Women's Basketball Outlasts Cornell in Overtime, 69-60

Women's Basketball Outlasts Cornell in Overtime, 69-60

Lippert's strong second half lifted the Crimson to an overtime win against Cornell (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's basketball team came away with a 69-60 overtime win versus Cornell Sunday afternoon thanks to timely free throw shooting and a strong defensive effort in the extra session. The Crimson went a combined 10-of-10 from the line in the final 1:07 of overtime and held Cornell to a 1-of-6 performance from the floor.

Victoria Lippert led the way for Harvard (13-6, 4-1 Ivy League) with 19 points, each of which came after halftime. The senior began the game shooting 0-of-4, but hit her first five shots of the second half to account for 13 of the Crimson's first 20 points. She added six more in overtime, including four from the free throw line.

Christine Clark scored 15 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds, while Temi Fagbenle added 12 points and six boards. Miriam Rutzen finished her day with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

The Crimson shot just 39.3 percent for the game but went 18-of-23 at the charity stripe to compensate. Cornell (10-9, 2-3 Ivy League), meanwhile, shot 37.9 percent and was led by Allyson DiMagno's 20-point, 14-rebound effort.

Harvard is now 6-0 at home in 2012-13 and has won nine straight games at Lavietes Pavilion dating back to last year.  

Harvard's defense stood strong early, holding Cornell to 1-of-6 shooting en route to a 9-2 advantage. The Crimson scored six points off turnovers during the stretch, including a nice fast break finish by Fagbenle off a feed from Rutzen. Clark moved the score to 14-8 with a three-pointer from the right wing, and then finished in the paint following an Elle Hagedorn steal to make it a 16-8 game.

The Crimson continued to pound the ball into the paint and took a 22-14 lead as Clark found Missy Mullins cutting to the basket. Fagbenle gave Harvard its first double-digit lead with a left-handed layup, 24-14, before a three from Ali Curtis pushed the margin to 13, 29-16. Cornell fought its way back into the game, however, closing out the half on a 7-0 run to make it a 29-23 contest at the break.

Clark and Fagbenle each had eight points at intermission on a combined 7-of-13 shooting. Fagbenle was also one of four Crimson to pull down four rebounds as Harvard held a 24-12 advantage on the glass and a 14-4 margin in points in the paint.

Cornell cut the lead to as few as three points coming out of the break, 32-29, before a pair of Lippert free throws and a layup in transition by Fagbenle extended the margin  back out to seven, 36-29. A putback by Lippert made it a 38-30 game and Hagedorn pushed the Crimson's advantage back to double-figures at the line, 42-32, capping off a 10-3 stretch.

Five straight points from the Big Red pulled Cornell back within striking distance, 42-37, but Lippert hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions to end the drought. She later added a turnaround jumper to put the score at 49-42 with 7:35 remaining.

Cornell once again cut the lead to three points off baskets by Clare Fitzpatrick and DiMagno, 49-46, and then made it a two-point game with 2:32 to play thanks to a three from Shelby Lyman, 51-49. DiMagno tied the score for the first time since the 17:07 mark of the first half on the Big Red's next trip down the court, but Clark answered back with a strong drive to the basket for a 53-51 edge. Fitzpatrick evened it up once again on a layup with 25 seconds remaining, sending the teams into overtime.

Erin McDonnell opened the extra session with a jumper to put Harvard out in front, 55-53, and then grabbed an offensive rebound which led to a Lippert basket and a 57-54 advantage. The Crimson moved its lead to 59-54 with a baseline drive by Clark then proceeded to hit 10 straight free throws to close out the 69-60 victory.

Game Notes: Harvard remained unbeaten at home in 2012-13 and has won nine straight at Lavietes Pavilion since last season … Harvard is 2-1 in overtime games this year and 12-6 all-time under head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith … The Crimson improved to 37-0 against Cornell at home and is 57-11 in the all-time series.