Women’s Basketball Wins Thriller Against Brown, 87-85

Katie Benzan had 21 points, making six 3-pointers against Brown (Gil Talbot).
Katie Benzan had 21 points, making six 3-pointers against Brown (Gil Talbot).
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  Overcoming an eight-point deficit after the first quarter, the Harvard women's basketball team (11-6, 3-1 Ivy) rallied in exciting fashion to down visiting Brown (13-4, 1-3 Ivy) Saturday afternoon, 87-85. The win kept the Crimson unblemished at home at 8-0 and moved the team to 3-1 in the Ancient Eight.

Senior Taylor Rooks completed a tremendous weekend with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including four 3-pointers. She was joined above the 20-point plateau by sophomore Katie Benzan who drained six triples and finished with 21 points and nine assists. Sophomore Jeannie Boehm dominated the glass, grabbing a game-high 13 boards.

A 9-0 spurt started the game in Harvard's favor, but Brown responded with its own 23-2 run and led 29-21 after 10 minutes. The Crimson chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter and thanks to an athletic tip-in by freshman Jadyn Bush as the halftime buzzer, Harvard trailed by only one, 45-44.

Rooks and Benzan took charge in the second half. The third quarter saw the duo combine for 19 of Harvard's 26 points, highlighted by a combined five 3-pointers. Benzan was also active setting up her teammates with four assists in the stanza and Harvard led 70-66 with one quarter remaining.

The game seesawed throughout the final minutes, but two more made shots from beyond the arc for Benzan helped keep the Crimson in front. Another timely layup from Bush with two minutes left put Harvard in front, 86-83. After a Benzan made free throw with six seconds to play, Brown had one final attempt but Dominique Leonidas' running attempt careened off the backboard as time expired.

Harvard Highlights:
- Senior Taylor Rooks had a career-best 24 points and matched her high for field goals made with nine.
- Junior Sydney Skinner continues to be a lift off the bench, scoring 16 points against the Bears. She has six-straight games of 10 or more points.

Game Notes:
- Harvard is now 51-34 all-time against Brown and has won the last six meetings.
- The Crimson has started each of the last two season 8-0 at home, going 10-0 before its first loss at Lavietes last season.

What's next?
Harvard will put the finishing touches on its six-game homestand next weekend, hosting Columbia Friday at 6 p.m. on NESNplus and Cornell Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN3.