CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Harvard women's basketball team opened up the first round of the WNIT with a 69-56 victory over Drexel in front of an electric crowd at Lavietes Pavilion Friday night. With tonight's win, the Crimson improves to a 17-12 (9-5 Ivy) record on the season.
Four members of the Crimson—Katie Benzan, Madeline Raster, Jadyn Bush and Sydney Skinner—put up double-digits in the scoring column, with Benzan leading the pack with a team-high 18 points. Sophomore Bush found success on both sides of the ball, registering the team's sole double-double off 12 points and 13 boards. Keeping the Dragons at bay, Jeannie Boehm and Raster played key roles on defense, picking up a block and two steals, respectively. Collectively, the Crimson found success from the arch, shooting 47.6 percent from distance.
Taking control early, the Crimson broke out to a quick 6-0 lead over the Dragons off shots from Boehm, Raster and Bush. Drexel bounced back, sinking a three to cut the lead in half before locking both teams up at eight. Long distance shots from Benzan, Raster and Skinner won back the lead for Harvard, sending the Crimson into the second period with a three-point margin.
Moving into the second half, Harvard maintained its dominant perimeter presence, with four of the Crimson's six second period shots coming from distance. The trio Benzan, Raster and Skinner led Harvard's scoring efforts yet again, with the senior co-captains adding one each to Benzan's two three-pointers. A strong defensive presence from Raster and Boehm helped keep the Dragons to just nine, allowing Harvard to head back to the locker room with a 36-26 margin.
Nani Redford came out shooting for Harvard in the second half, putting up back-to-back threes for the Crimson. A 3-0 run by Drexel at the halfway mark brought the Dragons within three, but quick work down low by Skinner, Boehm and Raster helped push Harvard back out to a 52-44 lead at the end of three.
Bush opened the final frame for Harvard, sinking two in the paint for another double-digit Crimson lead. A late push by Drexel brought the visitors within six with just under three left to play, but a pair of free throws from Raster ultimately secured the 69-56 first-round victory for the Crimson.
-Four Harvard players registered double-digits over the Dragons—Katie Benzan (18), Madeline Raster (14), Jadyn Bush (12) and Sydney Skinner (10).
-Sophomore Jadyn Bush registered a double-double in tonight's win, knocking down 12 points and posting 13 rebounds.
-In addition to her team-high 18 points, Katie Benzan also dished out a team-high six assists on the night.
-With tonight's victory over the Dragons, Harvard evens the all-time series with Drexel at 1-1.
-Tonight's first round WNIT matchup marks the first time both teams have met on the court since 2013.
- Harvard will advance to the second round of the WNIT for the fifth time in program history.
- Tonight marked the first time in program history that the Crimson hosted a WNIT game at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard moves on to the second round of the WNIT, hosting Georgetown for a 3 p.m. matchup at Lavietes Pavilion on Sunday, March 24.