As the Harvard women’s basketball team (12-4, 2-0 Ivy) returned to the familiar space of Lavietes Pavilion after a four game road trip, it was a slightly less familiar set of faces leading the Crimson to a win against Dartmouth (3-13, 0-2) Saturday night. The Crimson’s bench players proved powerful on and off the ball, providing important defensive stops and a collective 35 points of scoring, en route to a 77-59 rout .
The game was a marked improvement from the squad’s last outing against the Big Green on Jan. 11, which was a much more tenuous victory, 73-63, in Hanover.
“They play the classic underdog,” said coach Kathy-Delaney Smith of Dartmouth. “They have nothing to lose so that’s your classic ‘go after us’ and that’s always a dangerous matchup.”
However, the team did not take the Ancient Eight opponent lightly and used the first matchup to improve the second time around. With two weeks between meetings, the Crimson took the time to review film and resolve the imperfections it experienced earlier in January. Most importantly, the team focused on blocking the Big Green’s post players.
“They create their three-point shots by driving and trying to kick it out,” Delaney-Smith said. “[Sophomore forward Lakin Roland] just bulled us over…. She just powered through us in the paint and that shouldn’t happen. We wanted to take the paint away.”
Roland is one of the inside players who have been leading the Dartmouth charge in recent weeks, having scored in the double digits in seven of her last eight games coming into to Saturday’s matchup. Roland, however, got into foul trouble early, and retired to the bench. Her 16 points may have topped the Dartmouth stat sheet, but it was not enough for the Big Green.
“We really were trying to get to our game the whole first half, and really running and getting to our inside presence,” said Crimson co-captain Christine Clark. “It didn’t really matter what they were doing it was just us getting to where we wanted to go.”
Clark once again led the offensive charge for Harvard, scoring a game-high 17 points, but it wasn’t just the starters who had flashy offensive play.
The bench as a whole provided nearly half the team’s points, sparked by the scoring performances of Kit Metoyer, AnnMarie Healy, and Elise Gordon. Metoyer and Healy, who are both sophomores, had career highs in points, with nine and 13 respectively.
“It feels great because we know that…we all have a purpose for this team,” Healy said. “We are a puzzle and everyone has a piece to that and everyone can help towards our goals for this season.”
The Crimson got out to a slow start, allowing Dartmouth the chance to take and make outside shots to put them up early, 13-9 at the first media timeout. With strong defense from junior forward Temi Fagbenle in the paint, the interior game was not an option, so senior Big Green guard Nicola Zimmer moved the game to the perimeter to try and connect with the basket from further out.
Harvard didn’t let Dartmouth get into a rhythm for long, as a breakout scoring sequence following the under-12 timeout in the first half gave Harvard a lead it would not relinquish. Tied at 15-all, senior guard Jasmine Evans drilled a trey to start a run to grow Harvard’s lead to double digits, 28-16.
Scoring only two fastbreak points, the Crimson was able to set up its offense nearly every time down the floor, creating an opportunity for players to make passes and cuts in order to get open. Throughout the night, they were rarely forced to rush the shot.
“As a team we have some unbelievable shooters and we have great distributors who can find people in their spots,” Metoyer said. “We are a very unselfish team.”
The two W’s against Dartmouth mark the start of the Ivy League portion of Harvard’s season, as the rest of their regular season schedule consists solely of conference opponents. Saturday’s win has given the team confidence as they continue in hopes of clinching an Ivy title, a feat it has not accomplished since the 2007-2008 season.
“It might be the best we’ve played all year team-wise,” Clark said. “We showed a lot on how deep we are.”
—Staff writer Theresa Hebert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Most Powerful Man in Cambridge
City Council To Hire Outside Firm for Manager SearchAn outside firm will be hired to expedite the process of selecting a new city manager to replace Cambridge’s longtime head government employee, Cambridge City Councillor David P. Maher said on Monday.
City Council Criticizes Police Response to Wild Hotel PartyTwo Cambridge police officers responding to a noise disturbance in a room filled with 30 people found alcohol, marijuana, and three loaded guns.
“Ginger & Rosa” Underwhelms“Ginger & Rosa” prevails upon itself to depict the incredible tension of Cold War-era London, but the film struggles due to a weak storyline and poor character development. Fanning’s incredible acting saves what is otherwise a heavy-handed and overly dramatic film.
City Council Moves To Explore Fossil Fuels DivestmentAt Robert W. Healy’s last Cambridge City Council meeting as city manager Monday evening, the Council made a move to look into divestment from fossil fuels.
NOTEBOOK: Sophomores Show Growth in VictoryLast year, then-freshmen AnnMarie Healy, Shilpa Tummala, and Kit Metoyer combined for 49 points through the entire 2012-13 campaign. This season, the trio of sophomores on the Harvard women’s basketball team is just a point shy of that mark in just three contests.