Women's Basketball Defeats Penn on Senior Night, 67-54

The Crimson won its 13th straight at Lavietes on Senior Night (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard preserved its unbeaten streak at home and moved into a tie with Penn for second place in the Ivy League standings with a 67-54 victory Saturday night at Lavietes Pavilion.

The Crimson improved to 17-8 overall and 8-3 against the Ivies with the win while the Quakers fell to 15-10 and 8-3. Princeton, which defeated Dartmouth this evening, holds the top spot in the conference with a 10-1 Ancient Eight mark.

Christine Clark scored a game-high 18 points with seven rebounds while shooting 7-of-10 from the field. Temi Fagbenle added 14 points and seven boards on 6-of-8 shooting, while Miriam Rutzen chipped in 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

The Crimson is now 10-0 at Lavietes Pavilion in 2012-13 and has won 13 straight games at home dating back to last year.

Keiera Ray scored 14 points to pace Penn while Alyssa Baron and Brianna Bradford chipped in 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Harvard shot 45.3 percent (24-53) and was 14-of-16 at the free throw line while limiting Penn to just 30.0 percent (18-60) shooting and holding a 40-34 advantage on the glass.

Harvard sprinted out to a 16-2 lead as five different Crimson scored in the first minutes of play. Ali Curtis started things off with a layup in transition and was followed on consecutive possessions by a Victoria Lippert jumper and Miriam Rutzen three. Christine Clark scored five straight points and Temi Fagbenle capped the run off with a pair of jumpers.

Erin McDonnell got in the box score with the Crimson's third three-pointer to begin a 7-0 stretch that pushed the score to 23-4. A layup by Rutzen and free throws from Fagbenle made it a 20-point game, 31-11, but Penn closed the frame on an 8-0 run to pull within 12 at the break, 33-21.

The Crimson shot 48.3 percent (14-29) in the frame against a 21.4 percent (6-28) performance by the Quakers. Harvard also held a 24-15 advantage on the glass and outscored Penn 14-8 in the paint. Clark led all scorers in the half with nine points and four rebounds while Fagbenle added eight points and four boards.

The teams traded baskets early in the second half before a 6-0 stretch moved Penn within eight, 39-31. Clark answered with a shot from deep but baskets by Brianna Bradford and Keiera Ray cut the margin to six, 42-36. Lippert took matters into her own hands with five straight points to regain a 47-36 margin, and the teams continued to go back-and-forth with the lead wavering between 11 points and eight.

Rutzen scored four straight to get Harvard's lead back to 13, 56-43, and free throws from Clark and Elle Hagedorn extended it 59-43. Clark made it a 7-0 run with a layup in transition, moving the score to 61-43 with 3:39 to play.  Penn would not go quietly, however, as a three-pointer from Brianna Bradford and layup from Alyssa Baron pulled the Quakers within 11, 63-52.

The Crimson sealed the victory at the free throw line as Curtis and Rutzen went 4-of-4 in the final 1:15 to lift Harvard to the 67-54 final.

Game Notes: Harvard's victory moves the Crimson into a tie with Penn for second place in the Ivy league with three games remaining … The Crimson improves to 10-0 at home in 2012-13 and has won 13 straight at Lavietes Pavilion dating back to last year … Harvard's senior class of Emma Golen, Elle Hagedorn, Victoria Lippert and Miriam Rutzen improves to 40-7 at Lavietes Pavilion … Seniors Elle Hagedorn, Victoria Lippert and Miriam Rutzen combined for 21 points, 18 rebounds and eight rebounds on Senior Day.