Harvard women’s basketball tries to keep upper division streak alive
The Harvard women’s basketball team released its 2017-18 schedule and hopes to build on its post-season Ivy Tournament appearance and first-round WNIT victory in 2016-17. This will be the 36th season for legendary head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, who is the only coach to ever guide a No. 16 seed in a victory over a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Smith’s teams have been in the Ivy upper division for 32 of her 35 seasons at Harvard, while placing in the top three each of the last 14 years. With the continuation of the postseason Ivy Tournament, the odds look strong for the Crimson to return to the Palestra in early March.
From last year’s 21-9 (8-6 Ivy, third place) squad, the major loss to graduation was forward Destiny Nunley, who was the team’s second leading scorer (11.0 points per game) and the league’s leading rebounder (7.1 rebounds per game). Fortunately, the Crimson return first-team All-Ivy sophomore guard Katie Benzan, who led the team in scoring (13.4 points per game) and the conference in assists (4.2 assists per contest), USA U-19 World Cup member Jeannie Boehm, a sophomore forward who averaged 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and junior co-captain Madeline Raster, who averaged 10.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Harvard will look to recover Nunley’s numbers from Jadyn Bush, a 5’11” forward who was named the AP Co-Player of the Year in Washington State (along with Dartmouth’s Anne Luce) and Rachel Levy, a 6′ ” forward/guard from Boca Raton Community High School who was a two-time Sun Sentinel Player of the Year in South Florida.
The Crimson will look to repeat their strong nonconference regular season record (12-1) as they play a 13-game slate that includes three tournaments. Harvard will start the season on November 10 at the Maine Tip-Off Tournament, taking on Dayton in the first game and either Tulane or Maine in the second contest. On November 25 and 26, Harvard will visit Charlottesville to take part in the Cavalier Classic. The Crimson will play a true road contest against Virginia one the first day and a neutral court game against North Carolina A&T. Before Christmas, Harvard will travel to Fort Myers, Fla., to take part in the Hilton Garden FGCU Classic. While each school lists different games, Harvard will play two games against FGCU, Akron or Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on December 20 and 21. In non-tournament play, Harvard has return matches against Siena, Sacred Heart, Boston University, Temple, and La Salle, in addition to local rival Northeastern and Stony Brook from the America East.
Following a conference opener in Hanover against Dartmouth on January 6, Harvard will face Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, Columbia and Cornell at the newly renovated Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson went 6-0 in these games last year. Harvard then starts a stretch where it will play six of its final eight games away from Cambridge. The crimson will challenge Princeton and Penn on the road on February 9 and 10, while hosting the top two teams from last year on the 23rd and 24th. They will play at Brown and Yale on February 16 and 17, while closing out the season visiting Cornell and Columbia on the first weekend of March. With a 2-6 record in similar contests last year, Harvard will have its work cut out for itself as it looks to return to the Palestra for a second straight appearance in the postseason Ivy Tournament.
Harvard men’s basketball looks to reclaim Ivy crown in ’17-’18
The Harvard men’s basketball team’s 2017-18 schedule was released last week and is highlighted by several games against nationally ranked opponents. On November 23, the Crimson will travel to Southern California to open the Wooden Legacy Tournament by taking on the St. Mary’s Gaels, one of the nation’s premier mid-major programs, as well as a preseason Top 20 team. On December 2, Harvard will visit Rupp Arena to play John Calipari’s preseason Top 5 Kentucky Wildcats. Just before the end of December, Harvard will head to the Minneapolis to take on another Top 20 team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
With a year of growth for last year’s Top 10 recruiting class, expectations are high that Harvard can reclaim the league title, which it last won in 2014-15 (co-champions with Yale). The Crimson lose the valuable services of Siyani Chambers (9.9 points and 5.9 assists per game), a four time All-Ivy team member, and Zena Edosomwan (7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest), a 2015-16 All-Ivy second-team selection. The team will return sophomore guard Bryce Aiken (14.5 points, 2.8 assists per game), a member of the All-Ivy first team, as well as the conference’s Rookie of the Year. Joining Aiken are sophomore forwards Seth Towns (12.3 points, 4.4 rebounds per game) and Chris Lewis (7.8 and 4.9 rebounds per game), as well as junior guard Corey Johnson (8.2 points, 2.4 three-pointers per game). They will be joined by a three-member incoming class which includes Danilo Djuricic, a 6′ 8″ forward who averaged 10.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in Team Canada’s historic Gold Medal in the recent FIBA U-19 World Cup.
In addition to the game against St. Mary’s, Harvard will have two other contests in the Wooden Legacy. On November 24, they will face St. Joe’s or Washington State, and they will play Georgia, Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State or Sacramento State on the 26th.
The team will open the newly renovated Lavietes Pavilion with its Crimson Madness on October 13th and a November 10th season opener against cross-town rival MIT. During its nonconference schedule, Harvard will look to avenge last year’s losses to UMass, Holy Cross, George Washington, and Vermont, while trying to repeat victories against Northeastern and Fordham. The Crimson will also resume their city series against Boston University and take a trip to New York to visit Manhattan. In the final game of its nonconference slate, the team will travel to South Carolina to play Wofford College of the Southern Conference.
After playing only four of its first 14 games on the road, Harvard will get to open league play at home against its travel partner Dartmouth on January 6. Following its January 10 trip to Spartanburg, the Crimson will spent the next five games back on the road as they have a return match against the Big Green, as well as games against Yale, Brown, Columbia and Cornell. Afterwards, they get six of their last games in Cambridge to close out the conference schedule. The homestand starts with visits from two of last year’s fellow Ivy Tournament participants, league champion Princeton and Penn, on February 9 and 10. Following rematches with Brown and Yale on the 16th and 17th, the Crimson will travel south to avenge last year’s late-season road sweep by the Tigers and the Quakers. The regular season will then conclude with a visit from the Big Red and a senior night matchup with the Lions. The following weekend, Harvard hopes to return to Philadelphia for another shot at the league’s automatic NCAA bid in the Ivy Tournament.