Women’s Basketball Ranked Second in Ivy League Preseason Poll

Women's Basketball Locker Room

The Crimson returns 13 letterwinners, including four starters, for the 2012-13 season (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's basketball team has been picked second in the 2012-13 Ivy League Preseason Poll after posting an 18-12 record a year ago and advancing to the second round of the WNIT.

Harvard received 120 points in the poll and garnered four first-place votes, its highest total since receiving 115 points and five first-place votes in the 2009-10 poll. Princeton, winners of three-straight Ivy League titles, was picked first with 132 points and 13 first-place votes. Yale finished third with 96 points while Penn (76), Brown (61), Cornell (58), Dartmouth (46) and Columbia (23) rounded things out.

The Crimson put together a solid campaign in 2011-12 culminating in the program becoming the first in Ivy League history to advance to the WNIT second round when it defeated Hofstra on its home court, 73-71. Harvard finished 18-12 overall and 10-4 in Ancient Eight play, marking the fourth consecutive year the Crimson has finished second in the conference.  The team also boasted victories over St. John's, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and was ranked 14th in the final AP Poll, Boston University, UMass and TCU.

13 letterwinners return this season including a pair of All-Ivy League selections and four starters from a year ago. Senior Victoria Lippert headlines the group and enters the year ranked 14th in program history with 1,108 career points. The senior swing player has been named to the All-Ivy second team each of the last three years and also ranks third all-time in three-point field goals (134) and seventh in career starts (75). Lippert's 11.7 ppg were good for 10th in the Ancient Eight last season while she also ranked ninth in both field goal percentage (43.6) and three-point field goal percentage (34.5).

Junior Christine Clark, a first team All-Ivy pick a year ago and a member of the conference's all-rookie team in 2010-11, is on pace to become the next Crimson to eclipse the 1,000 point plateau as she enters the season with 796 career points. Her career 13.7 ppg scoring average is eighth-best in program annals while her 218 career free throws have her ranked sixth all-time. Clark ranked fourth in the conference last year with 15.3 ppg, was 11th in steals (1.5) and 13th in rebounds (5.6).

Serving as co-captains for the upcoming season are seniors Emma Golen and Miriam Rutzen. Golen averaged 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds as a junior, and was the Crimson's best shooter from behind the arc. She connected on 40.4 percent of her three-point attempts, good for second in the Ivy League, and averaged 1.5 per contest. Rutzen, meanwhile, started all 30 games for the Crimson, leading the team and ranking sixth in the Ivy League with 6.3 rebounds per game. Rutzen also ranked sixth in the conference with 0.8 blocks per contest while adding 1.2 steals per game and 5.5 points.

Also returning for the Crimson are senior Elle Hagedorn (2.8 career ppg, 2.7 career rpg), juniors Marissa Brock (1.1 ppg, 0.5 rpg), Jasmine Evans (3.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Elise Gordon (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg) and Missy Mullins (2.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg), and sophomores Ali Curtis (0.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg), Kaitlyn Dinkins (0.4 ppg, 0.4 rpg) and Erin McDonnell (1.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg). Additionally, sophomore Temi Fagbenle, who did not compete last year while sitting a year in residency, will be added to the fold for 2012-13. Fagbenle was ranked as the 13th-best recruit in the Class of 2011 by ESPN and became just the second women's basketball player in Ivy League history to play in the Olympics this summer. The native of London, England, appeared in all five games for Great Britain at the 2012 summer games, including three starts, and averaged 4.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 1.2 bpg.

Harvard's lineup will also get a boost from the addition of three freshmen; AnnMarie Healy, Kit Metoyer and Shilpa Tummala. Healy, a 6-1 forward from Edina, Minn., led Providence Academy to the Minnesota State Championship as a senior and to a fourth-place finish as a junior. Metoyer is a 5-10 guard from Houston, Texas, who guided Cypress Falls High School to a 75-4 record in her final two seasons and a national ranking of 13 at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season by USA Today. Tummala, ranked 68th in last year's recruiting class by ESPN, is a 5-11 guard from Phoenix, Ariz. As a senior, she helped St. Mary's High School to a perfect 30-0 record and a final national ranking of No. 1 by ESPN, USA Today and Maxpreps. Tummala captained St. Mary's to back-to-back state championships as a junior and senior, and helped the team to runner-up finishes as a freshman and sophomore.

The Crimson's season will get underway Nov. 9 at North Dakota State. Harvard will take on North Dakota Nov. 11 before making its home debut Nov. 16 against BYU.