Feaster leads Crimson to historical upset

Updated: April 5, 2006, 9:20 PM ET
By Melanie Jackson | ESPN.com

Editor's note: As the NCAA celebrates its 25th season of women's basketball, ESPN and ESPN.com count down the top 25 moments of NCAA Tournament history. Here, we continue the countdown with memorable NCAA moment No. 6, Harvard becoming the first 16th seed to upset a No. 1 seed, Stanford, in 1998.

Stanford fans are quick to point out the Cardinal lost two key starters to ACL tears within days of the loss. And women's basketball historians almost insist there should be an asterisk next to the score in NCAA Tournament annuls.

But no one can deny Harvard and Allison Feaster their piece of history. With a 71-67 win over Stanford in the Cardinal's Maples Pavilion on March 14, 1998, the Crimson became the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 in men's and women's tournament history.

Feaster, a senior, was incredible, tallying 35 points and 13 rebounds. She was the nation's leading scorer that season with a 28.5 points-per-game average and had just helped lead Harvard to its third straight Ivy League championship.

But for as much as her offense led the way, a key defensive move from Feaster (she had three steals that night) also was crucial. With Harvard trailing by three points, Feaster stole a half-court pass intended for Stanford All-American Olympia Scott, then followed it up with a layup at the other end. That sparked a 9-2 Crimson run that ultimately snapped Stanford's 59-game home win streak.

Stanford was stunned. Harvard -- in its national television debut -- had pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history.

But to be fair, let's backtrack a bit and tell the whole story. Stanford got off to a 2-4 start that season. But once two-sport star Kristin Folkl joined the team after wrapping up her volleyball season, the Cardinal went 19-1 for a 21-5 record heading into the Big Dance.

But Stanford's Pac-10 regular-season finale -- played March 7, exactly seven days prior to the first-round Stanford-Harvard matchup -- was costly. During a 97-74 rout at Oregon State, Vanessa Nygaard suffered a torn ACL in her left knee. Then just four days later during a team practice, leading scorer and rebounder Folkl went down with the same injury in her left knee. Stanford hosted Harvard three days later.

The losses were devastating, both mentally and physically. Both Nygaard and Folkl were All-Pac-10 selections. Folkl also was a first-team All-American, while Nygaard, a senior, garnered honorable mention honors. Stanford also had reached three straight Final Fours, and Folkl was hoping to cap her senior season with another appearance in '98, where it would be played in her hometown of St. Louis.

Harvard didn't get there either, though. Feaster netted 28 points and 11 rebounds in the second round, but ninth-seeded Arkansas ousted the Crimson 82-64. The Lady Razorbacks went on to reach St. Louis.

Click here to see when the next memorable moment will air in our countdown.

Melanie Jackson | email

Women's Basketball
Melanie Jackson is ESPN.com's women's basketball editor.

ALSO SEE