Harvard vs. New Hampshire
Harvard kicks off the WNIT Tournament with a first round game at New Hampshire. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard (20-8, 8-6 Ivy League) was selected to the WNIT for the seventh time in program history on Monday, marking the program's 13th postseason appearance. The Crimson will take on New Hampshire (26-5), the America East regular season champion on Friday at 7 p.m. in Durham, N.H.. Harvard will be making its fifth appearance in the WNIT over the past six seasons. Harvard and New Hampshire have played 27 times, with the Wildcats owning a 17-10 advantage in the all-time series. The Crimson has won the last three games in the series, including a 63-44 victory on Nov. 28, 2012 at Lavietes Pavilion in the last meeting.
HARVARD AND THE WNIT
Harvard has made seven appearances in the WNIT, most among Ivy League schools, and on March 15, 2012 the Crimson earned the first WNIT win in Ancient Eight history with its 73-71 victory at Hofstra. Harvard followed that victory up a year later with a 61-57 win at Hartford in the first round of the 2013 tournament. The Crimson became the first team in conference history to earn an at-large berth to a postseason tournament with an invitation to the WNIT in 2014.
ROUX CONNECTION TO UNH
Harvard assistant coach Mike Roux served as an assistant/associate head coach at New Hampshire from 2010-15. During his tenure at UNH, Roux coached 10 all-conference players. He also served as acting head coach for 14 games during the 2012-13 season.
20 IS A MAGIC NUMBER
At 20-8, Harvard clinched its 25th winning season in the 35-year tenure of head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. Harvard is approaching the program mark for wins in a single season, as the legendary 1997-98 team finished the season 23-5. Harvard clinched its twelfth 20-win season (and first since 2013-14), all during Delaney-Smith's tenure.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Last Saturday (March 11), sophomores Madeline Raster and Sydney Skinner each scored 11 points for the Harvard, but the Crimson fell to Princeton by a score of 68-47 in the Ivy League Tournament semifinal round.
ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE
• At 26-5, New Hampshire set a school record for wins this season, a 14-win improvement after a 12-18 season last year. New Hampshire head coach Maureen Magarity is one of four finalists for the NCAA Division 1 Coach of the Year award presented by the WBCA. The America East regular season champion, New Hampshire fell to Maine in the America East semifinals, 61-52, on March 5 in its most recent game.
• UNH is led by junior center Carlie Pogue, the America East Player of the Year. Pogue averages 16.9 points per game, and 7.3 rebounds per game. Two other players average in double figures - Brittni Lai (10.9 ppg) and Kat Fogarty (10.5 ppg). Senior point guard Kristen Anderson averages 5.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. The Wildcats have one of the top defensive units in the nation, as UNH holds opponents to just 54.5 points per game. (11th, NCAA)
• On Nov. 28, 2012 in the last meeting between the two teams, Victoria Lippert scored 17 second-half points to help Harvard cruise to a 63-44 win over New Hampshire at Lavietes Pavilion. Lippert finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Christine Clark chipped in 13 points and recorded game-highs in rebounds (8) and assists (4). Temi Fagbenle notched nine points and Ali Curtis turned in eight. Harvard shot just 38.6 percent for the game but went 7-of-18 from deep and 12-of-13 at the line.
Harvard (148 blocks, 5.3 per game) is on pace to near the team record for blocked shots in a season (157, 5.8 per game in 1988-89). Harvard is led by freshman Jeannie Boehm (66 blocks, 2.4 blocks per game, 27th NCAA), the team's top shot-blocker.
BENZAN AUTOMATIC AT THE LINE
Freshman Katie Benzan has been near automatic from the foul line at 94.1% (64-for-68), leading the Ivy League. Benzan (2.3 FTs made/game) is just shy of the NCAA statistical minimum (2.5 FTs made/game), but would be No. 1 in the nation in free-throw shooting should she exceed the minimum at the same rate.
FEASTER A LEGEND OF IVY BASKETBALL
The Ivy League will honor Allison Feaster '98 this weekend at the inaugural Ivy League Tournament as one of Harvard's first Legends of Ivy League Basketball. A three-time Ivy League Player of the Year and four-time First-Team All-Ivy selection, Feaster led the Crimson to three-straight Ivy League titles in 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98 and is Harvard's all-time leader in points (2,312), rebounds (1,157), offensive rebounds (440), steals (290), field goals made (771) and free throws made (475).
FROM WAY DOWNTOWN
Through 28 games this season, Harvard has established itself as one of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation. Harvard ranks among the top teams in the nation in three-point field goals per game (6.9, 81st). Freshman Katie Benzan leads the team with 79 three-pointers on the year and a .393 three-point field goal percentage. (50th, NCAA) She is on pace to break the school record for three-pointers made, held by Erin Maher (80 in 1990-91). With 193 three pointers, Harvard is on pace to near the program record for threes in one season (205 in 1995-96 and 2009-10).
CLEANING THE GLASS
Harvard entered the week ranked 21st in the nation averaging 42.3 rebounds per game, and has an average rebounding margin of +4.4. Harvard recorded a season high 61 rebounds vs. NJIT on Dec. 4, the most for the team in a game since 1993-94. With 1,185 rebounds, Harvard will near the team's single season rebounding record (1,283 in 2013-14).
Dating back to the start of 2011-12, the Crimson is 55-7 when holding opponents to less than 60 points and 94-31 when allowing fewer than 70 points.
LIGHTS OUT FROM THE FIELD
In the win against Yale, Harvard shot 57.1% (28-for-49) from the field, its highest mark in a single game this season, and the best shooting performance by a Harvard team since shoting 58.2% in a win against Columbia on Feb. 14, 2014.
STREAK MATCHES SCHOOL RECORD
Harvard's 16-game winning streak, which spanned 79 days over the course of four calendar months (Nov. 15 - Feb. 3), matched the team record 16-game winning streak that took place during the second half of the 2002-03 season.
RASTER AND SKINNER STEP UP
Harvard sophomore guards Madeline Raster and Sydney Skinner have thrived in new roles this season. Through 28 games in 2016-17, the duo has combined for 19.5 points (30.5% of team scoring), 9.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Skinner notched a career high 23 points in a 62-59 win over Cornell (Jan. 27), and Raster went for a career best 24 points in Harvard's 76-56 win over Yale (Feb. 12).
DELANEY-SMITH RECORDS 550TH WIN
Harvard head coach Kathleen Delaney-Smith recorded her 550th win against Fairfield on Nov. 26, becoming the 45th Division I women's head coach to reach that milestone. Delaney-Smith owns a 566-383 (.597) all-time record.
Harvard has posted .500-or-better records away from home in five of the last six seasons. Harvard was 7-9 away from Lavietes in 2015-16. The Crimson is 8-5 in road contests during the 2016-17 season.
IT'S UP, AND IT'S GOOD
Harvard broke the school record for consecutive games with at least one three-pointer against Dartmouth two years ago (1/24/15). The Crimson has made at least one three-point field goal in 236-consecutive games dating back to 2008-09. The previous streak (172)