Harvard vs. Cornell
Harvard vs. Columbia
Nani Redford and Harvard women's basketball bring a 14-game winning streak into weekend games against Cornell and Columbia at Lavietes Pavilion. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard (14-1, 1-0 Ivy League) hosts Cornell (11-4, 2-0 Ivy League) and Columbia (10-5, 0-2 Ivy League) this weekend at Lavietes Pavilion, as the Crimson head into the heart of Ivy play. Last season, the Crimson finished 4-0 against Cornell and Columbia. Harvard was ranked 4th in the latest ESPNW Mid-Major rankings, 21st in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, 29th in NCAA RPI rankings, and received a vote in this week's AP Top 25 poll.
THE LAST TIME OUT
On Saturday (Jan. 21) at Dartmouth, freshman guard Katie Benzan had 17 points and six rebounds, and senior forward Destiny Nunley added 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals to lead Harvard to a 70-61 win over the Big Green. Harvard swept the league series against Dartmouth for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
ON A ROLL
With 14 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.
FROM WAY DOWNTOWN
Through 14 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 (7.3, 62nd) and three-point field goal precentage (35.1%, 54th NCAA). Freshman Katie Benzan leads the team with 41 three-pointers on the year and a .471 three-point field goal percentage. (9th, NCAA) She is on pace to near the school record for three-pointers made, held by Erin Maher (80 in 1990-91). With 110 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 24th in the nation with an average of 43.3 rebounds per game, and has an average rebounding margin of +8.3 (20th, 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 651 rebounds, Harvard will near the team's single season rebounding record (1,283 in 2013-14).
Harvard (79 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 (39 blocks, 2.6 blocks per game, 17th 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).
BENZAN, SKINNER AUTOMATIC AT THE LINE
Sophomore guard Sydney Skinner has been automatic from the free throw line, hitting 91.7% (44-for-48) from the foul line, which ranks 9th in the country. Freshman Katie Benzan has been just as impressive at 94.1% (32-for-34).
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.
• Cornell is off to its best start through 15 games in program history at 11-4 (2-0 Ivy League). The Big Red have won four games in a row, its longest winning streak since the 2014-15 season.
• In its last game, Cornell earned a road win at Columbia, 69-55, behind senior Nia Marshall, who finished with a game-high 21 points to lead three Cornell players in double figures on Jan. 21. Megan LeDuc (19 points, 7 rebounds) and Kerri Moran (14) also had big games for Cornell. The Big Red shot 48.1% (26-54) from the field for the game.
• Cornell is led by Nia Marshall, who ranks second in the Ivy League with an average of 15.4 points per game, and averages 6.5 rebounds per game. Marshall is second in Cornell history with 1,507 career points. Guards Kerri Moran (10.3 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Megan LeDuc (11.9 ppg, 3.7 apg) are two of the best in the Ivy League.
• The Crimson holds a 64-11 advantage in the all time series against Cornell, including a 17-game winning streak dating back to 2008. In the last meeting between the two teams, on Feb. 20, 2016, Harvard earned a 68-63 win at Lavietes Pavilion. Senior Shilpa Tummala paced the Crimson with 15 points and added four rebounds, senior captain Kit Metoyer tallied 14 points, and senior captain AnnMarie Healy also notched double-digits, netting 14 points and hauling in seven rebounds.
• The Lions sit at 10-5 (0-2 Ivy League) after being swept by travel partner Cornell in its first two league contests. Columbia's 10-3 record in non-conference play marked its highest non-conference winning percentage (.769) in program history. Along the way, the Lions won seven straight, recording their longest winning streak since the 1986-87 season.
• Columbia is led by Ivy League leading scorer Camille Zimmerman, who is averaging 20.5 ppg. Zimmerman, a junior guard/forward, is also one of the top rebounders in the Ivy League, pulling down 9.6 rebounds per game. Zimmerman is tops in the Ivy League in double-doubles (8) and field goal percentage (48.5%).
• Senior forward Tori Oliver (11.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg), is also a force for the Lions. Paulina Koerner (9.0 ppg, 2.87 apg) is one of Columbia's top guards, and Josie Little (5.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is also a regular contributor for Columbia. The Lions are No. 3 in the nation with an average rebounding margin of +13.1.
• Harvard boasts a 59-3 all-time record against Columbia, its best record against any Ivy institution. In the last meeting between the two teems, on Feb. 19, 2016, behind balanced scoring, Harvard downed Columbia, 84-54, at Lavietes Pavilion. Senior Shilpa Tummala and freshman Sydney Skinner paced a quartet of Crimson double-figure scorers with 14 points apiece, as the Crimson held the Lions to 31.5 percent shooting (17-of-54) and 23 turnovers.
Dating back to the start of 2011-12, the Crimson is 51-5 when holding opponents to less than 60 points and 88-24 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 560-376 (.598) 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 225-consecutive games dating back to 2008-09. The previous streak (172) began during the 1989-90 season and concluded in 1996-97.
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.
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 24.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.