BERKELEY, Calif. – Taking to the court for its final non-conference game of the season, the Harvard women's basketball team (7-6, 0-0 Ivy) topped No. 14 California (9-2, 0-0 Pac-12) today, Dec. 30 at Haas Pavilion. The Crimson improves to 7-6 on the season, while handing California just its second loss of the season.
Katie Benzan paced the Crimson in scoring, recording double-digit points for the 10th time this season with 19. The junior guard recorded her first double-double of the season, adding 10 assists to her tally. Madeline Raster and Jeannie Boehm supported the Crimson offense, following closely behind in double figures with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Defensively, Boehm guided Harvard with seven rebounds.
The Crimson jumped out to an early 14-9 lead after Benzan, Raster and Skinner all sank triples within the first six minutes of play. Harvard continued to push the tempo as sharp shooting from the three-point range extended its advantage to 28-19 at the end of the opening quarter. Harvard used a 5-1 run to start quarter two and push its spread to 15, before California began to close the gap, as the Golden Bears came within three after closing out the half on a 7-1 scoring run.
A defensive battle ensued in the third quarter as the score would tie three times within the opening five minutes. The Crimson and Golden Bears traded baskets throughout the frame, before Harvard began to pull away as it pushed its advantage to 60-58 going into the final frame. California chipped back at its deficit through the first half of the fourth quarter, building a 72-68 lead. Harvard took the lead back at 75-73 with under two minutes remaining and sustained control, sealing the victory at 85-79.
- The Crimson went 17-for-27 from field goal range in the first half, while connecting on seven three-pointers.
- Five players scored in double figures against the Golden Bears, led by Katie Benzan with 19.
- Benzan recorded her first double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 assists.
- Harvard and California are now tied at 1-1 in its all-time series after meeting for just the second time in program history.
- With today's win, the Crimson beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 1998 when it upset No. 1 Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Harvard will return to the court on Saturday, January 19th in its first Ivy League contest of the season as it welcomes Dartmouth to Lavietes Pavilion for a 2 p.m. tilt against the Big Green.