Harvard regular season recap – Ivy women’s tournament preview

Prior to the Ivy League Tournament, Ivy Hoops Online will recap the seasons of each of the four women’s seeds. Next up is No. 3 seed Harvard. Yesterday, we covered No. 4 Brown.

Record: 20-7 Overall, 8-6 Ivy (3rd Place)

Ivy Tournament seed: No. 3

Home 10-2, Away 8-5, Neutral 2-0

Present Streak: 2 losses; last 8: 4-4

Record against Ivy Tournament teams –

Penn (0-2): 43-63 (away, 2/3/17) and 46-64 (home, 3/4/17)

Princeton (0-2): 58-63 OT (away, 2/4/17) and 60-64 (home, 3/3/17)

Brown (2-0): 69-59 (home, 2/11/17) and 66-63 (away, 2/25/17)

Coach: Kathy Delaney-Smith (35 seasons of college coaching, all at Harvard; 566-382 record; 330-148 Ivy record)

Delaney-Smith has coached Harvard to a top-four Ivy finish in 32 of 35 seasons; Her 566 wins is more than Hall of Fame Princeton Coach Pete Carril (514); 1997-98 Ivy Champs were only No. 16 team, male or female, to defeat No. 1 seed (Stanford) in the NCAA Tournament

Probable starting five: Katie Benzan (freshman guard; 34.2 minutes per game), Madeline Raster (sophomore guard; 30.1 minutes per game), Kirby Porter (junior guard; 17.7 minutes per game), Jeannie Boehm (freshman forward; 27.9 minutes per game), Destiny Nunley (senior forward; 28.4 minutes per game)

Key reserves: Sydney Skinner (sophomore guard; 24.6 minutes per game), Taylor Rooks (junior guard; 15.7 minutes per game)

Nonconference                                                                                                Conference

Category              Harvard                                Opponent                           Harvard                                Opponent

Points                   68.4                        59.8                                        60.9                        61.0

Pt Differential    + 8.6                                                                      – 0.1

 

FG%                       42.9%                    35.3%                                    36.0%                    36.0%

FG Made             25.6                        21.8                                        22.2                        21.6

FG Attempt        59.7                        61.8                                        61.6                        59.9

 

3 PT FG%             37.5%                    30.2%                                    27.8%                    27.1%

3 PT Made           7.6                          6.1                                          6.5                          4.2

3 PT Attempt     20.3                        20.1                                        23.4                        15.6

 

2 PT FG%             45.7%                    37.8%                                    41.0%                    39.1%

2 PT Made           18.0                        15.8                                        15.7                        17.4

2 PT Attempt     39.4                        41.8                                        38.3                        44.3

 

FT%                        68.1%                    67.1%                                    69.2%                    74.6%

FT Made              9.5                          10.1                                        9.9                          13.6

FT Attempt         14.0                        15.0                                        14.4                        18.3

Fouls                     15.2                        16.8                                        18.2                        14.9

 

Rebounds           43.6                        34.8                                        41.6                        40.1

Differential         + 8.8                                                                      + 1.5

O-Rebounds      14.2                        12.5                                        13.7                        12.4

D-Rebounds       29.5                        22.3                                        27.9                        27.7

Off Reb %            38.8%                    29.9%                                    33.1%                    30.7%

Def Reb %           70.1%                    61.2%                                    69.3%                    66.9%

 

Assists                  14.2                        13.2                                        13.4                        11.3

Turnovers           17.2                        14.2                                        13.9                        11.4

TO Diff                  – 3.0                                                                       – 2.5

Steals                    7.5                          8.5                                          5.4                          6.6

Blocks                   5.5                          2.5                                          5.2                          3.1

 

Benzan (nonconf)            12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 44.6% FG%, 48.6 % 3PT FG%, 92.9% FT%

(conference)    14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 37.1% FG%, 33.9% 3 PT FG%, 95.0% FT%

Nunley (nonconf)            12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 45.2% FG%, 25.0% 3PT FG%, 67.7% FT%

(conference)             10.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 35.8% FG%, 7.1% 3PT FG%, 72.4% FT%

Raster (nonconf)              9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 40.3% FG%, 37.9% 3PT FG%, 76.9% FT%

(conference)                11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 37.7% FG%, 32.0% 3PT FG%, 66.7% FT%

Skinner (nonconf)           9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 40.7% FG%, 40.0% 3PT FG%, 92.1% FT%

(conference)               7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 27.6% FG%, 20.4% 3PT FG%, 77.5% FT%

Boehm (nonconf)            8.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 30.7% FG%, 00.0% 3PT FG%, 16.0% FT%

(conference)              6.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 46.9% FG%, 00.0% 3PT FG%, 25.7% FT%

Rooks (nonconf)              6.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 47.1% FG%, 27.8% 3PT FG%, 62.5% FT%

(conference)              5.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 40.6% FG%, 14.3%  3PT FG%, 81.8% FT%

Harvard was able to dominate its nonconference schedule. The only blemish on the 12-1 out-of-league record was the team’s opening game loss to Minnesota. In those games, the Crimson dominated on defense, rebounding and the three-point line. Conference play has been more challenging.

Harvard went 8-6 in league play with eight of the games being decided by five points or less. League foes were able to hold the Crimson to 7.5 less points a game, as well as league lows in overall and three-point field-goal percentage.

Despite struggles in shooting, Harvard has still been able to hold its own on the defensive side. The team is one of the Ivy’s best in blocks, total rebounds and offensive boards, as well as overall and three-point shooting defense.

Four of Harvard’s top six players are either first-years or sophomores. The top player in that young group is Katie Benzan, who ended up league play sixth in scoring, as well as first in assists (3.9 per game), free-throw percentage (95.0 percent), and made three-pointers (2.9). Among the squad’s upperclassmen, Destiny Nunley, who is third in the Ivy League in blocks (2.0 per game) and rebounds (7.7 per game), is the anchor of the team’s strong interior defense.

The Crimson has lost seven straight to Princeton and eight to Penn, making things tough for Harvard to cut down the nets on Sunday afternoon. Against the Tigers, Harvard is going to have to put that recent history behind and focus on the fact that they played Princeton close both times this season. The Crimson will need to put in a strong defensive effort to match the interior strength of Princeton. They will also need to recover their nonconference shooting touch to counter a deeper and more experienced Tiger team that is superior on offense.

If they can beat Princeton on Saturday, a matchup the following afternoon against Penn at the Palestra may be too difficult a task. However, if Brown pulls the upset in the tournament’s opening game, the Crimson’s fortune looks brighter.

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