Photo of senior co-captain Christine Matera courtesy of Gil Tablot.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Harvard women's basketball battled back in the second half for a 56-48 win over Penn at The Palestra Friday night. Harvard's win coupled with a lost by Yale that night, moved the Crimson back into second place in the league and gives Harvard a shot at postseason play.
Victoria Lippert and Emma Markley both led the Crimson with 13 points and Brogan Berry added 10 points for three double-digit scorers. Lippert led the team in rebounds with six, while Berry and Christine Matera each handed out four assists.
The home team came out strong, cruising to a 7-0 lead two minutes and 30 seconds into the game, and forcing Harvard to call a timeout. After the stop, Markley nailed a jumper to get the Crimson on the scoreboard. But a Quaker three-pointer and follow-up jumper after a Harvard miss, gave Penn a 12-2 lead four minutes into the game. The Quakers increased its lead to 15-4 on another trey, but the Crimson answered with a Matera basket from beyond the arc to cut it to 15-7, with 15:06 left in the first half. Penn extended its lead to 11 before the under eight media timeout and the Crimson quickly cut the lead to nine, 21-13, on a three-point Clark play. Penn was unable to get ahead by more than 11 in the final seven minutes of the game, a three from Lippert with less than 23 seconds on the shot clock, cut the lead to 30-22.
The Crimson struggled from the field, shooting only 29.2 percent in the first 20 minutes, while the Quakers hit 50 percent of their shots. Harvard held a 16-10 edge in rebounds but committed 10 turnovers.
Harvard started the second stanza off with five points in 45 seconds to make it's a three-point game, 30-27. Penn answered with seven of its own points before a Matera three-pointer and then a Berry steal that resulted in a fast break lay-up to cut the deficit to 36-34 with 14:11 to play. Four minutes later another three from Matera tied the score at 39. The Quakers fired from downtown to go up 42-39 midway through the second session. Clark hit her next shot from the floor to make it 42-41.After tying it again at 45, the Crimson took its first lead of the night, 47-46 with 3:35 to play when Jasmine Evans hit a lay-up. Berry extended that lead to 51-46 on a Berry lay-up and two Clark free throws. The Crimson extended its lead as time wound down.
The Crimson shot 34 percent from the field and hit 16-of-17 free throw attempts for a 94.1 clip. Harvard held Penn to just 15 percent shooting in the second stanza to give them a 32 percent effort on the night. The Quakers won the battle on the glass, outrebounding Harvard, 37-31.
Harvard travels to league leader Princeton, who clinched at least a share of the Ivy League title with an 81-42 win over Dartmouth Friday night, Saturday. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.