very, very good defense in the first half and we shot very well,” Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “I thought our shot selection was great. Our team offense was so balanced in the first half.
Freshman point guard Emily Tay led the Crimson with twelve points and came within one rebound of a double-double. Her nine rebounds led the team, and she added two blocks for good measure.
Colgate fought hard to come back in the second half, drawing within 18 points at 65-37 after two three-pointers by senior Meghan Curtin with thirteen minutes left. Harvard followed by scoring the next seven points, however.
The 80 points that Harvard scored?as well as the 20 points that it allowed in the first half?are both season bests.
Senior Laura Robinson scored ten points on 5-of-8 shooting, and added five assists.
“She just made great decisions,” Delaney-Smith said, “as she has done in almost every game, adding great poise. She just took really smart shots.”
Freshman Katie Rollins, in just her third career game since returning from an injury on December 28, added ten points, her most in a single game.
“She’s just coming back,” Delaney-Smith said. “Her stats in the first half were outstanding. I think [Colgate] may have keyed in on her a bit in the second half. We are not getting the ball inside as clearly as I want to, so we need to work on that. That will help her because she can score from there.”
Co-captain Jessica Holsey dressed for the game but did not play. She missed her eighth straight game with an injury to her hand, but should be healthy for the start of the Ivy League season on January 7. Friday’s game against Dartmouth at Lavietes Pavilion will feature a rematch of the bitter rivals, last year’s defending Ivy League co-champions.
The victory over Colgate marks the end of the non-conference season for Harvard. The Crimson suffered from injuries and inexperience in finishing with an uncharacteristically ugly 4-9 record.
“We played arguably one of the best non-conference schedules in the league and most of them were away,” Delaney-Smith said. “With a very young, injured team, we have to take our lumps.”
?Crimson staff writer Ted Kirby can be reached at email@example.com.