Nunley's Near Perfect Night Lifts Women's Basketball Past UNH, 69-56, in WNIT

Senior forward Destiny Nunley led Harvard with 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the win at New Hampshire. (Gil Talbot)

The Harvard women's basketball team (21-8) kicked off the Women's NIT with a resounding 69-56 win over New Hampshire (26-6) at Lundholm Gymnasium. The Crimson shot 51.7% (30-for-58) from the field with senior forward Destiny Nunley leading the charge.

Nunley went 9-for-10 from the floor for a team-high 19 points, adding five rebounds. Freshman guard Katie Benzan added 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists, junior guard Taylor Rooks added 12 points off the bench, and sophomore guard Madeline Raster pitched in 11 points for Harvard which won its fourth WNIT game in program history.

Harvard came out of the blocks hot, hitting five of its first seven shots to take an 11-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Nunley, who had eight points to lead the Crimson in the opening frame, did most of her damage in the paint, hitting a short jumper with 5:01 to go in the quarter to put Harvard up by five.

UNH responded with a 10-0 run to pull back in front, but Harvard closed the frame with two straight jumpers from Nunley to close to within one at 18-17.

The Crimson continued to attack New Hampshire inside, and built its lead on a 6-0 run midway through the frame. A reverse layup by Taylor Rooks started the run, followed by another layup by Nunley, who started the game 6-for-6. A block by Rooks set up a layup in transition for Raster, which put Harvard up 27-23.

Harvard maintained its lead thanks to two three-pointers by Katie Benzan, who with her second three of the game broke the school record for three-pointers made in a season, held by Erin Maher (80 in 1990-91). The Crimson led 33-29 at the end of the first half.

The Wildcats made a run to cut the Crimson lead to one at 41-40 midway through the third quarter, but Benzan settled Harvard down, hitting a runner in the lane, followed by her third three-pointer of the night. Harvard led 46-40 with 3:00 to go in the third quarter.

Harvard led 50-44 at the end of the third quarter.

Harvard put the game away with a 17-4 run to start the fourth quarter. Benzan's drive to the bucket put Harvard ahead 67-48 with 3:36 to go in the fourth quarter, all but sealing the win.

The Crimson will take on St. John's in the second round of the WNIT on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in New York.

NOTES: Harvard has made seven appearances in the WNIT, most among Ivy League schools…Harvard 4-6 all-time in the WNIT..Harvard advanced to the second round for the fourth time in program history...This was the first meeting between Harvard and UNH since Nov. 28, 2012…Harvard has won four in a row in the series.