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NOTEBOOK: Defense Scuttles Strong Offensive Performance by Women's Basketball

By Phillip Yu, Crimson Staff Writer

It was game of runs on Tuesday night for the Harvard women’s basketball team, who lost at home, 85-81, against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night. Despite setting a number of season highs on the offensive end of the ball, the Crimson (4-5) struggled on the defensive end, ultimately leading to a loss in the high-scoring affair.

Junior guard Cha Sweeney had 31 points—including 15 in the third quarter—for the visiting Eagles (5-2), who evened out the all-time series record to one win apiece.


The Crimson lit up the court on the offensive end, as the team shot 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from deep. Co-captain and guard Kit Metoyer paced the way for Harvard, scoring a career high 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting from deep.

“[My teammates] were finding me early and getting me the ball in a really good spot, so I actually have the easy job of just shooting the shot,” Metoyer said. “I know my teammates and coaches have confidence in me every time I shoot the ball.”

Senior forward Shilpa Tummala also had a strong day from the three-point line, shooting 4-for-5 from downtown on her way to 12 points. Three other players—freshman guard Madeline Raster, co-captain AnnMarie Healy, and junior forward Destiny Nunley—were also in double figures, a season high for the Harvard squad.

Indeed, the Crimson set season-highs in many offensive categories—including field goals, field goal percentage, three-point field goals, and three-point field goal percentage. Harvard’s 81 points were also the most by the squad since February, when it scored 82 in a one-point win over Columbia.


Despite shooting well all night, the Crimson struggled on the defensive end, where it faced a huge deficit in attempts from the charity stripe.

Harvard, in fact, made more field goals than the Eagles but attempted only 10 free throws to the Eagle’s 24. Once at the charity stripe, the Crimson also struggled with shooting the ball, only converting 50 percent of its attempts.

“Everybody else has to want the ball more and work harder on the offensive boards, get to the line a little more,” Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “All we talked about was stopping the drive, and all we did was allow them to go the basket—and then foul them.”

Sweeney led Eastern Michigan in free throws, going 6-for-6. In comparison, the entire Crimson squad only made five free throws combined.


The defensive woes for the Crimson continued in the turnovers category, as Eastern Michigan stole the ball 13 times on the way to 20 turnovers for the Crimson. The Eagles had just six turnovers.

“Just bizarre passes, stupid passes,” Delaney-Smith said. “We’ve been pretty good for a young team that likes to run with our turnovers, so why tonight… I don’t know. I was very surprised by some of our decisions in our passes.”

The Crimson had particular trouble with Sweeney, a 5’2” guard for the Eagles, who drove into the lane at will for either an easy layup or a kick-out to an open shooter. Sweeney spearheaded a game-changing 15-0 run by Eastern Michigan in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in that timeframe to turn a ten point deficit into a five point lead.

“Stopping her [Sweeney] 1-on-1 wasn’t gonna be the way to go…. She really hurt us today because I think we lacked that help-side defense.” Metoyer said.

Overall, it was a lackluster defensive performance by the Harvard squad, which has now dropped three straight games after winning four of six to start the season.

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