Senior forward Destiny Nunley recorded sixth double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) of the season against Penn. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior forward Destiny Nunley notched her team leading sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but the Harvard women's basketball team (20-7, 8-6 Ivy League) fell, 64-46, to Penn (19-7, 12-1 Ivy League).
Freshman guard Katie Benzan added 11 points for Harvard, which finished the Ivy regular season in third place, the 12th straight season the Crimson has finished in the top-three of the Ivy League.
Penn jumped out to an early lead over the Crimson, using a 9-2 run to start the game. But Harvard responded with a 7-3 run of its own, as Benzan knocked down one of her two threes in the quarter and Nunley and sophomore Madeline Raster chipped in baskets to narrow the deficit to three (12-9) with 3:39 to go in the frame. Benzan ended the quarter with her second triple, beating the buzzer to cut the deficit to two (16-14) at the end of the first quarter.
Harvard managed to knot the contest up at 22-22 at the 5:29 mark of the second quarter, as junior Taylor Rooks netted five-straight points off the bench for the Crimson. Penn, however, went on a 12-2 run to end the period as it led 34-24 at the intermission.
The Crimson began to make up some ground early on in the third quarter. Harvard narrowed the Penn lead down to five (43-38) with 3:42 to play in the third, after Nunley chased down an offensive rebound and found Benzan waiting behind the arc for the three. Nunley was excellent all around for Harvard, adding four blocks, three assists, and two steals in addition to her double-double.
But the Quakers ended the quarter on a 7-2 run, extending their lead back to 11 (52-40) heading into the final frame. Penn used another run to take it largest lead of the game (59-40) midway through the fourth.
Nunley poured in eight-straight points in the fourth quarter to try to rally Harvard back into the game, but Penn secured the 64-46 victory.
Harvard, the No. 3 seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, will take on No. 2 seed Princeton at The Palestra on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The game will air on ESPN3.
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