Matera Hits Late Three To Give Crimson A Win
The plan was simple.
With the score tied and with 20 seconds left in the game, sophomore point guard Brogan Berry was going to drive, either getting off a shot or finding an open teammate.
The plan was executed to perfection.
Berry drove, only to find a clogged lane in her way. She kicked it back out to junior co-captain Christine Matera, who pump-faked, took one dribble and buried a three, ending Penn’s (1-25, 0-11 Ivy) hopes for an upset bid as the Harvard women’s basketball team escaped Lavietes Pavilion with a 55-52 win on Friday night.
“I saw Brogan penetrate hard, and I replaced behind her,” Matera said. “I just let her know that I was behind her, and she kicked it to me, and I shot it. It felt pretty good.”
“We wanted to use the entire clock; we did not want give the ball back to Penn,” said Crimson coach Kathy Delaney-Smith.
But the picturesque ending did not match the rest of Harvard’s play, as the home team came out unfocused and slow from the start. The Crimson trailed for much of the first half, and was outworked on the boards, 15-13.
“I think we were a little bit disappointed with the way we came out with our intensity defensively, and rebounding, especially in the first half,” Matera said. “But credit Penn, I thought they played really well defensively and offensively.”
“Penn came out fighting...they brought it tonight,” freshman Victoria Lippert added. “We have to be able to match that, and we didn’t do that right from the start.”
Delaney-Smith admitted that part of the lack of focus might have been due to preoccupation with the game against undefeated Princeton the following night.
“It’s hard to [stay focused] when you know who you have to play tomorrow night, and we need to stop [the Tigers] from being undefeated,” Delaney-Smith said. “Did we overlook Penn? I’m going to have to say we probably did. But we were able to tough it out, and their new coach did a great job with them.”
Lippert led all scorers with 15 points, shooting 7-of-14 from the field. Sophomore guard Caitlin Rowland proved to be a spark plug off the bench, tying a career-high with 11 points, including three three-pointers.
“Caitlin brought a lot of poise off the bench,” Delaney-Smith said. “I thought Caitlin did what I wanted the whole team to do. She came out confident, she came out with an attack mentality, and did a great job.”
Rowland scored two of her treys on back-to-back plays in the first half, tightening the game to 18-18. Harvard then took the lead, 21-20, off a jump shot from junior guard Jackie Alemany with 5:39 left in the first frame.
The Quakers would go on a 13-4 run, though, to close out the half with a seven-point lead. Penn shot 52.2 percent from the field in the first half.