After a tough loss to Providence by 12 points and another to Boston University by 19, there was one thing the defending Ivy League co-champion Crimson needed: a home game. Nothing proved that more than the way the 4-4 Harvard women’s basketball team bounced back from consecutive losses with consecutive wins to advance to 6-4. As the Crimson edged the Vermont Catamounts 69-67 and trounced the Maine Black Bears 73-50 — pardon the cliché — the team proved that there’s no place like home.
In the Dec. 11 win against Vermont, the Crimson and the Catamounts went down to the wire, with Vermont missing the game winner with just three seconds left on the clock. As both teams battled to pull ahead, the game saw 10 lead changes throughout the evening.
The Crimson, who led by as many as eight points with less than five minutes to go in the first half, saw their lead evaporate due to lack of rebounding, ugly turnovers, and cold shooting, forcing Harvard into the locker room trailing 34-35.
In the first half, Harvard missed all five shots taken from behind the three-point line. But a flexible Crimson team overcame their outside shooting woes in the second half, playing with fiery aggression around the basket (seeming to draw a foul on every possession). The Crimson — which took 25 free throws in the second half — scored 20 of their 36 second-half points from the line.
Freshman standout Brogan Berry led all scorers with a career-high 18 points and went 12-for-13 from the free-throw line. Katie Rollins ’09 was also impressive, adding 17 points and shooting six for seven from the floor.
In the Dec. 14 contest against Maine, Harvard came out firing. After shooting one-for-six from the three-point line against Vermont, the Crimson shot the ball with confidence against Maine, knocking down eight 3-pointers on 47 percent shooting. Harvard also shot 50 percent from the floor in the game.
The first 10 minutes of the game was like a battle of the elements, fire against ice. Maine shot just 26 percent compared with the Crimson’s 71 percent.
Falling behind by as much as 18 in the first half, a frustrated Maine team appeared overwhelmed and overmatched by the Crimson. Yet when a 10-2 run by the Bears cut Harvard’s lead to 10, the Crimson increased their level of intensity, ending the half with a 41-26 lead.
After halftime the Crimson didn’t look back, as they outscored Maine 32-24. Emma Markley ’11, who went nine-for-16 from the floor on the afternoon, finished the game with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. On Dec. 15, Markley was named Ivy Player of the Week for the second time this season. Also honored by the Ivy League was Berry, who was named Ivy Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week, and the third time this season.
Senior guard Emily Tay — who in the second half began to score at will — finished the day six-for-nine with 14 points, a season-high nine assists, and just one turnover in the game. She also became the 13th Crimson player to score 1,000 career points. Tay is now 13 points away from Beth Wambach ’91, who is 12th place on the all-time scoring list.
The Crimson play three more nonconference matchups — against Siena (Dec. 19), Southern California (Dec. 20), and Northeastern (Dec. 31) — before they open up conference play at home on Jan. 10 against Dartmouth.