Lippert put the Crimson ahead for good with her three-pointer late in the game (Gil Talbot).
KINGSTON, R.I. – Christine Clark and Victoria Lippert provided the late game heroics as the Harvard women's basketball team came back from four-point deficit to earn a 63-56 win Sunday afternoon at Rhode Island.
Lippert hit a three-pointer with just 4:14 to play to give the Crimson the lead for good and Clark added another three on the team's next possession to make it a four-point game. The two also combined to go 4-of-4 from the line in the closing seconds, sealing the victory for Harvard.
Clark finished the afternoon with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting while Lippert totaled 11 points. Temi Fagbenle narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds with Elle Hagedorn chipping in eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals off the bench.
The win improves Harvard to 9-5 in conference play, the program's third best non-conference record under head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and the fifth best non-conference record in program history.
Harvard shot 42.9 percent (21-49) for the game and went 6-of-12 from three-point range. Rhode Island (5-10), meanwhile, shot just 37.0 percent (20-54) and was outrebounded by the Crimson, 39-33. Brianna Thomas was URI's leading scorer at 15 points as Megan Straumann chipped in 10 points.
Harvard opened the game on a 12-2 run which included two three-pointers from Emma Golen. Clark added a pair of layups as the Crimson connected on five of its first six attempts from the field. Lippert's three moved the score to 15-4 in Harvard's favor before a 7-0 stretch by the Rams made it a four-point game, 15-11.
Clark ended Harvard's drought with a breakaway layup but the teams combined to score just one point, a Jasmine Evans free throw, over the next 5:25. Brianna Thomas' three ended the skid and pulled URI within four, 18-14, before Harvard extended the lead back out to eight, 22-14, with AnnMarie Healy at the line. The Rams scored the next six points, however, and went into the locker room at half trailing by just five, 28-23.
Both teams struggled from the field after a hot start by the Crimson with Harvard shooting just 10-of-25 for the half against a 9-of-26 performance for URI. Clark led all scorers with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting as Golen chipped in six points on 2-of-2 shooting from three. Harvard held a 22-16 advantage on the glass and a 14-10 edge in points in the paint.
The Rams began the second half with seven unanswered points and took their first lead of the day off a Lara Gaspar layup, 30-28. Fagbenle responded with a spot-up three for a 31-30 Harvard advantage, but another layup by Gaspar and a Tati Johnson bucket put the lead back with URI, 34-31. Trailing 37-34, Lippert hit a turn-around jumper and Ali Curtis added back-to-back baskets to put Harvard on top once again, 40-37, but URI countered with another 7-0 run to open a 44-40 margin.
The teams traded the lead three more times before Lippert's three-pointer with 4:14 remaining gave the Crimson a 52-49 edge. Clark added a three on the team's next trip down the court to move the score to 55-51 and a pair of Fagbenle free throws gave Harvard a six-point margin, 57-51. URI pulled to within three, 59-56, with just 0:19 to play but Clark and Lippert hit a pair of free throws each in the closing moments to secure the victory, 63-56.
Harvard will open non-conference play Saturday, Jan. 12 against Dartmouth at home in Lavietes Pavilion at 2 p.m.
Game Notes: The win improves Harvard to 9-5 in non-conference play, the program's third best non-conference record under head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and the fifth best non-conference record all-time … Christine Clark went over 20 points for the third time this season, Harvard's sixth 20-point performance … Temi Fagbenle grabbed 10 rebounds for the fourth time this season and has averaged 9.6 rpg over the team's last five games … Harvard has held five opponents to fewer than 60 points.