Harvard vs. Dartmouth
Harvard heads into the heart of Ivy League play starting this weekend with the road test at Dartmouth. (Courtesy of the Daily Kansan)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard (13-1, 1-0 Ivy League) returns to Ivy League play this weekend at Dartmouth (5-9, 0-1 Ivy League), as the Crimson will close out the season series against the Big Green. Harvard completed non-conference play with a win at La Salle last Wednesday, assuring itself of the best non-league showing (12-1) in school history, including a program-record 12-game non-conference winning streak. The Crimson were ranked 6th in the latest ESPNW Mid-Major rankings, and 22nd in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, and 30th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Last Wednesday (Jan. 11) with 1.9 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, senior captain Destiny Nunley hit a baseline jumper to lift Harvard to a 66-64 win at La Salle. The basket was part of a big night for Nunley, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Harvard to a big road win. Sophomore guard Madeline Raster added 12 points, six rebounds, and three steals, and freshman forward Jeannie Boehm added 10 points and five rebounds.
ON A ROLL
With 13 wins in a row, Harvard has the fourth longest winning streak in the nation. Harvard's streak is the longest since the team record 16-game winning streak that took place during the second half of the 2002-03 season.
• Dartmouth has not played since a 70-65 loss at Harvard on Jan. 7 and currently sits at 5-9 on the season. One of the more veteran teams in the Ivy League, the Big Green are led by junior guard Kate Letkewicz, who leads the team in scoring (11.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg). Letkewicz is one of the nation's most accurate three-point shooters, hitting 44.9% (19th, NCAA) from behind the arc.
• Sophomore forward Isalys Quinones (9.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.79 spg) and senior forward Fanni Szabo (9.4 ppg) are also main contributors for Dartmouth. Junior center Olivia Smith (7.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and junior guard Amber Mixon (2.7 ppg, 1.8 apg) have started all 14 games for Dartmouth as well.
• On Jan. 7, sophomore guard Madeline Raster had 17 points and a career high nine rebounds, freshman guard Katie Benzan added 12 points, and junior guard Taylor Rooks notched a career high 12 points to lead Harvard to a 70-65 win over Dartmouth in its Ivy League opener at Lavietes Pavilion. Harvard improved to 25-18 all-time in Ivy League openers and 22-13 under head coach Kathy Delaney- Smith.
FROM WAY DOWNTOWN
Through 13 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 (7.5, 53rd) and three-point field goal precentage (36.0%, 44th NCAA). Freshman Katie Benzan leads the team with 38 three-pointers on the year and a .475 three-point field goal percentage. (7th, NCAA) She is on pace to near the school record for three-pointers made, held by Erin Maher (80 in 1990-91). With 105 three pointers, Harvard is on pace to break the program record for three pointers in one season (205 in 1995-96 and 2009-10).
CLEANING THE GLASS
Harvard entered the week ranked 22nd in the nation with an average of 43.5 rebounds per game, and has an average rebounding margin of +8.8 (19th, NCAA). Harvard recorded a season high 61 rebounds vs. NJIT on Dec. 4, the most for the team in a game since 1993-94. With 609 rebounds, Harvard will near the team's single season rebounding record (1,283 in 2013-14).
Harvard (77 blocks, 5.5 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 (39 blocks, 2.79 blocks per game, 15th NCAA), the team's top shot-blocker. Boehm is on pace to near Deb Fiandermeyer, who set program marks for blocked shots in 1992-93 (85 blocks, 3.5 per game).
SKINNER AUTOMATIC FROM THE LINE
Sophomore guard Sydney Skinner has been automatic from the free throw line, hitting 93.2% (41-for-44) from the foul line, which ranks 3rd in the country.
Harvard sits at 25-18 all-time in Ivy League openers and 22-13 under head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. Harvard has opened against Dartmouth in 17-straight seasons, with Harvard holding a 11-6 edge in those contests.
CRIMSON COLORED IVY
Since women's basketball joined the Ivy League in 1974-75, the Crimson owns a 650-470 record, tops of all Ancient Eight schools. Harvard is the only Ivy League school with a winning record against all other Ivies.
Dating back to the start of 2011-12, the Crimson is 51-5 when holding opponents to less than 60 points and 87-24 when allowing fewer than 70 points.
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 558-376 (.597) all-time record.
CRIMSON HIT 16 THREES, TIE RECORD
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.
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.
Harvard was selected third in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll. Harvard has finished in the top three of the Ivy League standings every year since 2006-07 (10 years). The Crimson earned 104 points in the poll, just behind Princeton, picked second with 110 points, and Penn, picked first with 136 points. Harvard finished 2015-16 in third place at 9-5 in the Ivy League, behind Princeton (12-2) and Ivy regular season champion Penn (13-1).
IT'S UP, AND IT'S GOOD
Harvard broke the 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 224-consecutive games dating back to 2008-09. The previous streak (172) began during the 1989-90 season and concluded in 1996-97.
CAPTAINING THE SHIP
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, with 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.
SOPHOMORES STEP UP
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. Through 13 games in 2016-17, the trio has combined for 24.8 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.