Most people light candles to celebrate their birthdays. Harvard freshman Victoria Lippert decided to light up the basketball court instead in Harvard’s 71-55 victory over Navy (8-6) Saturday evening in Lavietes. With the win, the Crimson improved to 7-4 on the season.
“[Lippert] played strong the entire game,” junior forward Emma Markley said. “I’m glad she could have such a great game on her birthday.”
The birthday girl had 17 points, five rebounds, one assist, and one block in the victory. Twelve of those points came in the second half, where her efforts proved critical in holding off a Midshipmen rally.
“It feels great,” Lippert said. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I’m grateful to have the opportunity.”
But it was Markley who got things going early. The junior hit the Crimson’s first three shots of the game.
“Emma Markley just brings her game face every game,” Lippert said.
Once Markley got on the board, it opened up the court for the rest of the team, including Lippert, sophomore point guard Brogan Berry, and freshman guard Elle Hagedorn.
“I think I hit my first few shots, so that changed my mentality and the guards’ mentality,” she said. “When I was lighting up, they were giving me the ball.
Later we shifted our focus so we could get all the guards [involved], use all their skills, shoot from the perimeter and penetrate.”
But Navy was able to keep it close, and Harvard ended the half with only a six-point lead.
“We definitely could’ve played better,” Lippert said. “We are really trying to make our focus defense and rebounding.”
The Midshipmen kept on firing in the second half.
“They were playing pretty physically,” Markley said. “We knew their forwards were going to be able to shoot. They’re all very strong girls.”
Twice in the half Navy brought the margin down to two. K.C. Gordon and Cassie Consedine drilled back-to-back three-point shots to close the gap the first time. Berry responded with a characteristic three-point play to bring the margin back to five.
“Brogan does an awesome job leading us,” Lippert said. “We look to her to set the tone, get us organized. Brogan does it all.”