The dean of Ivy coaches, Kathy Delaney-Smith, announced the 2019-20 schedule for the Harvard women on Wednesday. The season, her 38th at Harvard, includes 13 nonconference games with five matchups against teams that made the postseason in 2019.
Four of these teams, California, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, and Maine, made it to March Madness, while Hartford earned a spot in the WNIT.
Following the Nov. 5 season opener at Northern Illinois, the Crimson will welcome Cal to Lavietes Pavilion on the 8th. The Golden Bears, previously coached by former Brown guard and present Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb, will look for revenge after Harvard upset the then-No. 14 team, 85-79, last December.
The shoe will be on the other foot as the Crimson tries to even the score at home against the Hawks, as well as on the road at the Bobcats (Nov. 30), Scarlet Knights (Nov. 17) and Black Bears (Dec. 7). The contest against Rutgers will again feature two of the nation’s most successful coaches with Delaney-Smith and her 602 career wins going up against C. Vivian Stringer, who has 1,019 victories.
After a post-Finals/pre-Christmas trip to Boca Raton to take part in the Florida Atlantic University Holiday Classic, the team will finish the calendar year and non-conference schedule against Rhode Island.
The Crimson open league play on the road against Dartmouth on January 11, then get the next five games at Lavietes Pavilion, where the team is 13-1 in Ancient Eight action since the arena’s recent renovations. Included in that group are key games against defending regular season co-champion Penn on January 31 and Princeton on February 1.
Last season, Harvard had two overtime classics against the Quakers, winning the home game in double-overtime and losing at the Palestra in one single extra session. Unfortunately, the Ivy Tournament semifinal was anything but a classic, as the Crimson were dominated from start to finish in a 91-62 loss.
The Crimson will aim to have a dominant home-stand, since they went 3-4 on the road in each of the last two years and finish the regular season with six of its last eight away from Cambridge. While the team’s was under .500 in league play last year, Harvard only lost by three points in two of those loses (Princeton and Yale) and five in another (Penn).
After a crucial trip to the Ps and the honoring of the senior class against Columbia and Cornell over the last two February weekends, Harvard will finish the regular season at Brown and historic rival Yale. The team, which has been in the top three for the last 15 years, will look for another upper division finish, so they can claim home court advantage for the following weekend’s Ivy Tournament.
Harvard ended last season 17-13 overall and 9-5 in conference, good enough for its fifth straight third-place finish. Following the devastating Ivy Tournament loss, their third straight semifinal defeat, the Crimson earned their fourth consecutive WNIT at-large bid. The team regrouped to defeat Drexel, 69-56, in the first round, before ending the year with a 70-65 loss to Georgetown.
Delaney-Smith’s crew lost three key members from the backcourt: Madeline Raster, Sydney Skinner and Nani Redford. Fortunately, the team returns three-time first team All-Ivy guard Katie Benzan, one of the nation’s premier three point shooters. They also bring back, arguably, the conference’s deepest frontcourt in Jeannie Boehm, Jadyn Bush and Rachel Levy. The guard-heavy five-person rookie class will look to help offset the graduation losses and propel the Crimson to their first regular season Ivy title since 2008. And don’t forget that if Harvard qualifies for the Ivy League tournament, it’ll get to compete on its home floor, as the tournament will be held at Lavietes next spring.
2019-20 Harvard Women’s Basketball Schedule
11/5 Tue. at Northern Illinois
11/8 Fri. vs CALIFORNIA
11/12 Tue. vs SIENA
11/15 Fri. at La Salle
11/17 Sun. at Rutgers
11/22 Fri. vs HARTFORD
11/26 Tue. at Boston University
11/30 Sat. at Quinnipiac
12/4 Wed. vs NORTHEASTERN
12/7 Sat. at Maine
12/21 Sat. at Florida Atlantic Holiday Classic, Boca Raton
12/22 Sun. at Florida Atlantic Holiday Classic, Boca Raton
12/30 Mon. vs RHODE ISLAND
1/11 Sat. at Dartmouth
1/25 Sat. vs DARTMOUTH
1/31 Fri. vs PENN
2/1 Sat. vs PRINCETON
2/7 Fri. vs YALE
2/8 Sat. vs BROWN
2/14 Fri. at Cornell
2/15 Sat. at Columbia
2/21 Fri. at Princeton
2/22 Sat. at Penn
2/28 Fri. vs COLUMBIA
2/29 Sat. vs CORNELL
3/6 Fri. at Brown
3/7 Sat. at Yale