The Harvard women's basketball team held its annual end of the season banquet Wednesday night at the Stockyard in Brighton. The Crimson honored its four seniors and handed out awards.
Senior co-captain Emily Tay, a three-time first-team All-Ivy League recipient, received the Most Valuable Player award. Tay became the 13th basketball player at Harvard to record 1,000 points and, by the end of the season, had moved into eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,263 points. She finished her career second on the all-time assists lists with 517 hand outs and also made her third entry on the single season assists list with 151 helpers, which ranks fifth.
Senior Emma Moretzsohn was presented with the team's Most Improved honor. Moretzsohn really turned it on in the second half of her senior season, helping to fill the void while starting forward Katie Rollins was injured for most of February. Her playing time increased and her consistency on offense and defense continued as she averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in the final eight games on the season, which included a team- and season-best 10 against Brown.
Sophomore Jackie Alemany received the Best Defender Award. The Scarsdale, N.Y., native started the final seven games on the season and nine total. She often had the task of guarding some of the best players in the league and more often than not was able to prevent her opponent from scoring, whether it was forcing her to pass or stealing the ball away. She had the best game of her career against Yale, collecting six steals to go along with a career-high 13 points.
Senior co-captain Niki Finelli was given the Harvard Pride Award. Finelli was a leader on and off the court. An injury in mid February forced her to the sidelines, but she was there for guidance and to simply cheer her teammates on. She is a true leader on and off the court. She played in 22 games and averaged 8.0 points per game. She made 40 percent of her shots from beyond the arc and was a blistering 95.5 percent from the free throw line.
Six players will return for the Crimson in 2009-10. Juniors Christine Matera and Claire Wheeler were selected by the team to serve as team captains next year.
Harvard went 19-10 overall and 11-3 in the Ivy League to finish second in the conference standings. The Crimson made its seventh postseason appearance and first in the Women's NIT. The program also reached a milestone when it recorded its 500th win in January and became the first Ivy League institution and first school in the city of Boston to accomplish that feat. The Crimson's 19 victories were the most since 2004-05 and Harvard's first ever appearance in the Women's NIT marked the Crimson's second postseason trip in three years and seventh in the last 14 seasons.