McDonnell Powers Women’s Basketball Past Cornell, 60-54

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior captain Erin McDonnell scored 15 points – including a crucial seven in the game-changing 16-4 Crimson run – to push Harvard women's basketball past Cornell Friday evening at Lavietes Pavilion.

The Crimson (11-14, 4-7) owns a 34-0 all-time record against Cornell (15-10, 6-5) at home and a 62-11 series record overall. Senior forward Temi Fagbenle matched her double-double total from a year ago with her 11th this season, registering 11 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Kit Metoyer neared her career high with 15 points, adding three rebounds and four assists. Classmate AnnMarie Healy chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds to round out the quartet of Crimson double-figure scorers.

The Big Red was led by Nicholle Aston with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Kerri Moran and Nia Marshall added nine points apiece.  

The two teams were neck-and-neck over the first 20 minutes, as neither squad took more than a five-point advantage. The Crimson took the early lead, as Healy finished on a dish from Fagbenle to put Harvard ahead, 7-4. The Big Red answered with back-to-back buckets, but Metoyer converted three-straight drives to put the Crimson ahead 13-11. Cornell spouted six unanswered to take its largest lead of the half, 20-15, with 5:33 to play and went into the locker room with a 27-23 cushion.

The Crimson scored seven of the first 10 points to even the score at 30-30 with four minutes gone after the break. Cornell held a four-point advantage, 36-32, but a 16-4 Harvard run put the home team out in front, 48-40, with seven minutes to play. McDonnell started the run with a triple from the win and capped it with a second-chance bucket as the shot clock expired.

Fagbenle grabbed a clutch rebound and converted into two points to give the Crimson a seven-point advantage, 54-47, with 1:23 on the clock. A three by Taylor DePalma pulled Cornell within four 46 seconds later, but the Crimson made free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

The Crimson will be back at Lavietes tomorrow for Senior Night against Columbia. Tip is set for 6 p.m. on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Game Notes: Erin McDonnell posted double-figures for the 22nd time this season with 15 points. AnnMarie Healy registered 10-plus points with 11 for the 16th time this season. Kit Metoyer neared her career high (17) with 15 points, adding four assists. Temi Fagbenle owns 11 double-doubles, a number she hit a season ago for the most since Hana Peljto (15) in 2003-04.m The Crimson moves to 3-3 with the starting lineup of McDonnell, Fagbenle, Healy, Tummala and Metoyer. Harvard moves to 34-0 all-time at Lavietes Pavilion against Cornell and 62-11 in the series. For the 19th time this season and 59th time in her career, Temi Fagbenle posted double-figures with 11 points. The Crimson has made a consecutive three-pointer in a program-record 182 games. Fagbenle owns 1,105 career points to sit No. 16 all-time at Harvard.