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Women's Basketball's Rally Falls Short in 60-57 Loss to North Dakota

The Crimson came up short in its comeback attempt, falling 60-57 to North Dakota Tuesday (Ron Feltman).

HANOVER, N.H.  – The Harvard women's basketball team trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half but had a chance at a game-tying buzzer beater, only to come up on the wrong end of a 60-57 score Tuesday night against North Dakota in Lavietes Pavilion.

Victoria Lippert scored a team-high 15 points for the Crimson (8-7, 1-0 Ivy League), hitting 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three. Christine Clark added 10 points and seven rebounds while Brogan Berry notched nine points and six assists.

The Crimson shot 40.0 percent for the game but allowed North Dakota (9-9) to hit on 50.0 percent of its attempts. UND was led by Nicole Smart's 12 points as the team owned a 24-16 advantage in the paint.

North Dakota took a 5-0 lead to open the game and went ahead 12-6 on Smart's three-pointer with 14:49 to play. Miriam Rutzen ended UND's run with a baby hook in the lane and hit a straight-away three on the team's next possession to make it a 12-11 game. After a North Dakota bucket, Elle Hagedorn again made it a one-point game, 14-13, with a tough runner in the lane.

Harvard tied the game at 16 on a Lippert three but found itself trailing 24-18 after an 8-2 run by UND. Emma Golen sank a trey from the right wing to cut the deficit to 24-21, before North Dakota closed the half on a 7-2 run to take a 31-23 edge into the locker room. Berry, Lippert and Rutzen each had five points at the break as the Crimson combined to shoot just 36.4 percent. UND, meanwhile, shot 51.9 percent led by Brianna Williams' nine points and Smart's eight, and notched 11 second-chance points.

North Dakota opened a 12-point lead out of the break, 36-24, but back-to-back baskets by Clark and Rutzen pulled the Crimson within eight, 36-28. Emily Evers' jumper pushed UND's lead back into double-digits, 40-29, before Lippert's three in transition sparked a 12-5 run to make it a four-point game. Missy Mullins followed Lippert with a three of her own, and Lippert responded to a North Dakota three-pointer with a jumper to cut the deficit to six. Lippert continued to show off her hot hand and hit a turn-around jumper before Berry moved the score to 45-41 with a pair of free throws.

UND responded with a 7-0 run that was ended by Golen's three from the right wing to put the score at 52-44 with 5:19 to play. Trailing 54-45, Lippert came away with a steal that led to a fast break layup by Clark and after a Rutzen jumper with 2:07 remaining, Harvard trailed 56-49. Lippert made it a four-point game on the following possession, 56-52, as she hit yet another three-pointer after an offensive rebound by Rutzen gave the Crimson an extra possession.

Clark hit a put back with 22 seconds remaining to make it a three-point game, 58-55, and Berry's layup with 13 seconds on the clock put the score at 60-57. Harvard was forced to foul on the inbounds play and sent Cnise Mothershed to the line for a 1-and-1. Mothershed missed the front end and the rebound went to Lippert, but Clark's three-point attempt at the other end was short and gave the ball back to North Dakota. With 3 seconds remaining the Crimson put Katie Houdek on the line and she proceeded to miss both her attempts, giving Harvard one final opportunity as Lippert against came down with the rebound. The junior was stripped of the ball before she could get away a potential game-tying half court heave, however, giving the victory to UND, 60-57.

Harvard will return to action Friday, Jan. 27 when it hosts Yale at 7:00 p.m. in Lavietes Pavilion.

GAME NOTES: Victoria Lippert led the Crimson in scoring for the fourth time this season, while Christine Clark led the team in rebounding for the sixth time … Christine Clark has scored in double-digits each game this season and in 17 straight dating back to last season … Harvard has outrebounded its opponents in 13 of 15 games this season … The loss drops the Crimson to 3-2 at home this season and 33-8 since 2008-09.