Despite Record-Breaking Night from Fagbenle, Women’s Basketball Falls to Temple, 81-69

Temi Fagbenle broke the Harvard record with 24 rebounds (Joseph Raymond). 

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Senior forward Temi Fagbenle broke the Harvard women's basketball record with 24 rebounds, adding 23 points, but it would not be enough as the Crimson fell to Temple, 81-69, Sunday evening on the final day of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Challenge at Mohegan Sun.

Fagbenle was named the Crimson's (3-3) Most Outstanding Player after breaking Deb Flandermeyer's record from 1991 (23). The senior from London also becomes the first Harvard student-athlete to surpass 20 points and 20 rebounds since Allison Feaster in 1994 (vs. Providence College, 25 points and 20 rebounds).

Senior captain Erin McDonnell added 15 points and eight rebounds and junior AnnMarie Healy chipped in 17 points and four boards. Temple (3-3) was led by a quartet of double-figure scorers. Connecticut local Tanaya Atkinson earned the Owls' Most Outstanding Player with 20 points, seven boards and two steals.

Harvard shot just 33.3 percent (24-72) from the field and connected on 5-of-25 threes. The Owls were able to hit 34.6 percent from behind the arc and assisted on 19 of their 28 baskets.

Harvard took a 34-32 lead into halftime led by 10 points and 13 rebounds from Fagbenle. After a 0-for-4 shooting drought, the Crimson found itself in a 19-12 hole at the 8:54 mark. An 11-0 spurt erased the deficit and Harvard took a four-point lead, 23-19, after a triple by Shilpa Tummala.

Temple climbed back to knot the game at 23-all, but Healy jumpstarted a 9-2 Crimson run with back-to-back jumpers and McDonnell ended the spurt with a trey from the top of the arc. The Owls answered with seven of the final nine points before the break and the Crimson took a two-point advantage into the break.

After Temple opened the second stanza with four-straight points, Harvard responded with a 5-0 spurt of its own to hold a three-point advantage. Neither team went ahead by more than four points until the Owls rattled off 13-straight points over 3:08 to hold a 64-52 lead with 7:31 to play. Two triples by Alliya Butts and Khadijah Berger, as well as fast-break connections from Tyonna Williams, gave Temple a 12-point lead it would not relinquish.

Fagbenle continued to work, scoring Harvard's next eight points, but the Crimson could not close the margin, falling 81-69.

Harvard heads to local foe Massachusetts Wednesday, December 3 at 7 p.m.

Game Notes:  Temi Fagbenle registered 23 points and a personal and Harvard-best 24 rebounds for her 22nd career double-double. The 24 broke Deb Flandermeyer's record for first all-time in Harvard history. She also was the first Harvard player to record 20-plus points and rebounds since Allison Feaster in 1994 against Providence College. AnnMarie Healy recorded double-digits for the fourth time this season and seventh in her career with 17 points. Erin McDonnell registered her 18th double-figure effort with 17 points. Kit Metoyer dished out a personal-best seven assists. Head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith used the starting lineup of Ali Curtis, Kaitlyn Dinkins, AnnMarie Healy, Temi Fagbenle and Erin McDonnell for the third-straight game. Harvard moves to 1-2 with this lineup. The Crimson moves to 0-2 all-time against Temple.