Women’s Basketball Downs Princeton, Clinches Spot in Ivy Tournament

Seniors Kirby Porter (left) and Taylor Rooks were honored as part of Senior Night prior to the victory (Athletic Communications).
Seniors Kirby Porter (left) and Taylor Rooks were honored as part of Senior Night prior to the victory (Athletic Communications).
Play Video

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  The Harvard women's basketball team (16-9, 8-4 Ivy) secured a spot in the Ivy League Tournament Saturday night, defeating Princeton (20-5, 10-2 Ivy), 72-58, at Lavietes Pavilion.

The win completed a 12-0 regular season at Lavietes for the Crimson, its first 12-win season on its home court. This is just the fourth time in program history Harvard went unbeaten at home, going 11-0 in 2012-13 and 1997-98 and 9-0 in 1996-97.

Sydney Skinner led all Harvard scorers with 16 points off the bench, including 14 in the second half. The junior also dished out a game-high five assists. Sophomore Katie Benzan matched Skinner with three made 3-pointers and posted 13 points.

Princeton had the advantage early, starting the game with a 6-2 lead, but a quick 5-0 run for the Crimson, that included a triple from senior Kirby Porter, helped give Harvard its first lead, 7-6. A floater in the paint by Skinner with just seconds on the clock helped the Crimson take a 17-16 edge into the second quarter.

Both defenses were aggressive in that second period with Harvard outscoring Princeton, 8-6, highlighted by six points from senior Taylor Rooks. Halftime adjustments proved fruitful for Harvard, as the Crimson exploded for 27 points in the third quarter. Benzan knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first moments, setting the tone for the half.

Skinner continued her momentum into the fourth, tally 11 points. With just 3:50 left to play, Skinner brought the 1,085 fans to their feet with a swish from downtown to put Harvard ahead, 67-48, and she put the finishing touches on the victory with two successful free throws with 1:32 on the clock.

Harvard Highlights:
- The weekend sweep of Penn and Princeton was the first for Harvard since 2013.
- Harvard collected nine steals, giving them 17 on the weekend.
- The Crimson honored seniors Taylor Rooks and Kirby Porter prior to the game.
- Harvard shot 51 percent from the field, the fifth time this season it shot over 50 percent in a game.

Game Notes:
- The crowd of 1,085 was the largest this season at Lavietes Pavilion.
- Harvard is now 41-42 all-time against the Tigers.

What's next?
Harvard finishes up the regular season with a trip through the Empire State to take on Cornell and Columbia next weekend. Friday's game in Ithaca will be available on the Ivy League Network, while Saturday's will also be shown on SNY on the New York City region.