Women's Basketball Tripped Up at Princeton, 67-51

McDonnell scored a career-high nine points at Princeton Saturday night (Gil Talbot).

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Harvard women's basketball team suffered its second loss of the weekend with a 67-51 setback at Princeton Saturday night.

Victoria Lippert scored a team-high 13 points while Temi Fagbenle added 10 points and eight rebounds. Erin McDonnell, meanwhile, registered a new career-high with nine points and five boards as Elle Hagedorn chipped in seven points and four rebounds. Miriam Rutzen led the defensive charge, grabbing eight rebounds and recording three steals to go with four assists.

Harvard (13-8, 4-3 Ivy League) held a slight rebounding advantage over Pricneton (16-5, 7-0 Ivy League), 38-37, as the teams matched each other with 26 points in the paint. The Crimson (38.9%) and Tigers (39.3%) also shot a similar percentage from the floor but Princeton sank seven three-pointers and added 12 points from the free throw line to help put it over the edge. Blake Dietrick led all scorers with 19 points while Niveen Rasheed turned in a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Harvard came up big at both ends of the court early and took a 10-4 lead out of the gates. Miriam Rutzen prevented Princeton from scoring the first basket of the game as she blocked Niveen Rasheed's layup attempt in transition before a Christine Clark layup and and-one by Victoria Lippert put the Crimson up 5-0. A second and-one by Clark and a layup by Temi Fagbenle gave Harvard the six-point edge.

A putback by Erin McDonnell moved the score to 17-12 before the Tigers were able to take their first lead of the night with a 14-2 run, 26-19. Rasheed began the spurt with a basket in the paint and was followed by four consecutive three-pointers from Michelle Miller and Blake Dietrick. Lippert ended the Crimson's drought with a mid-range jumper and after Jasmine Evans' three-pointer it was back to a five-point game, 29-24.

Trailing 35-24, a conventional three-point play for Lippert and Rutzen layup pulled the Crimson within six, 35-29. Fagbenle drove to the basket to make it a four-point game, 35-31, but the Tigers closed the half with four straight points to take a 39-31 lead into the break.

Harvard shot a combined 46.4 percent in the half but committed 12 turnovers which led to 15 Princeton points. The Tigers also made five three-pointers against one from the Crimson, helping them build the eight-point advantage. Lippert led all scorers with 11 points at half while McDonnell chipped in six.

The Tigers pushed the margin back to double-digits with a pair of baskets to open the half, 43-31. Fagbenle scored the Crimson's first points with a 15-foot jumper and after free throws from Lippert and a three-pointer for McDonnell it was a 45-38 game. The Tigers began to pull away, however, using an 11-0 stretch to open a 58-40 edge with 7:55 to play.

Harvard narrowed the lead to 14 three times over the final minutes but on each occasion Princeton found an answer to hold on for the 67-51 victory.

Harvard returns to Cambridge next week to host Brown Friday, Feb. 22 and Yale Saturday, Feb. 23.

Game Notes: Harvard has outrebounded its opponent in nine straight games ... Erin McDonnell set a new career-high in points both games this weekend ... Harvard's six free throws attempted were a season low.