Women's Basketball Can't Withstand Yale's Second-Half Run, Falls 68-63

Victoria Lippert cuts through the opposing defense in the team's 63-56 win over St. John's (Gil Talbot).
Victoria Lippert cuts through the opposing defense in the team's 63-56 win over St. John's (Gil Talbot).

Harvard's could not withstand a second-half surge by Yale as the Bulldogs pulled out a 68-63 win Friday night (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's basketball team led by as many as 10 points in the first half but could not withstand an early run by Yale in the second, as the Bulldogs stole a 68-63 victory over the Crimson Friday night in Lavietes Pavilion.

Christine Clark scored a game-high 16 points on 8-of-19 shooting, including 10 points after the break. Victoria Lippert made 6-of-9 from the floor and was 3-of-5 from three as she notched 15 points, and Emma Golen matched her career-high with 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Miriam Rutzen pulled down 11 rebounds to go with her eight points, and Brogan Berry dished out six assists.

Harvard's (8-8, 1-1 Ivy League) defense was sound for most of the game, thanks in large part to a season-high 10 blocks, as the Crimson limited Yale (10-7, 2-1 Ivy League) to 35.3 percent shooting. The Bulldogs' big advantage came in the second half, however, when it made six of its nine three's for the game and sank 10-of-12 free throws. Janna Graf scored 16 points to lead the Yale offense while Megan Vasquez and Sarah Halejian added 15 and 11, respectively.

The Crimson opened the game on an 8-0 run, with Clark, Berry, Lippert and Elle Hagedorn each getting into the scoring mix. Harvard led 11-5 after a Lippert three and went ahead 15-7 on a Rutzen layup with 9:22 to play in the half. A 9-0 Yale run gave the Bulldogs its first lead of the night, 16-15, but Clark capped off an identical 9-0 stretch for the Crimson with back-to-back buckets to put the home team back in front, 24-16.

Golen's three with 1:02 on the clock gave Harvard its largest lead at 28-18, before Yale closed the period on a 6-1 spurt to pull within 29-24 at the break. Lippert led all scorers with 10 points and five rebounds in the half, and the Crimson dominated the Bulldogs on the glass and held a 26-16 advantage.

Harvard was unable to carry its momentum into the second half as Yale used a 12-0 run out of the break to gain a 36-29 edge. A layup by Clark and three-pointer by Lippert pulled the Crimson within three, 41-38, and with 10:56 to play Golen put Harvard back on top by one, 45-44, with her second three of the night.

The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes with both holding leads as large as three points. A pair of Golen free throws gave Harvard a 55-52 advantage, but it was the last time the Crimson would be in front. Aarica West's three on Yale's next possession evened the score at 55, and a layup by Vasquez and three from Graf put the Bulldogs in front 60-55.

Rutzen hit a baseline jumper with 1:24 to go to make it a 62-61 game in Yale's favor, and a jumper by Golen with 20 seconds remaining pulled Harvard within two, 65-63. The Crimson was forced to foul to put the Bulldogs on the line, however, and Yale hit 3-of-4 in the final 17 seconds to hold on for the 68-63 victory.

Harvard returns to action Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. when it hosts Brown at Lavietes Pavilion.

Game Notes: Brogan Berry scored five points to move past Emily Tay '09 into ninth place on Harvard's career scoring list where she now stands with 1,267 points … The Crimson blocked a season-high 10 shots, led by Miriam Rutzen's four and Missy Mullins' three … Christine Clark scored a game-high 16 points and has now scored in double-digits in 18 straight games dating back to last season … Emma Golen matched her career-high of 13 points 4-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three … Emma Golen entered the game leading the Ivy League in three-point percentage, and upped that percentage to 46.9 with her 2-of-3 performance … Harvard outrebounded Yale 44-39 and has outrebounded its opponents in 14 of 16 games.