BRONX, NY - Game two of the Fordham Holiday Classic saw Harvard battle UNC Asheville. The encouraging beginning for the Big South representatives was one that wouldn’t last. Harvard built a 10-point lead by intermission. The Crimson came out and opened that lead to a convincing 18 points after three quarters en route to a 79-62 victory. Harvard, at 10-1, faces Buffalo in the championship of the tournament. UNC Asheville (6-4) will meet host Fordham in the consolation.
First five possessions:
Harvard: Field goal, missed FG, field goal, field goal, jump ball
UNC Asheville: Field goal, field goal, missed FG, three-point FG, jump ball
UNC Asheville led 7-6 at the 6:11 mark, a good start and one that would not be sustained. The Bulldogs trailed by one at the end of the opening quarter. After that, it was all Harvard.
Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith was concerned with UNC Asheville’s penetration. The lane, however, was Crimson property to the tune of a 38-22 edge on points in the paint. Jeannie Boehm, Harvard’s 6-foot-3 center, scored 14 points with a team-high 10 rebounds. No turnovers and two blocks gave her a gaudy effectiveness factor of 26, a 1.08 per minute EF for a 24-minute outing.
KJ Weaver of UNC Asheville had 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Weaver, a 6-foot-1 senior, cleaned the offensive glass with eight rebounds. Harvard did allow 22 offensive boards. On their own behalf, they grabbed 19.
Block party: Harvard rejected six shots, UNC Asheville zero.
The score was tied four times, and there were five lead changes. Those occurrences were in the first and early second quarter. Midway through quarter number two, Harvard had established themselves and were on their way to the win.
Positive assist/turnover ratio for Harvard: 19 assists, 15 turnovers. UNC Asheville checked in with eight assists and a dozen turnovers.
Raw rebounding numbers saw Harvard win the battle 44-37. Still, those 22 offensive boards by the Bulldogs did not resonate well with Crimson mentor Kathy Delaney-Smith.
Possessions: UNC Asheville 66, Harvard 64
Offensive efficiency: UNC Asheville 94, Harvard 123
eFG%: UNC Asheville 35, Harvard 57
Free Throw Rate: UNC Asheville 37, Harvard 18
Offensive Rebound%: UNC Asheville 44, Harvard 56
Turnover Rate: UNC Asheville 18, Harvard 23
Leading scorers and EF:
UNC Asheville: Tianna Knuckles 16 points EF, 22.
Harvard: Katie Benzan 16 points, EF 26.
What UNC Asheville did well: Care for the ball. A low 12 percent turnover rate was a bright spot for coach Brenda Mock-Kirkpatrick’s club, who; in the final analysis, were outshot and out-defended.
What Harvard did well: Sometimes we can over analyze and almost forget the object is to put the ball in the basket. Harvard did that, and did it well. The Crimson eFG percentage was highlighted by an 8-of-19 effort from three-point range.
“We were a little inconsistent at the start. I thought UNC was athletic and forced us to make adjustments. After the first quarter, some of those adjustments helped especially in the area of rebounding. They were a tough rebounding team. We did better as the game went on, but we still gave up 22 offensive rebounds. That is too much. I got a chance to see Buffalo with my assistants. They are an excellent defensive team. I have known Felicia (Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack) as well as Stephanie (Gaitley of Fordham) for quite some time. Both are excellent coaches and their game was a battle. Beside their defense, I feel Buffalo is another team that is very athletic. Boehm (Jeannie) has had injuries in her career. She is a blue-collar kid, works hard inside, and is effective around the basket for us.” - Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith