The defending national champion Maryland women’s basketball team (28-5) outscored the 15th-seeded Harvard Crimson 13-2 in the opening five minutes of the second half en route to an 89-65 victory in first-round NCAA tournament action Sunday afternoon (March 18) at the Hartford Civic Center. The loss marks Harvard’s first in 13 games, eliminating the Ivy League champions from the Big Dance. The No. 2-seeded Terrapins, meanwhile, will face Mississippi in the second round on March 20.
Making their first appearance in the tournament since the 2003 season (and sixth overall), the Crimson (15-13) suffered from early foul trouble against Maryland, including three quick calls that sent center Christiana Lackner ’07 to the bench within the first six minutes of play. Still, Harvard managed to hold the Terrapins – one of the most dominant rebounding teams in the nation – to a 23 to 15 advantage on the boards in the first half down by just 13 points (38-25) against highly favored Maryland.
Cold shooting haunted the Crimson in the second half, however, as Harvard managed just one field goal in their first six attempts to start the latter 20 minutes of play. Harvard’s shooting woes allowed Maryland to nearly double its biggest lead of the day, as the Terrapins took a 51-27 advantage. Sparked by sophomore guard Emily Tay, who managed 14 points in the second half (16 on the day) – and a dandy one-handed pass from mid-court for one of her four assists – Harvard eventually found their rhythm over the next 13 minutes of play, but proved unable to close the gap to less than 19 points.
Junior Jessica Knox and Lackner chipped in 14 points apiece for Harvard, while Lindsay Hallion ’08 contributed 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.