Fagbenle controlled the paint as the Crimson rolled Yale, 67-54 (Gil Talbot).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Harvard women's basketball team started quickly and held off a second-half surge to defeat Yale Friday night, 67-54.
Temi Fagbenle scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Crimson, connecting on 9-of-12 attempts from the floor. Fagbenle also pulled down nine rebounds and added one assist, one block and one steal in just 22 minutes of play.
Harvard (11-6, 2-1 Ivy League) shot 43.8 percent (28-64) as a team while holding Yale (6-11, 1-2 Ivy League) to just 27.8 percent (20-72). The Crimson also owned a 40-12 advantage in points in the paint, a 50-44 edge on the glass and a 24-8 margin in points off the bench.
Fagbenle dominated the game early, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds in the first 4:32 to put Harvard ahead, 8-5. The Crimson kept rolling and went ahead 14-5 thanks to four straight points from Elise Gordon, and Elle Hagedorn's three from the right corner made it a 15-0 run to give Harvard the 19-5 advantage.
The teams traded baskets over the next several minutes with the lead wavering between 14 points and 10 points. Yale eventually cut its deficit to single-digits with Janna Graf at the line, but Jasmine Evans' putback with 1:15 to play put the margin back at 10, 30-20. Elle Hagedorn added a pair of free throws to send the Crimson into the break with a 32-20 edge.
Fagbenle finished the half with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, one assist and one steal in just 12 minutes of play. Ali Curtis and Hagedorn added five points apiece as Harvard outshot the Bulldogs 40.6 percent (13-32) to 19.4 percent (7-36). The Crimson also held a 16-4 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounded Yale, 28-24.
Yale drew first blood with five quick points to open the second half and pulled within six off a Graf three-pointer, 34-28. Fagbenle answered back with a layup on the next possession and after a Christine Clark bucket the lead was back to 10, 38-28. The Bulldogs kept the pressure on, however, using a 7-0 run to make it a three-point game, 38-35, with 13:54 remaining.
Gordon ended the drought with a pair of baskets in the paint, but after the teams traded three-pointers it was back to a four-point margin, 45-41. Yale got to within three points of the lead, 47-44, before the Crimson began to pull away with an 8-0 run for a 55-44 margin.
The Bulldogs remained close and pulled back within seven before a layup by Clark and and-one by Fagbenle opened Harvard's advantage to 61-49 with 4:25 on the clock. A Curtis layup extended the lead to 65-50 as the Crimson walked away with the 67-54 victory.
Harvard returns to the hardwood tomorrow against Brown. Tipoff from Providence, R.I. is slated for 6 p.m.
Game Notes: Temi Fagbenle scored a career-high 20 points in just 22 minutes of play … Harvard held Yale to just 27.8 percent shooting, the lowest percentage by a Harvard opponent since TCU shot just 23.7 percent on Jan. 7, 2012 … Harvard's 50 rebounds were the most for the Crimson since grabbing 55 against Columbia on March 2, 2012.