Women's Basketball Wins Fourth Straight Home Opener Over BYU, 71-65

Harvard won its fourth straight home opener behind Lippert's double-double (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Victoria Lippert recorded a double-double and Christine Clark added 18 points as the Harvard women's basketball team defeated BYU, 71-65, Friday evening in the team's home opener.

Lippert hit two three-pointers and was a perfect 5-of-5 at the line while Clark went 8-of-16 from the floor and added a team-best four assists. Temi Fagbenle also scored in double-figures with 13 points and Miriam Rutzen chipped in nine.

Harvard (2-1) shot a season-high 50.9 percent (27-53) for the game and was 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Emma Golen went 2-of-2 from three-point range and is now 9-of-10 for the year.

The Crimson outrebounded BYU (2-2) 29-26 and held a 40-28 advantage in the paint. The Cougars were led by Kim Beeston's 19-point effort which included a 5-of-7 performance from three.

BYU took an 8-4 edge to open the game as Beeston hit two early three-pointers but a Fagbenle jumper and a pair of Clark free throws evened the score at eight. Lippert gave the Crimson its first lead with an and-one, 11-8, and Golen broke a 14-all tie with a three for a 17-14 margin. Harvard tried to pull away as Jasmine Evans got behind the BYU press for an easy lay-in and a 21-16 advantage, but the long-range shooting of the Cougars allowed the visitors to retie the score at 23.

BYU used a 9-2 run to go back out in front, 32-27, and Lexi Eaton's jumper sent the Cougars into the locker room at intermission with a 34-29 edge. Harvard shot 45.5 percent (10-22) in the frame, led by Lippert's seven-point effort as Fagbenle and Clark each added six points. BYU shot 50.0 percent (13-26) and hit four three-pointers to Harvard's one.

Harvard came out firing after the break and went ahead 36-34 with a 7-0 run. Clark started the scoring with a layup on the team's first possession and Lippert capped it off with a shot from beyond the arc. The team's traded the lead back-and-forth in the following minutes with Clark, Fagbenle and Missy Mullins each putting the Crimson on top. Fagbenle was the last to do so and scored six straight points to give Harvard a 52-48 advantage with 10:21 remaining.

Rutzen made it a six-point game, 57-51, with a three from the elbow before BYU answered back with another Beeston triple. Keilani Unga's layup pulled the Cougars within one, but a pair of Clark baskets helped the Crimson maintain its edge. BYU eventually tied the score at 63 with Unga at the line, however, Lippert stepped up and hit a deep three with a hand in her face to move the score to 66-63.

Two free throws by Eaton kept the game close but Golen's second trey extended the margin to four, 69-65, with just 0:22 to play. The senior co-captain forced a turnover under the basket on BYU's ensuing possession and after a pair of Lippert free throws the Crimson walked away with the 71-65 victory.

Harvard returns to action Tuesday, Nov. 20 at Holy Cross at 7 p.m.

Game Notes: Harvard has won four straight home openers dating back to 2009-10 … Victoria Lippert's double-double was the fourth of her career … Harvard shot over 50.0 percent from the field for the first time since shooting 51.0 percent (26-51) at Yale last year … Emma Golen went 2-of-2 from three against BYU and has shot 9-of-10 from beyond the arc for the year.