AMHERST, Mass. – Behind the play of senior captain Erin McDonnell and senior forward Temi Fagbenle, the Harvard women's basketball team defeated Massachusetts, 75-62, Wednesday evening at the Mullins Center.
McDonnell registered 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Fagbenle added 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, seven rebounds and five assists for the Crimson (4-3). Senior guard Ali Curtis posted 10 points, adding four rebounds and dishing our five helpers. AnnMarie Healy neared a double-double with 10 points and eight boards.
Harvard shot 49.1 percent (27-of-55) from the field and assisted on all but six baskets. UMass (3-4) was led by 19 points from Kim Pierre-Louis. Maggie Mulligan and Rashida Timbilla added 10 points apiece.
The Crimson took a narrow 33-32 advantage into the locker room behind 11 points from Fagbenle. Harvard pushed its lead to six twice, at 12-6 and 18-12, but could not put away the Minutewomen. Over the first 20 minutes, the Crimson shot 50 percent (12-of-26) from the field and dished out 10 assists on its 12 buckets.
Over the first two minutes of the second half, Harvard spit out a 10-3 run to push its lead to eight, 43-35.McDonnell connected on a fast-break lay-up to end the spurt. After three quick points by the Minutewomen, the Crimson responded with a turnaround jumper from Fagbenle and a three on the wing by McDonnell. With 16 minutes to play, Harvard held a 10-point advantage, 48-38.
The Crimson pushed its lead to 11 with eight minutes to play after another McDonnell triple, but UMass threatened, spouting five-straight points to pull within six, 63-57. Kit Metoyer quieted the run with a long three and Harvard made its free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Harvard continues on its road swing Sunday against Maine at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Game Notes: Erin McDonnell registered her 19th double-figure effort with 13 points. For the sixth time in eight games, Temi Fagbenle registered double-figures. AnnMarie Healy recorded double-digits for the fifth time this season and eighth in her career with 10 points. Ali Curtis posted double-digits for the second time this season. Head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith used the starting lineup of Ali Curtis, Kaitlyn Dinkins, AnnMarie Healy, Temi Fagbenle and Erin McDonnell for the fourth-straight game. Harvard moves to 2-2 with this lineup. The Crimson moves to 8-12 all-time against UMass and has won the last seven-straight.