In search of her 500th career win, head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith will lead the Harvard women's basketball team into a five-game road swing Saturday afternoon at Colgate University. Harvard is off to its best start at 4-1 since the 2004-05 season.
Last Time Out
Harvard outscored FIU 41-20 in the second half en route to a 64-52 comeback win Tuesday night at Lavietes Pavilion. Senior captain Christine Clark posted 20-plus points for the fourth straight game, leading the Crimson with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting. It marked the largest Crimson comeback since 2009, as Harvard shot 46.2 percent from the floor in the second half, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc. The Crimson also got to the line 14 times over the second 20 minutes, converting 12 free throws. Junior Temi Fagbenle pulled down a season high 13 rebounds and chipped in nine points. Senior Melissa Mullins was also a force on the glass, grabbing 10 boards - her third 10-plus rebound game this season. Senior Elise Gordon put forth a tremendous effort with eight points and five rebounds.
Head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, in her 32nd season at the helm of the Crimson, is rapidly approaching her 500th win. The winningest coach in Ivy League women's basketball history with 499 career victories, she ranks second only to Princeton's legendary coach Pete Carril (514) for wins by an Ancient Eight coach on either the men's or women's side. Delaney-Smith is also one of six Division I active coaches to complete 31-plus years at one institution. Delaney-Smith is closing in on 300 career wins in the conference with 295 victories against the Ivy League.
Scouting Colgate University
STREAK: W, 1
SERIES HISTORY: HARVARD LEADS, 4-1
LAST MEETING: W, 69-54 (JAN. 7, 2003)
LAST WIN: SAME
• Colgate dropped two-straight games to open the season before rebounding against St. Francis (Pa.) last Saturday. The Raiders fell to Ivy League opponent Cornell, 76-62, to open the season and also dropped a 77-72 decision against St. Bonaventure.
• Junior guard Mariah Jones paces the squad with 15.0 points per game. Classmate Carole Harris adds 11.0 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game. Colgate is averaging 77.0 points through three games and shoots 42.6 percent from behind the arc.
• Nicci Hays Fort begins her third year at Colgate, holding a 19-45 record. Hays Fort arrived in Hamilton after serving as the associate head coach at DePaul University, where the Blue Demons were 112-54 (.675) during her time.
• Harvard holds a 4-1 all-time series advantage over Colgate, last meeting in 2003. The Crimson has won three-straight in a series that dates back to 1984.
Christine Clark sits at No. 8 in program history with 1,338 points over her three-plus year career. She needs 120 points to tie Brogan Berry '12, who sits at seventh all-time with 1,458 points. Clark became the 18th member of Harvard's 1,000 point club Jan. 2, 2012, as she scored 19 points against UMass. Clark reached the milestone in just her 71st career game, making her the fastest Crimson to reach 1,000 points since Reka Cserny '05 did so in her 60th career appearance.
Including this year, Harvard has had at least one 1,000 point scorer on the floor in five of the last six seasons. Additionally, each of Harvard's 18 1,000 point scorers has been coached by head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith.
Just Keep Winning
Tuesday, the Crimson extended its home winning streak to 17 games, marking the longest run since 1996-98, when the Crimson ripped off 21-straight wins at Lavietes. Harvard posted a perfect 11-0 record at home in 2012-13 and has not lost in Cambridge since Feb. 11, 2012. Before 2012-13, the last time Harvard went unbeaten at home was in 1997-98 when the team went 13-0 en route to a 23-5 overall mark.
Ancient Eight Accolades
Pacing the Crimson with 21.0 points per game this week, Christine Clark was named the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week Monday.
Clark now owns eight conference weekly honors for her career, which stands good for seventh in Ancient Eight history. The Tucson, Ariz., native earned four a season ago.
Clark posted 21 points in each of Harvard's two wins, shooting a combined 15-of-32 from the floor while hitting 9-of-10 free throws. The Crimson captain added 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the week.
What a Start
For the first time since 2004-05, Harvard is off to a 4-1 record. Harvard's 7-3 record to start the season last year ranked as the second-best record through 10 games in program history. The Crimson has gone 8-2 three times, most recently in 1997-98 en route to a 23-5 overall record and an Ivy League title.
Better and Better
Through five games this season, Erin McDonnell (13 points), AnnMarie Healy (13 points), Melissa Mullins (12 rebounds), Shilpa Tummala (14 points) and Taylor Finley (six points) all bested their career highs.
You Can Count on Clark
Christine Clark has started all 93 games for the Crimson over the last three-plus years and has scored in double-digits 77 times. This includes a streak of 21 consecutive 10-plus point performances (March 5, 2011-Feb. 4, 2012) and 17 games in which she has scored at least 20 (last vs. FIU). Clark has posted 20-plus points in four-straight games.
After averaging a combined 1.63 points per game in 4.6 minutes a game, the sophomore class seems to have found its stride in 2013-14. AnnMarie Healy (13), Kit Metoyer (3) and Shilpa Tummala (14) have all matched or bested their career highs in points and are contributing 15.0 points per game as a class.
Owning the Boards
Senior Melissa Mullins has paced the Crimson in rebounding in every game this season, averaging an Ivy League-best 9.8 boards per game. The swing player has grabbed 10-plus boards three times over the last five games. Harvard has had a player pull down 10-plus boards in three games and two players tally double-digit rebounds in two contests.
Cleaning the Glass
As a team, the Crimson has outrebounded its opponent three times this year and in 23 of 30 games last season. Harvard owned a 19-4 record when doing so in 2012-13 and posts a 3-0 mark this year when controlling the glass.
The Crimson is 4-1 in the month of November. Last year, Harvard went 5-2 in the month of Thanksgiving to set a new program record for wins before December.
• Christine Clark has scored 20-plus points in each of the last four games, averaging 21.3 over that span.
• Harvard has won its last 17 contests at Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson's last loss at home was to Princeton on Feb. 11, 2012.
• Kathy Delaney-Smith has used the same starters – Ali Curtis, Christine Clark, Temi Fagbenle, Melissa Mullins and Erin McDonnell – in all five games this season.
• Harvard's 21 wins last season were the most since winning 22 in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
• Harvard won 10 games on the road last season, its most since winning 10 in 2008-09.
• The Crimson sits at 3-0 when leading at the half.
• Harvard has not lost (3-0) when allowing 69 points or fewer.
The Crimson has won four of its five non-conference matches this season. Harvard closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 9-5 record a year ago, marking the program's third-best non-conference record under head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and the fifth-best non-conference record all-time. Harvard has earned 11 out-of-league victories twice under Delaney-Smith, turning in an 11-3 record in 1997-98 and going 11-4 in 1985-86. The 1976-77 squad owns the program record for non-conference wins at 13-4 while the 1978-79 Crimson went 12-9 away from the Ivy League.
Harvard sits at 0-1 in true road games and 1-1 overall when playing outside Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson will play 17 games away from Cambridge in 2013-14. Last year, Harvard was 10-7 in true road games. It marked the most road victories for the Crimson since 2008-09 and was the second-straight year the team posted a winning record away from home.