Late Rally Not Enough as Women’s Basketball Falls to Penn, 74-69

Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A late push by the Harvard women's basketball team would not be enough, as the Crimson dropped a 74-69 decision to Penn Saturday night at Lavietes Pavilion.

The Crimson (8-9, 1-2) was led by 19 points from senior forward Temi Fagbenle, who passed the 1,000-point threshold for her career. The London, England native registered her eighth double-double of the year with 11 rebounds, adding three assists and two blocks. Senior captain Erin McDonnell chipped in 15 points and a personal-best four steals. Junior AnnMarie Healy rounded a trio of double-figure scorers with 11 points.  

Five Penn (11-6, 2-1) players tallied 10-plus points, led by 19 from Anna Ross. Kathleen Roche and Beth Brzozowski added 16 and 14, respectively.

The Crimson went into half with a 33-30 lead behind nine points from Fagbenle and seven from McDonnell. The Crimson collected the first seven points, before allowing a 15-5 Penn run to give the Quakers a three-point advantage at the 12:43 mark. Penn ballooned its advantage to 10, 26-16, nearly seven minutes later after a triple by Ross. The Crimson scored 17 of the final 21 points to hold the lead heading into the locker room.

Ross led the Penn charge over the final 20 minutes, scoring 14 of her points in the second stanza. Knotted at 43-43 with 10:25 to play, the Quakers rattled off an 18-4 run over the next nine minutes to build a 14-point lead. An 8-0 spurt during the run was capped by a Ross three with 5:22 to play.

The Crimson left everything on the floor, scoring 20 points over the final 1:38 to whittle a 14-point advantage to five, but the Quakers connected on its free throws late to hold off the charging Crimson.

Harvard will be back at Lavietes next weekend for Brown and Yale. The Crimson and Bears will tip at 7 p.m. Friday and the annual Pack the House will be held against Yale Saturday at 6 p.m.

Game Notes: Temi Fagbenle became the 19th member of Harvard's 1,000-point club with 19 points, moving her to 1,010 points for her career. Fagbenle posted her eighth double-double of the year with 11 rebounds. It marked her 15th double-digit game of the season and 55th double-figure effort of her career. AnnMarie Healy registered her 12th game with 10-plus points (11). Erin McDonnell tallied her 16th game in double-digits this season with 15 points. The captain broke her career high with four steals. The Crimson has made a consecutive three-pointer in a program-record 175 games. The Crimson moves to 2-2 with the starting lineup of Temi Fagbenle, AnnMarie Healy, Erin McDonnell, Shilpa Tummala and Ali Curtis.