Off to its best start since 1997-98, Harvard women's basketball (6-1) rides its six-game win streak into Saturday's game at St. John's. Streamed through WatchESPN.com, the tip is set for 2 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena.
Last Time Out
Senior captain Christine Clark matched her career high with 28 points, as Harvard held on to defeat Northeastern, 81-74, Tuesday night at the Cabot Center. Junior Temi Fagbenle recorded her ninth career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Crimson past the Huskies. Junior guard Ali Curtis registered a career game with 16 points – including 11 in the first half – and four triples.
Head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, in her 32nd season at the helm of the Crimson, earned her 500th win at Colgate Nov. 23, joining a group of 28 active coaches in Division I with at least 500 wins. She is also one of six active Division I head coaches to spend 31-plus years at one institution.
The winningest coach in Ivy League women's basketball history with 501 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 closing in on 300 career wins in the conference with 295 victories against the Ivy League.
What a Start
For the first time since 1997-98, Harvard is off to a 6-1 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.
Shooting up the scoring list, Christine Clark sits at No. 8 in program history with 1,408 points over her three-plus year career. She needs 50 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.
Scouting St. John's
2013-14 RECORD: 4-1, 0-0 BIG EAST
SERIES HISTORY: Tied, 1-1
STREAK: W, 1
LAST MEETING: W, 63-56 (Dec. 22, 2011)
LAST WIN: Same
• After opening the season with four-straight wins, St. John's dropped a 72-68 decision at Florida on Tuesday. A late rally fell short despite 18 points from sophomore Aliyyah Handford and 17 from senior Briana Brown.
• Handford paces the Red Storm with 24.2 points per game, adding 9.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Brown chips in 13.2 points, while pulling down 6.2 boards per game. SJU has four players contributing 7.0 points-or-more. Seven players have seen action in all five games.
• Starting his second season at the helm of the Red Storm, head coach Joe Tartamella has been stationed in Queens since 2002. Tartamella started as a graduate assistant and served as the associate head coach for four years before being promoted to head coach. The James Madison grad was an integral part of the SJU staff that went to the NCAA tournament five times.
• The all-time series with St. John's stands tied at 1-1, after Harvard won the last meeting, 63-56, at Lavietes Pavilion. Four Crimson players scored 12 points apiece to lead the squad to its first win over a BIG EAST team in eight years.
Ancient Eight Accolades
Two Crimson student-athletes have earned Ivy League Player of the Week accolades thus far this season.
Christine Clark earned the honor after pacing the Crimson with 21.0 points per game for the week ending Nov. 18. Temi Fagbenle was tabbed player of the week after averaging a double-double (12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds) in a 2-0 week ending Nov. 25.
Clark now owns eight conference weekly honors for her career, which stands good for seventh in Ancient Eight history. After tying for the most Ivy Rookie of the Week honors a season ago, Fagbenle has been selected for best player over a seven-day stretch three times.
Better and Better
Through seven games this season, Christine Clark (28 points), Erin McDonnell (19 points), Ali Curtis (16 points), AnnMarie Healy (13 points), Melissa Mullins (12 rebounds), Shilpa Tummala (14 points) and Taylor Finley (six points) have all matched or bested their career highs.
Temi Fagbenle posted seven double-doubles in 2012-13 and has already recorded two double-doubles this season (Cal Poly, Northeastern). The seven a year ago signaled the most for the Crimson since Emma Markley '11 turned in seven as a junior in 2009-10. Fagbenle's first double-double came opening weekend at North Dakota, making her the first Crimson rookie to record a double-double in her first weekend of action since Hannah Peljto '04 went for 21 points and 10 rebounds in the season opener against Saint Peter's on Nov. 17, 2000.
The Crimson is 6-1 in the month of November, setting a new program record for wins before December. Last season, Harvard won five of seven games, which had been a program best.
You Can Count on Clark
Christine Clark has started all 95 games for the Crimson over the last three-plus years and has scored in double-digits 79 times. This includes a streak of 21 consecutive 10-plus point performances (March 5, 2011-Feb. 4, 2012) and 18 games in which she has scored at least 20 (last at Northeastern). Clark has posted 20-plus points in six-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 14.0 points per game as a class.
Harvard sits at 2-1 in true road games and 3-1 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.
• Christine Clark has scored 20-plus points in each of the last six games, averaging 22.3 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.
• The Crimson has won six-straight games and is off to its best start since 1997-98.
• Kathy Delaney-Smith has used the same starters – Ali Curtis, Christine Clark, Temi Fagbenle, Melissa Mullins and Erin McDonnell – in all seven 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 5-0 when leading at the half.
• Harvard has not lost (3-0) when allowing 69 points or fewer.
• When scoring 80-plus points, the Crimson is 4-0 this season.
Owning the Boards
Senior Melissa Mullins has paced the Crimson in rebounding in five of seven games this season, averaging an Ivy League-best 9.1 boards per game. The swing player has grabbed 10-plus boards three times. Harvard has had a player pull down 10-plus boards in four games and two players tally double-digit rebounds in two contests.
Cleaning the Glass
As a team, the Crimson has outrebounded its opponent four 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 4-0 mark this year when controlling the glass.
Boards on Boards
Temi Fagbenle has pulled down 10-plus rebounds in three games and paced the Crimson in boards over the last three games. Since Nov. 19, the junior is pulling down 11.0 rebounds per game.
The Crimson has won six of its seven 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 has posted at least eight non-conference wins in five-straight seasons.
It's Up, and It's Good
Harvard has made at least one three-point field goal in 135 consecutive games dating back to 2008-09, the second-longest streak in program history. The record for consecutive games with at least one three-pointer stands at 172, a streak which began during the 1989-90 season and concluded in 1996-97.