Among the fundamental elements accounting for Harvard’s convincing win over the visiting Princeton Tigers women’s basketball team this past Saturday (Feb. 2) — superior ball movement, finer marksmanship, the avoidance of frustrating fouls — one aspect of the Crimson’s skill set certainly stood out: their height. Indeed, en route to their dominating 82-64 victory, the Cambridge squad quite literally soared above their guests, repeatedly punishing the Tigers on the glass for a bevy of second-chance points beneath the basket.
For their efforts, Harvard improves to 3-1 in league play (10-8 overall) to greet Cornell, Dartmouth, and Yale in a four-way tie for the No. 1 spot in the Ivy title race. Princeton, meanwhile, drops to 4-15 overall and 1-2 in the league.
Harvard’s starting five amassed 21 rebounds on the evening, including eight on the offensive end. The Tigers’ starting unit, meanwhile, pulled down just 11 boards. Such dominance on the glass sparked a series of runs for the Crimson, including a commanding sequence that saw Harvard rattle off 10 unanswered points with 6:15 remaining in the opening half. That particular run, helped out by a quick pair of traveling calls against the Tigers, set up Harvard’s largest lead to that point, 38-25.
A Princeton timeout failed to stop the bleeding, however, as the Crimson — who shot a blistering 55 percent from the field in the first half (in addition to sinking six of their nine 3-point attempts) — continued to pour it on via a seven-point run. Forward Adrian Budischak ’08, who paced the rebounding effort for the Crimson with seven, typified Harvard’s first-half play with a tipped-in bucket to cap the rally. And though a Tiger spurt briefly cooled down the Crimson, the teams dispersed for halftime with Harvard boasting a 49-31 advantage.
The second stanza opened with a bit of World Wrestling Federation flair as players on both sides repeatedly went tumbling to the hardwood amid the fast-paced action. Harvard guard Emily Tay ’09 refined the wild play with an imaginative no-look assist on the break to collect one of her seven assists on the night. The junior also tallied 15 points to lead all players and a pair of steals to earn player of the week accolades from the league.
Meanwhile, Harvard’s commanding lead throughout the second half (which never dipped below 15 points) afforded coach Kathleen Delaney-Smith a good look at her reserves. All told, a dozen Crimson players logged at least five minutes of action in the game, as Delaney-Smith’s bench unit combined for 34 points to contribute to the 82-64 final.
Harvard resumes play Friday (Feb. 8) and Saturday (Feb. 9) with a pair of home games opposite Yale and Brown, respectively. For scores and more, visit http://www.gocrimson.com.