CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite 18 points from senior captain Christine Clark, Harvard women's basketball (17-6, 7-2) had a 21-game home winning streak halted against Penn, 63-50, Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion.
Senior wing Melissa Mullins registered her first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, adding two steals in 30 minutes of play. Junior forward Temi Fagbenle also notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, her ninth of the season. The nine double-doubles matches the most for a Crimson player since Reka Cserny in 2004-05.
Penn (17-5, 7-1) moves into first place in the Ivy League and was led by senior guard Alyssa Baron with 21 points. Two Quakers also notched double-doubles, as Sydney Stipanovich chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds and Kara Bonenberger added 11 and 11.
Harvard struggled shooting, connecting on 30.8 percent from the floor, including a 26.5 percent showing in the second half. From three, the Crimson shot just 2-of-19, including 1-for-12 over the final 20 minutes.
The two teams came out firing, as the Crimson hit five of its first eight shots over the first four minutes to hold a narrow 12-11 lead. A three from the wing by Clark pushed the Harvard lead to four, but Penn answered with a triple of its own by Baron. A lay-in by Mullins gave the Crimson a 17-14 lead, but the Quakers ripped off a 12-0 spurt to pull ahead, 26-17, with 8:18 to play. Mullins ended the run with a pull-up from the free throw line.
Trailing by nine, 30-21, the Crimson did not allow a field goal for the final 4:55, scoring six of the final seven points. Harvard was within four, 31-27, heading into the locker room.
Penn stretched its lead to 11, 43-32, after scoring 12 of the first 17 points after the break. An old-fashioned three-point play by Clark quieted the run with 11:13 to play. The Red and Blue run included seven points combined from Stipanovich and Bonenberger.
A steal and a bucket by Mullins on the break brought the Crimson within six, 47-41, but Penn quieted Harvard with a 13-5 spurt, making its free throws down the stretch to account for the final score.
Harvard wraps its four-game homestand tomorrow against Princeton. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Lavietes Pavilion.
Game Notes: Melissa Mullins posted her first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. It marked her second double-figure scoring output this season and fourth time she has grabbed 10-plus rebounds. Temi Fagbenle registered her ninth double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, the most for any Crimson player since Reka Cserny in 2004-05. It was the 16th double-figure game of the season for Fagbenle and the 36th of her career. With 18 points, Christine Clark eclipsed the 1600-point plateau (1600) and is five points away from tying Tammy Butler '95 for fourth all-time at Harvard. Clark scored in double-figures for the 91st time in her career and 17th time this season. Harvard moves to 15-5 with the starting lineup of Curtis, Clark, Mullins, Fagbenle and McDonnell.