Women's Basketball Clinches WNIT Bid with 66-56 Win at Cornell

Women's Basketball Clinches WNIT Bid with 66-56 Win at Cornell

The Crimson earned another trip to the WNIT with its 11th straight win over the Big Red (Gil Talbot).

Ithaca, N.Y. – A 20-point night from Christine Clark and a double-double by Temi Fagbenle helped lift the Harvard women's basketball team to a 66-56 win over Cornell Saturday night, securing the Crimson its second straight berth to the WNIT.

Harvard (19-8, 10-3 Ivy League) moved in to sole possession of second place in the Ancient Eight standings thanks to Penn's loss at Yale, 70-65. With one game remaining and the Crimson owning the tiebreaker over the Quakers, Harvard has locked up the conference's automatic bid to the WNIT. This will mark the Crimson's second straight appearance in the tournament and is its fourth in five years.

The victory also improved the Crimson's win streak to six, its longest since 2010-11.

Clark scored a game-high 22 points to pace the Crimson, shooting 6-of-13 from the field and 10-of-11 from the line. Fagbenle registered her second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 boards as she shot 7-of-10 from the field. Victoria Lippert chipped in 13 points.

Harvard finished the day shooting 44.4 percent (24-54) with a 15-of-18 performance at the line. The Crimson also outrebounded Cornell (13-15, 5-9 Ivy League) 44-31 while holding the Big Red to just 18-of-60 shooting. Taylor Flynn scored 21 points to lead Cornell as Allyson DiMagno registered 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Fagbenle began the scoring with a pair of baskets in the paint and then corralled and offensive rebound to set up Ali Curtis for a 12-foot jumper as Harvard stormed out to a 6-0 lead. A quick burst pulled Cornell to within one, 6-5, before baskets by Christine Clark, Fagbenle and Victoria Lippert moved the score to 12-5. The Big Red once again made a run at the lead but after Lippert's three-pointer from the right wing the Crimson were in the lead, 15-11.

Miriam Rutzen scored five straight points to help Harvard's lead grow to 21-18, and a three from Jasmine Evans pushed it to 24-15. Following a Taylor Flynn jumper, the Crimson closed the half on a 7-0 run which featured five points from Clark to take a 31-17 advantage into the intermission.

Harvard shot 52.0 percent (13-25) in the frame and 3-of-6 from three while holding Cornell to a 23.1 percent (6-26) performance. Clark led the way with seven points as Fagbenle chipped in six points and five rebounds. The Crimson held a 21-11 edge on the glass and outscored the Big Red 16-4 in the paint.

Harvard struggled to find a rhythm early in the second half as the Big Red outscored the Crimson 11-5 through the first six-plus minutes. Lippert ended Harvard's drought with a mid-range jumper and following a pair of Clark free throws the lead was back at 12, 40-28. Cornell would not go quietly, however, and pulled to within 46-39 with 8:46 remaining.

Buckets by Fagbenle and Lippert regained a double-digit margin for the Crimson, 50-39, and following a pair of free throws by Clark Harvard was on top by 13, 54-11. Allison Bockrath and Allyson DiMagno made four straight from the charity stripe for the Big Red, but Clark went to work down low on back-to-back possessions to put the score at 58-47 with just 2:09 to go.

Harvard went 6-of-6 at the line in the final 1:17 to preserve the victory, 66-56.

Game Notes: Harvard has won six straight games, marking the team's longest win streak since 2010-11 ... Temi Fagbenle registered her second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds … Fagbenle now has seven double-doubles on the year, the most for the Crimson since 2009-10 … Christine Clark scored 20-plus points for the seventh time this season and 13th time in her career … The Crimson improved to 58-11 all-time against Cornell and has won 11 straight against the Big Red.