Harvard women's basketball opens its 44th season Friday, as the Crimson hits the road to face Dayton in an 8:00 p.m. matchup as part of the Maine Tip-Off Tournament in Orono, Maine. The Maine Black Bears will face Tulane in the first matchup of the tournament at 6 p.m. The teams will be back on the court at Memorial Gym Saturday for either 2 or 4 p.m. tip-offs determined by the results of Friday's game.
Friday night's game vs. Dayton will be broadcast on America East TV, while Saturday's game will be shown on ESPN3.
HARVARD AGAINST THE ATLANTIC 10
The Crimson last played against an opponent from the Atlantic 10 last season when Harvard played at La Salle on Jan. 11, 2017. The Crimson beat the Explorers in a close contest, 66-64. Harvard is 21-28 all-time against teams from the A-10 with its most common opponent being UMass, which it is 9-12 against. Harvard and Dayton have met just once on Dec. 30, 2010 with the Flyers taking a 101-80 victory.
The Crimson went 21-9 overall last season, earning a selection to the WNIT Tournament. The appearance marked the seventh appearance over the last nine years in the tournament for the Crimson and the program's 13th postseason appearance, the most of any Ivy League team. Harvard returns four starters from a year ago, including star sophomore guard Katie Benzan, who averaged 13.4 ppg and 4.2 apg. The Crimson also returns co-captains senior Kirby Porter and junior Madeline Raster.
Harvard women's basketball 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 the 2006-07 campaign (11 years). The Crimson earned 98 points in the poll, just behind Princeton, picked second in the poll with 120 points, and Penn, picked first with 129 points. Harvard finished the 2016-17 campaign in third place at 8-6 in the Ivy League, behind Princeton (9-5) and conference regular season champion Penn (13-1).
Harvard is 20-23 all-time in season openers and 17-18 under head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. The Crimson opened the 2016-17 campaign against Minnesota, falling 87-103.
Porter, a native of Chevy Chase, M.d., played in 28 games last season. She averaged 2.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. She scored a season-high nine points in a win against Sacred Heart on Nov. 29. She also notched a career-high 11 rebounds against Samford on Nov. 11.
Raster, a junior out of South Bend Indiana, was a starter for all 30 games last season. She averaged 10.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Raster scored double digits in 18 games last season, which included a career-high 24 points against Yale on Feb. 12.
SOPHOMORES LOOK TO TAKE STEP
Harvard's sophomore guards had an immediate impact on the program as freshmen, as starting point guard Katie Benzan led the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game and started every game but one. Jeannie Boehm started every game for the Crimson and averaged 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
MEET THE FRESHMEN
Harvard is set to welcome five student-athletes from the Class of 2021 to the program this season. The class, which spans four states and includes one from Sweden, consists of a one guard and a quartet of forwards.
Former Harvard women's basketball star Temi Fagbenle '15 became the first alumna in program history to win a WNBA title this year with the Minnesota Lynx. Fagbenle was drafted 35th last spring by the Lynx and played in 21 games during their title run. She was the 19th player in Harvard history to break the 1,000-point plateau.
AROUND THE YARD
Junior Madeline Raster wrote a phenomenal blog as part of the Athletic Department's larger "Around the Yard" series. Raster detailed her experience on a mission trip to Trinidad and Tobago where she spent a week teaching sports to underprivileged children. Read the whole blog on GoCrimson.com.
Harvard is slated to play 16 games this season on regional or national television. Saturday's game vs. Maine or Tulane will be the first of eight on ESPN3 for the Crimson. Harvard will also play eight on NESN or NESNplus beginning with a Nov. 18 meeting vs. Sacred Heart. The regular season finale at Columbia will be on SNY.
Sophomore Jeannie Boehm has competed for Team USA each of the last two summers. Most recently, Boehm competed on the 2017 U19 World Cup team, helping the Red, White and Blue to a silver medal in Udine, Italy. The 2016 McDonald's All-American played in six games, averaging almost nine minutes and 3.2 rebounds per contest.
In 2016, she played on the Team USA U18 team at the FIBA Americas in Valdivia, Chile, helping the USA win gold with a perfect 5-0 record. She averaged 13.4 minutes, 7.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.