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With a Winning Record to End 2023, Harvard Basketball Faces Yale to Open Conference Play

Harvard women's basketball faces Yale in its first Ivy League matchup of the 2023-2034 season.
Harvard women's basketball faces Yale in its first Ivy League matchup of the 2023-2034 season. By Zadoc I.N. Gee
By Molly R. Malague, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard women’s basketball has not been shy about what it hopes to accomplish in its second year under Coach Carrie Moore. The 2023 Ivy Madness runners-up want to outplay their past selves and, most importantly, bring home some serious hardware.

“We obviously want to win an Ivy championship, make it to the NCAA tournament,” sophomore forward Katie Krupa said in a pre-season interview.

Krupa said the team does not only want to qualify for the tournament, but to “hopefully make a run.”

En route to the realization of these goals stand 14 conference clashes. The first battle will play out Saturday, with a home game against Ivy league rival Yale (3-10).

For centuries now, a meeting of Harvard and Yale athletics teams has never failed to stir (largely affable) animosity. The intensity of the schools’ academic and cultural rivalry, though, has not always translated to the hardwood: across their 93 series games, Harvard has outperformed Yale in 56. A win Saturday would propel the Crimson toward its lofty goal.

The 2022-2023 season saw a series split, with the Bulldogs scraping together a 71-70 win in an overtime thriller in January, leaving Lavietes Pavilion victorious for the first time in over a decade. The Crimson quickly squashed any doubt of their supremacy, however, leaving New Haven not a month later with a decisive 67-54 reprisal.

Heading into Saturday, a winning early-season record can boost Crimson confidence.

“Pre-conference games are very important, they are great preparation for the Ivy’s,” junior Harmoni Turner said in November. “They give us a look at where we are in terms of … where we are as a team collectively.”

The Cambridge crew fared well in this opening portion of the season. Its losses have been to historically powerful programs, including Maryland, Baylor, Michigan, and Boston University. Having performed strongly against its competitive non-Ivy opponents, the team will look to build upon work put in over the winter J-term.

What has proven one of the toughest — and most unexpected — battles of the season has had nothing to do with big-name programs. It has been with injury. One of the biggest hurdles the team has had to overcome is the loss of standout point guard Harmoni Turner. The junior exited an early December game against Michigan with a knee injury. The team announced that she would be out “indefinitely,” which has forced Coach Moore to make a few changes in her lineup.

As a sophomore, the Texas native averaged 16 points and six rebounds, earning first-team all-Ivy honors. Her play was even more impressive as her junior campaign got underway; before her injury, Turner was netting over twenty points and adding 4 assists and 5 rebounds per game. These stats had her near the top of every column in the nation.

She was a fixture on the court, playing nearly 34 minutes and only rarely rotating through the bench. Now, the coaching staff has been trying out different players at this point to fill the hole left by Turner’s absence.

Elena Rodriguez, always a steady contributor, continues to play big when the team needs her most. In the team’s most recent 88-58 trouncing of the University of Delaware, the junior from Spain tallied a whopping 33 points, shooting five-for-five from beyond the arc while also collecting 11 rebounds. She has contributed double-digits in each game of Turner’s absence.

Other key contributors to watch, not only in Saturday’s game, but for the remainder of the season, are Senior captain Lola Mullaney – who has bagged more than 20 points in three different games, averaging over fifteen and scoring least 10 in all but two – and sophomore guard Saniyah Glenn-Bello. Glenn-Bello has stepped up her playing time in Turner’s absence, scoring 15 points against Delaware after a 10-point performance in a game against UMass Lowell.

The Crimson will be home for its first two conference games, hosting Yale and Princeton before taking to the road for a matchup with Brown.

—Staff writer Molly Malague can be reached at

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