Golen scored in double-digits for the fourth straight game in the Crimson's 72-61 loss at Hartford (Gil Talbot).
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The Harvard women's basketball team battled back from a 15-point deficit but could not complete the comeback, falling at Hartford Thursday night, 72-61.
Four Crimson (5-6) scored in double-digits led by Christine Clark's 15-point, nine-rebound effort. Emma Golen and Victoria Lippert each tallied 12 points while Brogan Berry added 10, as Harvard combined to shoot 42.9 percent from the field. The Crimson held a 36-30 advantage on the glass, including 14 offensive rebounds which led to 14 second chance points.
Nikkia Smith paced Hartford (9-4) with 25 points while Daphne Elliot and Ruthanne Doherty chipped in 14 points and 13 points, respectively. The Hawks shot 49.2 percent on the night and turned 24 Crimson turnovers into 26 points.
Hartford scored on each of its first three possessions to open a 7-2 lead as the Crimson struggled to finish around the hoop early. Smith extended the margin to 12-5 with a mid-range jumper and Amber Bepko's layup with 13:27 remaining made it an 18-9 game in the Hawks' favor. Golen put an end to Harvard's drought with a three from the top of the key, and made a reverse layup on the next possession to pull the Crimson within four, 18-14.
An 11-2 run over the next 3:22 allowed Hartford to push its lead to 13, 29-16, with Smith scoring six straight to cap the stretch off. The Hawks' lead reached as high as 15 points, 35-20, before taking a 41-29 advantage into the locker room at the half. Lippert led Harvard with 10 points at the break as the team combined to shoot 44.4 percent from the floor. 10 Crimson turnovers led to 10 points for the Hawks, however, as Hartford shot 58.1 percent in the frame with Smith pouring in 21 points.
Berry and Miriam Rutzen scored on the Crimson's first two possessions of the second half, but Hartford matched Harvard shot-for-shot and maintained a 49-35 lead with 15:42 on the clock. Rutzen added another basket to make it a 52-39 game and after a pair of Clark free throws the Crimson trailed 53-41.
Clark's layup with 12:44 remaining sparked an 8-0 run which pulled Harvard to within six and gave the Crimson a second life. Golen followed Clark with a three-pointer and two possessions later put in her second reverse layup of the night. Berry's free throw with 7:44 to play pushed the score to 55-49.
Five straight points for Hartford put the lead back in double digits, 62-51, as the Hawks eventually went back on top by 14, 67-53. A three from Berry and three free throws from Clark made it a nine-point deficit, 67-58, with 1:47 on the clock, but Hartford held on down the stretch for the 72-61 victory.
The Crimson will open the New Year Tuesday, Jan. 3 against Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Harvard has outrebounded its opponents in eight straight games and in 10 of 11 games this season … Christine Clark has scored in double figures each game this season and in 13 straight dating back to last season … Emma Golen has scored in double-digits in four straight games and in five of the team's last six outings.