Ivy Opponents to Test Women's Basketball

Published by Brian A. Campos on February 10, 2011 at 10:11PM

By the end of this weekend, the Harvard women’s basketball team will have played every Ivy League opponent once. The question is: will it remain undefeated in league play?

As the Crimson has learned thus far, every game must be treated like it’s a do-or-die situation. In the second weekend of Ivy competition, Columbia—at the time 2-14 overall and 1-1 in Ivy play after having split its series with Cornell—could have upset Harvard had it not been for rookie Christine Clark’s shot with three seconds left to play.

This past Saturday, a day after securing a close win against defending Ivy champs Princeton, the Crimson almost fell to another lowly team—this time, Penn. The Quakers finished dead last the previous season and were projected to have a similar fate this year by the 2010-11 Ivy League Women’s Basketball Preseason Media/SID poll (and by The Harvard Crimson’s 2010-11 Basketball Supplement). Penn was 1-3 when it came to Lavietes Pavilion, but it didn’t play like a team with a losing record. Instead, Quaker guard Alyssa Baron went bonkers, lighting up the scoreboard for 38 points in a double-overtime effort.

Now that we have gone over a little history, what can we say about the two upcoming games? Friday night’s encounter with Yale should be one that Harvard can win. The Bulldogs are currently third in the Ivy League with a 4-2 record but were soundly defeated by both the Tigers and the Lions this season. Yale will probably be in the hunt for a spot in the WNIT though, and an upset against Harvard can bring the Bulldogs one step closer to that goal.

The next day, the Crimson will face current bottom-dweller of the Ivy League standings, Brown. If this trend of lowly teams giving Harvard trouble persists, then this game is anything but an assured win. The Bears have gained some confidence after handily beating Cornell at Ithaca last Saturday, so they have nothing to lose by going at the Crimson with everything they have. If the stars line up correctly (Harvard shoots the ball poorly and Brown comes out strong), the Bears can cause some real chaos in the standings.

After last weekend, the Crimson has made it known that it’s the team to beat in the Ivy League. The second half of the conference season will surely put that reputation on the line.