CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In front of a sold-out crowd at Lavietes Pavilion tonight, the Harvard women's basketball team handed Penn its first conference loss of the season, defeating the Quakers 80-72. The Crimson improves to 12-9 overall and 5-3 in Ivy League play, while the Quakers drop to 16-4 and 6-1 in conference action.
Senior co-captain Madeline Raster led the Crimson at both ends of the court with 17 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Jadyn Bush followed closely behind 16 points and nine boards. Two other Crimson players joined the duo in double figures, as Sydney Skinner tallied 13 while Katie Benzan put up 12 points. The Crimson defense held Penn to 2-for-19 (10.5 percent) shooting from the three-point range, while adding seven steals and four blocks.
The teams each exchanged 3-0 runs to open the game, en route to an 8-8 gridlock. Triples from Mackenzie Barta, Benzan and Raster allowed Harvard to build a 16-12 lead through the opening period of play. The Quakers kicked off the second quarter on a 6-1 run, before the Crimson charged back with three unanswered baskets to take a 26-22 lead. A triple from Skinner pushed Harvard's advantage to five, while four points from Bush to end to quarter put Harvard up 33-29 going into halftime.
Harvard extended its advantage to double-digits at the start of the third quarter, leading the Quakers 41-31. A 5-2 run helped Penn cut its deficit to three, as the Quakers trailed by one at 46-45 headed into the final frame. Penn took the lead back at 51-48 midway through the fourth quarter, before the Crimson tied the game at 52-52 with 25 seconds remaining off a pair of free throws from Bush to force overtime.
Penn went up by three at the start of overtime, before Benzan sank a triple to knot the score again at 55-55. After the Quakers put in a pair from the line, Benzan hit her fourth triple of the game to give Harvard a 59-58 advantage. Three points from Skinner put Harvard up by two, but Penn tied the game at 62-62 with two seconds remaining to send the game into a second overtime.
Baskets from Raster, Skinner and Levy put Harvard up by four early in the second overtime. Bush and Levy widened the Crimson's lead to seven, while late free throws sealed the victory for Harvard at 80-72.
- Four Crimson players recorded double-digit points, led by Raster (17) and Bush (16).
- Benzan and Raster each dished out five assists.
- The Crimson defense held Penn to 2-for-19 (10.5 percent) shooting from the three-point range, while adding seven steals and four blocks.
- Harvard handed Penn its first conference loss of the season.
- Harvard improves to 51-32 in its all-time series against Penn.
- Tonight's game was a sell out at 1,636 in attendance.
- This is the second game this season Harvard has gone to double overtime.
Harvard will continue its homestand with Brown and Yale next weekend, Feb. 22-23. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, while both contests will be broadcast on ESPN+.