BRONX, N.Y. – Senior guard Jasmine Evans posted a personal-best 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc, to push Harvard women's basketball past Tulsa, 61-57, in the first round of the Fordham Holiday Classic Sunday afternoon at Rose Hill Gym.
Junior forward Temi Fagbenle posted her fourth-straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. It matched the longest streak of double-doubles since Emma Markley in 2009-10. Junior forward Erin McDonnell chipped in 11 points to round out a trip of double-figure Crimson scorers.
Harvard (9-3) shot just 23.3 percent in the second half, but got to the free throw line 15 times, making 11 over the final 20 minutes. Tulsa (4-5) was led by Mariah Turner with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The two teams went back and forth over the first eight minutes, before Tulsa crept out to an 18-14 lead at the 11:36 mark. The Crimson responded with a 13-2 run in a span of five minutes to hold a 27-20 advantage with 6:40 before the break. Harvard held its largest lead of the half, nine, with just under a minute to play, but a completed and-one by Mariah Turner and a Antoinet Webster jumper just before the buzzer pulled the Golden Hurricane within four, 35-31.
Tulsa scored 10 of the first 14 points to open the second half, grabbing a two-point lead, 41-39, with 13:43 to play. The two squads continued to trade baskets, pulling to a tie three times over the next 11 minutes. Leading by a point, 55-54, McDonnell and Melissa Mullins hit back-to-back jumpers to push Harvard's lead to five before Kelsee Grovey nailed a three to pull within one possession.
With Harvard clutching a two-point lead, 59-57, and just under two minutes to play, the Crimson came up with two crucial defensive stops and hit 2-of-4 free throws down the stretch to account for the final score.
Harvard will take on Fordham Monday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. in the championship game of the Fordham Holiday Classic.
Game Notes: Jasmine Evans posted career highs in points (17), field goals made (5) and three pointers made (4). Temi Fagbenle posted her fourth-straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. The four-straight double-doubles is the longest streak for a Crimson player since Emma Markley in 2009-10 (four). It marks Fagbenle's 13th career double-double performance and sixth of the season. Fagbenle has scored double-figures 29 times in her career. Harvard moves to 7-2 with the starting lineup of Curtis, Clark, Mullins, Fagbenle and McDonnell. Erin McDonnell scored in double-digits (11) for the eighth time this season and sixth time over the last seven games. Harvard has won three-straight.