Women's Basketball Palestra Bound After Big Road Win at Brown, 66-63

Harvard clinched a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament with a 66-63 win at Brown on Saturday.

Freshman guard Katie Benzan recorded a career high 24 points, and freshman forward Jeannie Boehm (12 points, 11 rebounds) and senior forward Destiny Nunley (10 points, 12 rebounds) each added double-doubles as Harvard women's basketball (20-5, 8-4 Ivy League) beat Brown (14-11, 5-7 Ivy League), 66-63. With the win, Harvard clinched a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament in two weeks, to be played at The Palestra on March 11-12.

Late in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 59-59 and Brown holding the ball and a chance to take the lead, junior guard Kirby Porter came up with a big steal to give Harvard possession with under a minute to play.

Benzan hit a tear drop jump shot in the lane with 42 seconds to go to give Harvard the lead for good at 61-59. After both teams exchanged free throws, Brown had a chance to tie on the game's final possession, but Boehm blocked a Janie White three-point attempt and Porter grabbed her 10th rebound of the game to seal the win.

Boehm dominated early for the Crimson scoring 10 points in the opening eight minutes of the half, hitting her first five shots from the field, as Harvard built a 17-11 lead.

Harvard attacked inside early on, with 12 of its first quarter points in the paint, with the Crimson leading 17-15 at the break.

Raster got hot from behind the arc as part of an 11-2 run to start the second quarter, hitting two three pointers from the wing to put Harvard back in front by six at 23-17. A three-point play from Katie Benzan, followed by a great high-low pass from Raster to Nunley helped Harvard build a double digit lead at 28-17 midway through the second quarter.

Brown answered with a run of its own to cut the Harvard lead to 28-25, and then later 30-29 with under a minute left in the half. But with time winding down in the second quarter, Benzan hit a fallaway three-pointer from the wing to give the Crimson a four-point lead at the break.

Brown tied the game early in the third quarter at 35-35, but great defense and rebounding by Harvard helped the Crimson regain a six point lead by the media timeout. Nunley grabbed an offensive rebound for a put back while hanging in the air, and Benzan hit a three from the wing after a steal by Nunley to put the Crimson up 41-35.

Bears rally to take the lead at 44-41, then sophomore Kelsey Bogdan lifted Harvard with two three-pointers in the final minute of the quarter, including one off an inbounds play with 1.2 seconds left, to put the Crimson up 47-44.

Harvard once again was forced to respond to a Brown run that tied the game at 54-54 with 5:00 to play. Then Benzan hit a straightaway three pointer, followed by a drive and spin-move by Nunley for a short jumper, making it 59-54 Harvard with 3:20 to go.

Another run by Brown tied the game at 59-59 with 1:44 to play, but Harvard came up with big plays on both ends of the floor to earn its 20th win of the season.

Harvard returns home next weekend (March 3-4) to play Princeton and Penn, and will honor its three seniors, Nunley, Taylor Finley, and Grace Keane. Both games will be streamed on the Ivy League Digital Network.

To watch the complete game archive of Harvard-Brown, click here.

Harvard clinched the 12th 20-win season in program history (and first since 2013-14), all during the 35-year tenure of head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith...Harvard completed its regular season road slate with an 8-5 record, marking the fifth time in the last sixth season that Harvard has had a winning record in road contests...Sophomore Kelsey Bogdan recorded a career high six points in the win.