Strong Second Half Leads Women’s Basketball Past FIU, 64-52

Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard women's basketball outscored FIU 41-20 in the second half en route to a 64-52 comeback win Tuesday night at Lavietes Pavilion. Senior captain Christine Clark posted 20-plus points for the fourth straight game, leading the Crimson with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

Pulling off the largest comeback since 2009, Harvard (4-1) shot 46.2 percent from the floor in the second half, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc. The Crimson also got to the line 14 times over the second 20 minutes, converting 12 free throws.  

Junior Temi Fagbenle pulled down a season high 13 rebounds and chipped in nine points. Senior Melissa Mullins was also a force on the glass, grabbing 10 boards - her third 10-plus rebound game this season. Senior Elise Gordon also put forth a tremendous effort with eight points and five rebounds.

The Panthers were led by Jerica Coley with 24 points. The Crimson was able to hold her to 3-of-16 shooting in the second stanza.  

Harvard jumped out to an early 9-6 lead behind five points from Clark. FIU exploded for 20 of the next 24 points, Coley accounted for eight points and three assists over the run to give the Panthers their largest lead of the game, 26-13, with 9:57 to play.

The Crimson fought back, breaking off a 6-0 spurt to pull within seven, 26-19. Fagbenle led the charge with four points and Gordon capped the flurry with a lay-in off a dish from Mullins. FIU took a 32-23 advantage into the locker room.

After a quick jumper by FIU started the half, Harvard hit back-to-back treys – Clark from the corner and Curtis from the left wing – and added a free throw by Fagbenle to pull within four, 34-30. A basket by Coley expanded the FIU lead to six, but the Crimson stormed ahead, busting out a 13-4 run to take its first lead, 45-42, since 15:49 of the first half. Gordon scored a crucial four points over the run and Evans knocked down the go-ahead three from the wing.

The Panthers pulled within one twice, but Harvard ripped off 10 unanswered points to take a commanding 57-46 lead at the at the 4:21 mark and would cruise to the 12-point victory.

Harvard hits the road for a five-game swing, starting Saturday, Nov. 23 at Colgate. Game time is set for 4 p.m. in Hamilton, N.Y.

Game Notes: Harvard owns a 4-1 record for the first time since 2004-05. The 13-point comeback marked the most since Dec. 6, 2009, when Harvard matched that number and defeated BU, 85-68. Harvard extended its home win streak to 17 games. With 21 points, Christine Clark sits at No. 8 all-time on the Harvard scoring list with 1,359 career points. The senior scored in double-figures for the 77th time in her career and fourth time this season. She has scored 20-plus in 17 contests and four times this season. Temi Fagbenle pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds. Harvard went with the starting lineup of Curtis, Clark, Mullins, Fagbenle and McDonnell for the fifth-straight game.