Harvard vs. Yale
Harvard vs. Brown
Harvard will make its last road trip of the regular season this weekend to take on Yale and Brown. (Nick Pacino)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- In a fight for one of four Ivy League Tournament bids, Harvard (19-4, 7-3 Ivy League) plays its last road league contests of the regular season at Yale (12-11, 3-7 Ivy League) and Brown (14-9, 5-5 Ivy League) this weekend. Harvard has a chance to clinch a spot in the inaugural league tournament this weekend with two wins (combined with losses from other teams). Harvard was ranked 27th in the NCAA RPI rankings.
At 19-4, Harvard has already clinched its 25th winning season in the 35-year tenure of head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. Harvard is approaching the program mark for wins in a single season, as the legendary 1997-98 team finished the season 23-5. Harvard is in search of its 12th 20-win season (and first since 2013-14), all during Delaney-Smith's tenure.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Despite a game-high 16 points from freshman guard Katie Benzan, Harvard fell 57-52 to Cornell at Newman Arena last Saturday night (Feb. 18). Sophomore guard Madeline Raster added 13 points and nine rebounds, and senior forward Destiny Nunley notched 12 points for the Crimson. Harvard fell despite holding a sixth straight opponent to under 60 points.
CRIMSON COLORED IVY
Since women's basketball joined the Ivy League in 1974-75, the Crimson owns a 655-473 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.
Harvard has posted .500-or-better records away from home in four of the last five seasons. Harvard was 7-9 away from Lavietes in 2015-16. The Crimson is 7-4 in road contests this season, with its final two road games this weekend.
• Yale is riding high after tagging Penn with its first Ivy loss of the season last Saturday (W, 61-48). The Bulldogs sit at 12-11 overall (3-7 Ivy League). Yale is led by senior guard Lena Munzer, who averages 13.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 2.7 apg. Munzer is the team leader in minutes (34.5 mpg) by far. Junior forward Jen Berkowitz (13.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is also a force in the frontcourt for Yale. She had 26 points in the win against Penn. Junior guard Tamara Simpson leads the Ivy League in steals per game (2.91).
• Yale is a high-volume three point shooting team, currently second in the Ivy League in three pointers per game (7.0), and total three pointers made (161). They have attempted the most threes in the conference (514). The Bulldogs are the lowest ranked free-throw shooting team in the Ivy League (63.0%).
• Harvard owns a 51-30 record all time against Yale, including a current 10-game winning streak in the series. In the last meeting between the two teems, on Feb, 12, 2017, sophomore guard Madeline Raster notched a career-high 24 points, and freshman guard Katie Benzan added her first career double-double with 19 points and 10 assists to lift Harvard to a decisive 76-56 win over the Bulldogs. Harvard shot a season high 57.1% from the floor (28-for-49), with 20 assists.
• Brown (14-9, 5-5 Ivy League) is in a fight for the final spot in the Ivy League Tournament after two tough losses last weekend to Penn (L, 71-68) and Princeton (L, 81-75). The Bears are led by freshman Justine Gaziano (17.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg), who has scored 20 points or more in six games this season, including a 24-point effort in Brown's loss against Princeton. Brown has two other players who average over 13 points per game, including sophomore guards Shayna Mehta (14.3 ppg) and Taylor Will (13.1 ppg). Sophomore forward Erika Steeves averages nearly a double-double per game (12.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg)
• As a team, Brown has the top scoring offense in the conference (71.7 points per game), coupled with the lowest ranked scoring defense in the Ivy League (68.6 points allowed per game). Brown is also effective shooting three pointers (34.5%, 2nd Ivy League).
• The Crimson holds a 49-34 advantage in the all time series against Brown, winning the last four meetings. In the last game between the two teams, two weeks ago on Feb. 11, 2017, senior forward Destiny Nunley notched 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead four players in double-figures, as Harvard earned a 69-59 win over Brown in front of 1,721 fans at Lavietes Pavilion. Freshman guard Katie Benzan added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds, freshman forward Jeannie Boehm recorded 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks, and sophomore guard Madeline Raster added 10 points and five rebounds.
Harvard (124 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 (58 blocks, 2.5 blocks per game, 22nd NCAA), the team's top shot-blocker.
BENZAN AUTOMATIC AT THE LINE
Freshman Katie Benzan has been near automatic from the foul line at 94.8% (55-for-58), leading the Ivy League. Benzan is just shy of the NCAA statistical minimum (2.5 FTs/game), but would be No. 1 in the nation in free-throw shooting should she exceed the minimum at the same rate.
FROM WAY DOWNTOWN
Through 23 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 (7.0, 75th). Freshman Katie Benzan leads the team with 64 three-pointers on the year and a .416 three-point field goal percentage. (22nd, NCAA) She is on pace to near the school record for three-pointers made, held by Erin Maher (80 in 1990-91). With 161 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 42.7 rebounds per game, and has an average rebounding margin of +5.7 (47th, 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 981 rebounds, Harvard will near the team's single season rebounding record (1,283 in 2013-14).
LIGHTS OUT FROM THE FIELD
In the win against Yale, Harvard shot 57.1% (28-for-49) from the field, its highest mark in a single game this season, and the best shooting performance by a Harvard team since shoting 58.2% in a win against Columbia on Feb. 14, 2014.
STREAK MATCHES SCHOOL RECORD
Harvard's 16-game winning streak, which spanned 79 days over the course of four calendar 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 55-6 when holding opponents to less than 60 points and 93-27 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 23 games in 2016-17, the duo has combined for 20.2 points (30.6% 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 went for a career best 24 points in Harvard's 76-56 win over Yale (Feb. 12).