Women's Basketball Opens WNIT at Fordham Friday

Senior Taylor Rooks and the Crimson head to its eighth WNIT, playing at Fordham Friday (Gil Talbot).
Senior Taylor Rooks and the Crimson head to its eighth WNIT, playing at Fordham Friday (Gil Talbot).
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Harvard (18-10, 10-4 Ivy) at Fordham (22-9, 12-4 A10)
March 16, 2018
          7 p.m.
Rose Hill Gym
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A-10 Network
Series tied, 2-2
     L, 44-64 (Dec. 30, 2013)
Harvard Game Notes

The Harvard women's basketball team (18-10) has been selected to the WNIT for the eighth time in program history, the tournament's selection committee announced Monday night. The Crimson will take on Fordham (22-9) on Friday, March 16 in Bronx, N.Y. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. and be shown live on the Atlantic 10 Network. Harvard will be making its sixth appearance in the WNIT over the past seven seasons. 

Harvard fell in the Ivy League Tournament semifinals to Penn, 57-52. For the ninth time this season, Katie Benzan scored 20 points, while Jeannie Boehm matched her career-high with 14 rebounds against the Quakers. Senior Taylor Rooks posted her sixth double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Harvard outrebounded Penn, 48-45. 

This is Harvard's eighth appearances in the WNIT, most among Ivy League schools, and on March 15, 2012 the Crimson earned the first WNIT win in Ancient Eight history with its 73-71 victory at Hofstra. Harvard followed that victory up a year later with a 61-57 win at Hartford in the first round of the 2013 tournament and also won its opening round matchup last year at New Hampshire, 69-56. The Crimson became the first team in conference history to earn an at-large berth to a postseason tournament with an invitation to the WNIT in 2014. 

This will be the program's 14th postseason appearance, the most of any Ivy League team. Harvard has competed in six NCAA Tournaments, and in 1998 became the only No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament on either the men's and women's side when it defeated Stanford, 71-67. 

Scouting Fordham
The Rams finished third in the final Atlantic 10 standings, going 12-4 in conference play. Overall, Fordham posted a 22-9 record, the 10th 20-win season in program history and fifth in the last seven years.

Leading the way for the Rams this season are the program's first-ever conference Defensive Player of the Year, G'mrice Davis, who was also named first team all-conference for a second-straight year, and redshirt freshman Bre Cavanaugh, who became Fordham's first rookie to earn all-conference honors with her second team recognition. 

The Rams hold a 4-3 all-time record in the postseason WNIT. Last year, Fordham rallied to erase a halftime deficit and defeat Georgetown on the road before falling in the second round at Penn State. The furthest the program has reached was the third round, losing at James Madison after defeating both Army and Boston University at home in 2013. 

Series History
Harvard and Fordham first met in 1986, a 77-76 victory for the Crimson. The teams met two more times in Cambridge with Harvard taking a 76-61 decision in 1990 before Fordham won its first game in the series in 1991, 87-77. The most recent meeting occurred Dec. 30, 2013 at Rose Hill Gym with the Rams winning 64-44.

Harvard played at Rose Hill Gym last season, competing in the Fordham Holiday Classic. The Crimson and Rams did not face each other, but Harvard did earn wins over UNC Ashville and Buffalo. 

Harvard has qualified for each of the first two Ivy League Tournaments as the three seed. This season, the Crimson went 10-4 in the Ancient Eight and beat Penn and Princeton for the first time since 2014.  

Sophomore Katie Benzan is among the best shooters in the nation from 3-point range. Her 44.9 percent shooting percentage from distance is fourth-best in the nation. She has made 97 3-pointers this season, and 182 in her career, which is third all-time. The 97-made 3-pointers broke her own single-season program record, as she hit 85 a year ago as a freshman. Victoria Lippert '12 ranks second all-time in career threes with 185 and Erin Maher '92 is the program-leader with 245.

The Crimson's 8.3 3-pointers per game is the highest average in the Ancient Eight and ranks 32nd nationally. Harvard hit a season-high 14 triples at Northeastern Dec. 6, as well as Jan. 26 against Yale. 

Sophomore forward Jeannie Boehm has made it difficult for opponents to score during her career. This season, she has blocked 70 shots, ranking second in the Ivy League with 2.5 per game. Her 70 blocks are the sixth-most in a single season. As a freshman in 2017 she swatted 73, the fifth-most. 

Senior Taylor Rooks registered her team-best sixth double-double March 10, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the Ivy League Tournament semifinals vs. Penn. Sophomore Jeannie Boehm has four double-doubles this season, most recently at Cornell (15 points, 10 rebounds). Freshman Jadyn Bush earned her first collegiate double-double Feb. 3 vs. Cornell with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

Freshman Jadyn Bush had a career-outing Sunday, March 4 when she scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting. The Federal Way, Washington native made her first six shots of the game. 

Harvard's triumph over Yale Jan. 26 saw the Crimson dish out 28 assists. That figure represented the most assists since the 2016-17 season-opener at Minnesota when Harvard had 27 dimes.

Juniors Madeline Raster and Nani Redford wrote a phenomenal blogs as part of the Athletic Department's larger "Around the Yard" series. Raster detailed her experience on a mission trip to Trinidad and Tobago where she spent a week teaching sports to underprivileged children and Redford described her trip to Africa.

LINK: Around the Yard with Madeline Raster 

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