Women's Basketball Tips Off Season at Hawkeye Challenge

Women's Basketball Tips Off Season at Hawkeye Challenge

2011 Ivy League All-Rookie honoree Christine Clark and the Crimson are set to open the 2011-12 season at the Hawkeye Challenge (Gil Talbot).

The Storyline
The Harvard women's basketball team begins play in the program's 38th season this weekend at the KCRG-TV 9 Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa. The Crimson will first take on the host Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. Harvard will face either Butler or UNLV in its second game Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1:00 p.m.

How to Watch
Saturday's contest between the Crimson and Hawkeyes will be streamed live on HawkeyeSports.com via the BTN Digital Network. Fans can also visit the Hawkeye Challenge Tournament Central page for live stats throughout the weekend.

Welcome Back
The Crimson return three All-Ivy selections and a total of 10 student-athletes from last year's team which went 18-10 overall and finished second in the Ivy League with a 10-4 conference mark. Headlining that group is senior co-captain Brogan Berry, a three-time All-Ivy honoree and first team pick in 2011. Victoria Lippert has been named to the second team in each of the past two seasons and Christine Clark was an Ivy League All-Rookie pick a year ago. Each of the three finished among the top 10 in scoring in the conference in 2010-11.

Starting Fresh
Harvard has welcomed five new faces to the team for 2011-12, a recruiting class which was ranked 31st in the nation by ESPN. This group includes guards Ali Curtis and Kaitlyn Dinkins, and forwards Temi Fagbenle, Christine Mansour and Erin McDonnell.

"In my 30 years in the league I have had and seen some extraordinary classes, and this one shoots to the top of the list, " said Head Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. "With the addition of the Class of 2015, we are extremely excited to continue striving for higher levels of success while building on the championship tradition we have established here at Harvard."

On the Bench
Head Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith returns for her 30th season as the head coach of the Harvard women's basketball program. Delaney-Smith's 456 career victories make her the winningest women's basketball coach in Ivy League history and she ranks second only to Princeton's legendary coach Pete Carril (514) for wins by an Ancient Eight coach. Under her guidance the Crimson has won 11 Ivy League titles, has made six trips to the NCAA Tournament and has twice appeared in the WNIT.

Kelly Finley is in her fourth season as an assistant coach under Delaney-Smith and will be joined on sidelines by first year assistants Lindsay Hallion '08 and Juanise Cornell. Kristan Strout returns for a fifth season as the program's director of basketball operations.

Preseason Poll
With three returning All-Ivy selections and coming off an 18-10 season, the Harvard women's basketball team was picked second in the 2011-12 Ivy League Preseason Poll. The Crimson, which has finished second in the conference in each of the past three seasons, received 117 points and garnered three of the poll's first-place votes. Two-time defending Ivy League Champion Princeton was tabbed first, receiving 133 points and 14 first-place votes, while Yale (103) and Penn (68) rounded out the top four. Brown (66), Columbia (52), Dartmouth (52) and Cornell (21) ranked fifth through eighth, respectively.

2011-12 Ivy League Preseason Poll
1. Princeton (14) 133
2. Harvard (3) 117
3. Yale 103
4. Penn 68
5. Brown 66
6. Columbia 52
    Dartmouth 52
8. Cornell 21

Mid-Major Top 25
Harvard was listed as receiving votes in the CollegeInsider.com Preseason Mid-Major Top 25. The Crimson was one of three Ivy League teams included in the poll, with Princeton garnering the No. 4 spot and Penn also receiving votes. Other 2011-12 opponents in the poll include Hartford (RV), Butler (RV) and Boston University (RV).

Player to Watch
Senior co-captain Brogan Berry, who led the Crimson with 13.6 ppg and 4.6 apg last season, has been featured on Graham Hays' list of mid-major players to watch on ESPN.

Senior co-captain Brogan Berry has been selected as a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Berry, a three-time All-Ivy honoree and 1,000 point scorer, is a psychology concentrator at Harvard and has been a member of the university's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years. During the 2009-10 academic year she served as the committee's community service co-chair and was responsible for raising more than $1,700 towards breast cancer research with the event Bench Press for Breast Cancer. Berry is also actively involved with the organization Athletes in Action, is a member of Harvard's Isis Club, and has led her teammates in several community service initiatives in the Cambridge community.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

Berry is one of 30 women's basketball student-athletes up for the award, and from the list of 30 candidates a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in late January. Those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.

Captaining the Ship
Seniors Brogan Berry and Lindsay Louie were chosen by their teammates as captains for the 2011-12 season. Berry is a three-year starter and two-time team MVP, while Louie earned the Harvard Pride award following the 2009-10 season.

Previewing What's To Come
Head Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, senior co-captains Brogan Berry and Lindsay Louie, and junior Victoria Lippert recently caught up with GoCrimson.com to preview the upcoming season. Click here to begin watching now.

Opening Act
Harvard is 19-18 all-time in season openers and 17-14 under Head Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. The Crimson has won two consecutive openers and a win on Saturday will give the team its first three-game win streak in opening games since winning three straight from 1990-1992.

Milestone Moments
Senior co-captain Brogan Berry became the 15th member of Harvard women's basketball's 1,000 point club last season. Berry enters this season ranked 13th in program history with 1,071 points, needing 157 points to break into the school's top 10.  

Berry also ranks sixth at Harvard with 397 career assists and could join Emily Tay '09 (1,263 pts., 514 ast.) as one of only two student-athletes in program history to score 1,200 points and dish out 500 assists.

A League of Their Own
Four Crimson were named to the All-Ivy teams in 2010-11, the most of any school in the conference. Brogan Berry was a unanimous first team selection while Victoria Lippert and Emma Markley '11 were named to the second team. Christine Clark was unanimously voted to the All-Rookie squad.

Light Up the Scoreboard
Harvard's 71.4 ppg led the Ivy League in 2010-11 and ranked 39th in the NCAA. The Crimson return 64 percent of its scoring from a year ago, including three of the conference's top 10 scorers. Brogran Berry ranked second in the league with 13.9 ppg while Victoria Lippert was fourth with 13.5 ppg. Christine Clark was the eighth leading scorer in the Ivy League at 12.1 ppg.

Catch the Crimson in 2011-12
Harvard fans can watch each of the team's 12 home games in 2011-12 live online through GoCrimson.com. A women's basketball pass costs just $59.95 and this year also includes audio broadcasts for the team's games at Providence, New Hampshire and Brown. Click here to sign up today.

Inside Ivy League Basketball
"Inside Ivy League Basketball," an online radio show dedicated to talking basketball in the Ancient Eight, launched Thursday, Nov. 10 on BlogTalkRadio.com. "Inside Ivy League Basketball" will take an in-depth look at all the news and notes surrounding Ivy men's and women's basketball on and off the courts. The premiere episode featured men's and women's basketball season previews and interviews with Harvard's Tommy Amaker and Princeton's Courtney Banghart, head coaches of the favorites in the League's preseason polls. Click here to listen to the show now.