BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Harvard women's basketball (5-7) used a balanced attack to start the New Year with a 60-54 win over Samford at the Pete Hanna Center Saturday afternoon. The Crimson was led by the senior trio of Shilpa Tummala , AnnMarie Healy and Kit Metoyer (42 points).
Despite early foul trouble, Healy paced Harvard with 16 points. Tummala chipped in 14 – all in the first half – while Metoyer poured in 12 points. Freshman Madeline Raster led the rebounding effort with seven, as the Crimson outrebounded the Bulldogs by a 43-30 margin.
Samford (8-7) was led by Kassidy Blevins (19 points), as Taylor Reece added nine points. The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-5 lead, but it was all Harvard for the remainder of the period, as the Crimson ripped off a 16-2 run over the final 3:30. Harvard held Samford to a 5:34 scoring drought (0-for-8), forcing three turnovers. Tummala led the run with six points, posting nine over the first 10 minutes.
The Bulldogs roared back in the second stanza, outpacing the Crimson 11-3 to pull within three, 24-21, at the 5:16 mark. Two free throws by Sydney Skinner and five points from Tummala gave Harvard breathing room, 31-22, with 1:15 to play before the break. The Crimson held a 31-25 advantage heading into the locker room.
Metoyer started the scoring in the third quarter, but Samford took advantage of a Crimson shooting struggle (1-of-8) to pull within two, 36-34, at 4:32. Destiny Nunley halted the skid with a bucket to start a 9-0 Crimson spurt, where Harvard went 4-of-4 and earned its largest lead to that point, 45-34, three minutes later.
After a 5-0 burst by the Bulldogs, the Crimson responded with seven-unanswered points to race ahead, 54-42, with 6:54 to play. Getting to the basket and converting from the line maintained Harvard's lead, as the Crimson walked away with a 60-54 win.
The Crimson wraps nonconference action at Chattanooga Jan. 4. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.
Game Notes: Harvard played in the state of Alabama for the first time since 2005 (Alabama State) and just the second time in program history. Shilpa Tummala scored 10-plus (14) for the 10th time this year. Kit Metoyer scored in double-figures for the seventh time this season with 12 points. AnnMarie Healy posted double-figures for the 12th time this season and the 35th of her career with 16 points. Healy paced the Crimson in scoring for the sixth time this year. Harvard went with the starting lineup of Healy, Redford, Tummala, Metoyer and Raster for the ninth-straight game. The Crimson moves to 4-5 with that starting five. In the first meeting between the programs, Harvard takes a 1-0 lead.