NOTEBOOK: Paint Presence Aids Women's Basketball

While the final score of the Harvard women’s basketball team’s 77-59 thumping of Dartmouth might not indicate it, the eventually lopsided contest started close, with the Big Green shooting well from the perimeter and the Crimson starters failing to rebound effectively. At the first media timeout, with just under 16 minutes to play in the first half, the heavily favored Crimson (12-4, 2-0 Ivy) found themselves trailing Dartmouth (3-13, 0-2), 10-7.

But coming out of the stoppage, the game turned. After the teams exchanged baskets, with a three-pointer by Dartmouth guard Fanni Szabo giving the Big Green a 13-9 lead, Dartmouth winger Milica Toskovic—a paint presence at 6’2”—committed her second personal foul and went to the bench. With Toskovic out, both teams took the opportunity to replace starters with fresher reserves. In this stretch and for the rest of the game, Harvard’s surging second unit took over, recapturing the lead and never giving it back to the Big Green.



After Toskovic retired to the sidelines, a group of Harvard reserves went on to make their mark on the game. Senior center Elise Gordon entered for junior forward Temi Fagbenle. With Fagbenle on the bench, Gordon helped the Crimson continue to establish a dominant presence in the paint, showing impressive strength on two layups from beneath the basket.

“Elise is playing like a senior and just doing so much,” coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “She’s a talker and communicator on the floor, and she’s poised and she’s smart, [and] she’s being stepping up exactly like we want her to.”

Senior guard Jasmine Evans, a mainstay off the bench this season for the Crimson who has averaged eight points per game, provided a spark when she replaced fellow senior Melissa Mullins. With the game still close in the first half, Evans outhustled three Dartmouth players to win a loose ball on the Crimson’s baseline, and then threw the ball off an unsuspecting Big Green defender and out of bounds, earning the Crimson another possession. Evans finished with five points and two rebounds in 13 minutes of play.

But perhaps the biggest performance came from Kit Metoyer, a sophomore point guard who has occasionally had trouble on defense despite strong shooting and ball-movement skills. But on Friday, Metoyer was solid on both sides of the ball, and got the green light to turn on her three-point offense. Shooting from well-beyond the arc, Metoyer connected on three deep threes that served as back-breakers for the Big Green and sent the crowd at Lavietes to its feet.


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