Season Preview: Talented Harvard Squad Seeks 12th Ivy League Title in 2009-10

The 2009-10 Harvard women's basketball team photo courtesy of David Silverman Photography.

The Harvard women’s basketball team returns six players from last season, where the Crimson won an impressive 19 games and made its seventh postseason appearance in the last 14 seasons. Harvard finished second in the Ivy League standings last year after winning back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.

Four returning players have appeared in the starting line-up, while five Crimson athletes averaged 17 or more minutes per game last season. The Crimson returns two of its top three scorers in Emma Markley and Brogan Berry. Markley, a second-team All-Ivy League recipient, led the Crimson with 14.0 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game. She led the league in blocks, was fifth in scoring and sixth in rebounding. Berry was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and earned conference honorable mention and all-rookie distinction. She was third on the Crimson and ninth in the conference in scoring with 11.7 ppg. She led the conference in three-point shooting at 41 percent.

Four Harvard players have started for the Crimson, while all seven returning players (Lindsay Louie returns after taking 2008-09 off) have seen time on the hardwood. Junior co-captain Christine Matera, who played in all 29 games, led the Crimson and was 10th in the league in three-point shooting. She was tied for sixth on the team in scoring with 5.4 points per game. Matera scored in double figures six times including a career-high 17 against Penn. Classmate and co-captain Claire Wheeler made seven starts and played in all 29 contests. She was tied for sixth on the team in scoring with 5.4 points per game and was second in rebounding with 5.3 rpg. Junior Jackie Alemany made nine starts and played in 27 games for the Crimson. She was third on the team in steals with 27 and averaged 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 points per game. Her best career performance came against Yale when she scored 23 points and grabbed six steals.

Sophomores Lindsay Louie and Caitlin Rowland each have one year of playing time for the Crimson. Both players have provided depth off the bench along with a quickness that has frustrated the opponents’ defense. Harvard’s five newcomers will make an immediate impact on the program. The freshmen include Jasmine Evans (Menlo Park, Calif.), Emma Golen (Novi, Mich.), Elle Hagedorn (Ambler, Pa.), Victoria Lippert (Del Mar, Calif.) and Miriam Rutzen (Blandinsville, Ill.).

Harvard will play 28 games in 2009-10 and host 13 games at Lavietes Pavilion, including six non-conference opponents. Four of Harvard's opponents reached the postseason last winter. The Crimson will play Navy, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and New Orleans for the first time in program history and could face Georgia Southern for the first time at the 23rd Annual Coors Classic.

The 2009-10 slate begins Nov. 14 with Harvard’s home and season opener against local rival Boston College. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.