Harvard has started 3-1 or better in conference play each of the last three years (Gil Talbot).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Harvard women's basketball team outscored Brown 51-30 over the final 28:08 to overcome an 11-point first half deficit and earn a 68-58 win at Brown Saturday evening.
The comeback started at the defensive end where Harvard (12-6, 3-1 Ivy League) forced 14 turnovers and held Brown (7-11, 1-3 Ivy League) to 9-of-36 shooting during its run. The Crimson, meanwhile shot 17-of-29 with just 10 turnovers.
Christine Clark scored 19 points with six rebounds, three assists and three steals to lead Harvard. Temi Fagbenle and Victoria Lippert each turned in 14 points while grabbing nine rebounds and eight rebounds, respectively. Fagbenle controlled the post for the second night in a row, shooting 5-of-7 to go along with three blocks and four steals.
The Crimson finished the night shooting 41.4 percent (24-58) against 35.8 percent (19-53) from the Bears. Harvard also owned a 43-31 advantage on the glass and scored 15 points off 17 offensive rebounds. Lauren Clarke was the game's high scorer at 20 points as Sophie Bikofsky added 13.
Both offenses got going early as the team's combined for 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting through the first 4:54. Clark scored six straight points during this stretch to help Harvard keep pace with Brown, but back-to-back turnovers jumpstarted a 17-6 run as the Bears opened a 28-17 advantage. Clarke scored seven of the 17 Brown points, converting two layups and hitting her second three-pointer of the half.
Harvard outscored Brown 16-7 over the final 8:08 to pull within two before the half, 35-33. Elise Gordon got this going with a layup off a feed from Clark, and the junior followed that up with a three-pointer from the wing on the team's next possession. A pair of jumpers from Lippert pulled the Crimson within five before Fagbenle's layup made it a three-point game, 33-30, with 2:51 remaining. Elle Hagedorn evened the score at 33 with her three-pointer from the corner, but a Bikofsky layup gave Brown the two-point edge at the break.
Clark scored 13 points before the intermission on 5-of-8 shooting while Lippert added nine points on 4-of-9 shooting. Both also pulled down four rebounds as Harvard held a 21-12 advantage on the glass.
Lippert opened the second half with her second three of the evening, giving Harvard its first lead since 19:12 of the first half, 36-35. A layup by Sheila Dixon but Brown back out in front but Ali Curtis was quick to respond, hitting pull-up jumpers on back-to-back possessions for a 40-37 Crimson lead. Tied at 40, Harvard took the lead for good off a Fagbenle and-one, 43-30, with 14:43 to play.
Baskets by Gordon and Erin McDonnell moved the score to 47-42, but the Bears closed to within two, 49-47, on a Bikofsky three. Fagbenle came up with the big shot this time for the Crimson, knocking down a three-pointer, and a shot from behind the arc by Clark put the score at 55-49 with 4:39 remaining.
Fagbenle made it a 58-49 game with one at the line and a layup, and after two Jasmine Evans free throws Harvard owned an 11-point margin, 60-49. Five different Crimson combined to go 7-of-12 from the line in the final 1:08, allowing Harvard to hold off a late charge by Brown for the win, 68-58.
Harvard will resume Ivy League play next weekend when it hosts Cornell Friday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. and Columbia Saturday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.
Game Notes: Harvard outscored Brown 51-30 over the game's final 28:08 to overcome an 11-point deficit … Temi Fagbenle led Harvard in rebounding for the eighth time in the last nine games … The Crimson earned its first weekend sweep at Yale and Brown since 2009-10 … Harvard has started 3-1 or better in Ivy League play each of the last three years.