Women's Basketball Set for Sunday Contest Against NJIT on NESN

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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Harvard vs. NJIT
Sunday, Dec. 4
Lavietes Pavilion (2,195)
Ivy League Digital Network
Live Stats
Harvard (6-1, 0-0 Ivy)
NJIT (3-4, 0-0 A. Sun)
Harvard leads, 4-0
W, 66-54, Jan. 18, 2015
Harvard vs. NJIT (PDF)

Senior forward Destiny Nunley had a big night on Thursday against Temple, notching 21 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Harvard (6-1) takes a six game winning streak into a Sunday contest at noon against NJIT (3-4) at Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson own a six-game wining streak, the longest in non-conference play (and overall) since a six-game non-conference run during the 2013-14 season. Harvard will host NJIT for the third time in program history. The Crimson is 4-0 in the all-time series against the Highlanders, with the last meeting coming two seasons ago, an 66-54 victory for Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion on Jan. 18, 2015.

Senior forward Destiny Nunley had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocked shots to lead a group of five Harvard players in double figures as the Crimson beat Temple, 73-62, on Thursday night. Sophomore Sydney Skinner added 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, sophomore Madeline Raster notched 14 points, and freshman Katie Benzan had 13 points, seven assists, and four rebounds. Junior Taylor Rooks added 10 points and four rebounds.

• Fifth-year head coach Steve Lanpher and his staff welcomes six newcomers to the roster, including eight letter winners.

NJIT returns three key starters from last season, including point guard and ASUN Preseason All-Conference selection Alana Dudley. Dudley led the team in assists (90) last year. Kelly Guarino is back for the Highlanders after finishing seventh in the ASUN with 62 made three-pointers. Leah Horton will anchor the paint again after scoring a team-high 10.7 ppg last season.

• NJIT is led by two players averaging double-figure totals – seniors Alana Dudley (11.4 ppg) and Leah Horton (11.4 ppg). As a team, the Highlanders rank third in the league at 36.6 rebounds per game, paced by Tunstall, who is averaging 7.6 rpg followed by redshirt freshman Jillian Libby at 6.1 rpg.  Freshman guard Amber Morgan ranks third in the ASUN with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

• In the last meeting between the two teams on Jan. 18, 2015, Harvard upended NJIT, 66-54, at Lavietes Pavilion. Senior forward Temi Fagbenle paced all scorers with 22 points, but 20 points off the bench helped to rally the Crimson past the Highlanders. Senior captain Erin McDonnell added 10 points and six rebounds. The 17-point deficit marked the largest overcome by Harvard since Feb. 20, 2009 (22 against Princeton). 

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 552-376 (.594) all-time record.

Through seven games this season, Harvard has established itself as one of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation. Harvard ranks among the top-40 in the nation in three-pointers made (56, 32nd) and three-point field goal percentage (38.9, 22nd). Freshman Katie Benzan leads the team with 18 three-pointers (52nd, NCAA), and a .462 three-point field goal percentage (48th, NCAA).

In a season-opening 103-87 loss at Minnesota, the Crimson matched a program record, hitting 16 three pointers (16-for-30, 53.3%) on the night. It was the fourth time in program history that Harvard has hit 16 threes, and the first time since Feb. 28, 1998 (vs. Brown). Sophomore Madeline Raster hit six three-pointers (6-for-12) and led Harvard with 18 points.

Dating back to the start of 2011-12, the Crimson is 48-5 when holding opponents to less than 60 points and 80-24 when allowing fewer than 70 points.

As a team, the Crimson outrebounded its opponent 15 times last year. Harvard owned a 12-3 mark when controlling the glass. Harvard has not yet been outrebounded in seven games this season and is 6-1.

Harvard broke the record for consecutive games with at least one three-pointer against Dartmouth last year (1/24/15). The Crimson has made at least one three-point field goal in 218-consecutive games dating back to 2008-09. The previous streak (172) began during the 1989-90 season and concluded in 1996-97.

Seniors Taylor Finley and Destiny Nunley were named captains for 2016-17.

Finley, a native of Edina, Minn., recovered from offseason hip surgery to become a key reserve player for the Crimson in 2015-16. She appeared in 23 games and logged a season high 24 minutes against Rhode Island on Nov. 21, 2015.

Nunley, a Dallas-area Native,  was Harvard's top reserve last season,  posting 6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. She recorded a season-high 15 points against Brown on Feb. 27 and had seven double-digit scoring efforts on the year.

Harvard's sophomore guards had an immediate impact on the program as freshmen, as Madeline Raster started 25 of 28 games, Nani Redford started  in 16 games, and Sydney Skinner played a major role with 12 starts and 19.8 minutes per game. The trio combined for 15.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Through seven games in 2016-17, the trio has combined for 22.3 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.

The winningest coach in Ivy League basketball history with 552 career victories, head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith passed former Princeton head coach Pete Carril (514) for most wins by an Ancient Eight coach on either the men's or women's side during the 2013-14 season. Delaney-Smith also owns 322 career wins in the conference – the most of any men's or women's coach – with her 300th coming against Yale Feb. 8, 2014.

Delaney-Smith, in her 35th season at the helm of the Crimson, earned her 500th win in 2013-14, joining a group of 28 active coaches in Division I with at least 500 wins. She is also one of four active Division I head coaches to spend 35-plus years at one institution.

The Crimson went 14-14 overall last season, earning a selection to the WNIT Tournament. It was the sixth appearance over the last eight years in the WNIT for the Crimson and the program's 12th postseason appearance, most of any Ivy League team. Harvard returns two starters and nine letterwinners from a year ago, including senior co-captain Destiny Nunley, who averaged 6.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as the team's top reserve player.