Harvard vs. Brown
Harvard vs. Yale
Harvard returns to Lavietes Pavilion this weekend to face Brown and Yale. The Crimson owns an unblemished 8-0 record at home this season. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard (16-3, 4-2 Ivy League) returns home this weekend to take on Brown (13-6, 4-2 Ivy League) and Yale (10-9, 1-5 Ivy League), as the Crimson look to maintain its unblemished record at Lavieties Pavilion (8-0) this season. Harvard has clinched its 25th winning season in the 35-year tenure of head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. A win on Friday night and Harvard would match its best 20-game start (17-3, 1976-77; 1987-88; 1997-98) in program history. Harvard was ranked 4th in the latest ESPNW Mid-Major rankings, and 35th in the NCAA RPI rankings.
Harvard will honor its women's basketball alumnae on Saturday night against Brown during a halftime ceremony., including former student-athletes from the five decades of program history. In addition the Crimson will hold its annual PLAY4KAY game to help raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund on Saturday against Brown. The team will wear special commemorative shooting shirts for the game. Harvard is encouraging fans to wear pink and the first 300 fans will get a free Harvard Basketball shirt. A Harvard Athletics prize wheel will be available, with free spins offered to fans wearing pink. Additional spins will be available for purchase, with proceeds donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
PACK THE HOUSE
Help us "Pack the House" by joining your fellow Crimson fans on Saturday, February 11 at 6 pm to cheer on the Women's Basketball team as they take on Brown! Allston, Brighton, and Cambridge residents, as well as Harvard Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students (up to four tickets) enter FREE. All kids are invited to get autographs from the Harvard women's basketball team, with a free team photo provided. Click here for more details.
THE LAST TIME OUT
On Saturday (Feb. 4), freshman guard Katie Benzan had 17 points, and senior forward Destiny Nunley added 11 points and 11 rebounds, but Harvard fell at Princeton 63-58, in overtime at Jadwin Gymnasium. The Crimson rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to force overtime, but Harvard was unable to overcome the Tigers in the extra frame.
CRIMSON COLORED IVY
Since women's basketball joined the Ivy League in 1974-75, the Crimson owns a 652-472 record, tops of all Ancient Eight schools. Harvard is the only Ivy League women's basketball program with a winning record against all other Ivies.
• Already nearing its win total from a season ago, Brown (13-6, 4-2 Ivy League) is coming off a home sweep of Cornell (W, 72-67) and Columbia (W, 69-60). The Bears are led by freshman Justine Gaziano (18.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg), who has scored 24 points or more in four of her last seven games, including a 27 point effort in Brown's win over Cornell. Brown has two other players who average over 14 points per game, including sophomore guards Taylor Will (14.4 ppg) and Shayna Mehta (14.1 ppg). Sophomore forward Erika Steeves averages nearly a double-double per game (11.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
• As a team, Brown takes care of the basketball (2nd fewest turnovers in Ivy League), and has the top scoring offense in the conference (72.8 points per game), coupled with the lowest ranked scoring defense in the Ivy League (68.1 points allowed per game). Brown is also effective shooting three pointers (36.1%, 28th NCAA).
• The Crimson holds a 48-34 advantage in the all time series against Brown, winning the last three meetings. In the last game between the two teams, on Feb. 27, 2016, Harvard beat Brown 92-79 at Lavietes Pavilion. Harvard honored seniors AnnMarie Healy, Kit Metoyer and Shilpa Tummala, who combined for 50 points. Tummala tallied a career-high 24 points and 12 boards.
• Yale, which is coming off an impressive showing in non-conference play, including a six-game winning streak, sits at 10-9 overall (1-5 Ivy League), falling to Columbia (L, 72-68) and Cornell (L, 76-63) last weekend. The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Lena Munzer, who averages 13.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 2.7 apg. Munzer is the team leader in minutes (34.6 mpg) by far. Junior forward Jen Berkowitz (13.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is also a force in the frontcourt for Yale. Junior guard Tamara Simpson leads the Ivy League in steals per game (2.95).
• Yale is a high-volume three point shooting team, leading the conference in three pointers per game (7.4), and total three pointers made (140) and attempted (436). The Bulldogs are the lowest ranked free-throw shooting team in the Ivy League (61.8%).
• Harvard owns a 50-30 record all time against Yale, including a current nine-game winning streak in the series. In the last meeting between the two teems, on Feb, 26, 2016, senior captain AnnMarie Healy put back her own rebound as the buzzer sounded to lead Harvard past Yale, 65-63. Healy ended with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists while senior captain Kit Metoyer added 14 points and six rebounds. Sydney Skinner added 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter.
Harvard (103 blocks, 5.4 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 (49 blocks, 2.6 blocks per game, 18th NCAA), the team's top shot-blocker.
BENZAN, SKINNER AUTOMATIC AT THE LINE
Freshman Katie Benzan has been near automatic from the foul line at 93.3% (42-for-45), leading the Ivy League. Sophomore guard Sydney Skinner has been just as impressive, hitting 88.5% (46-for-52) from the foul line.
FROM WAY DOWNTOWN
Through 18 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 (7.2, 72nd). Freshman Katie Benzan leads the team with 51 three-pointers on the year and a .429 three-point field goal percentage. (25th, NCAA) She is on pace to near the school record for three-pointers made, held by Erin Maher (80 in 1990-91). With 136 three pointers, Harvard is on pace to near the program record for threes in one season (205 in 1995-96 and 2009-10).
CLEANING THE GLASS
Harvard entered the week ranked 19th in the nation with an average of 43.1 rebounds per game, and has an average rebounding margin of +6.6 (33rd, 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 819 rebounds, Harvard will near the team's single season rebounding record (1,283 in 2013-14).
STREAK MATCHES SCHOOL RECORD
Harvard's 16-game winning streak, which spanned 79 days over the course of four months (Nov. 15 - Feb. 3), matched the team record 16-game winning streak that took place during the second half of the 2002-03 season.
Dating back to the start of 2011-12, the Crimson is 52-5 when holding opponents to less than 60 points and 90-26 when allowing fewer than 70 points.
RASTER AND SKINNER STEP UP
Harvard sophomore guards Madeline Raster and Sydney Skinner have thrived in new roles this season. Through 19 games in 2016-17, the duo has combined for 20.8 points (31.3% of team scoring), 9.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Skinner notched a career high 23 points in a 62-59 win over Cornell (Jan. 27), and Raster hit the game-winning shot in a 70-68 win over Columbia (Jan. 28).
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 562-378 (.598) all-time record.
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.