FT. MYERS, Fla. – Senior Taylor Rooks registered her third double-double of the season, posting 16 points and 10 rebounds, but Harvard suffered a 65-56 loss against Florida Gulf Coast as part of the Hilton Garden Classic in Ft. Myers, Florida Wednesday.
Rooks was on her game in the opening minutes, hitting her first three shots to help the Crimson maintain a 10-10 tie with the Eagles. Following the first media break, FGCU went on an 8-0 run, but Harvard battled back. Junior Madeline Raster drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing and Rooks hit two more shots to make it a 20-17 game at the end of the first.
The Eagles again tried to take control at the start of the second quarter, building a 27-17 lead. Harvard responded with a pair of triples by Kelsey Bogdan and Raster on consecutive possessions, before capping an 8-0 run with a put back lay-in from freshman Jadyn Bush. At the half, FGCU led 29-25.
The third frame saw the Crimson use a 14-4 over a 5:45 span to take a 39-38 with 2:39 on the clock. Sophomore Jeannie Boehm dropped in two buckets in the paint and Raster stole an Eagles' pass in the offensive zone to set up sophomore Katie Benzan for three during the run. Raster converted her fourth 3-pointer of the game in the final minute of the period, but China Dow hit one for FGCU to give the Eagles a 43-42 edge with 10 minutes left to play.
In the fourth quarter, the Crimson used another 8-0 run midway through to build a 50-46 lead. Down the stretch, the lead changed six times, including Sydney Skinner giving Harvard the lead twice, once via free throws and once with a layup. FGCU secured control in the final two minutes, as Lisa Zderadicka scored six of her eight points in that stretch to push the final score to 65-56.
- Harvard outrebounded FGCU, 56-32. The 56 rebounds were the most since grabbing 58 at Brown Feb. 25, 2017. Harvard has won the rebounding battle in seven games this season and is 5-2 in those games.
- Taylor Rooks finished the game with 16 points and 10 rebounds, marking her third double-double this season. Her eight field goals made matched her career-high that she set against Boston University in November.
- Madeline Raster finished the game with 12 points, the eighth time this season she has reached double figures.
- Jadyn Bush had a career-high eight rebounds.
- Harvard is now 0-3 all-time against FGCU.
Harvard will close out the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Classic Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against Akron. The Zips dropped their opener of the tournament to SIU Edwardsville, 59-58.