Crimson Takes Down Big Green in Season Finale
With nothing more than pride on the line for the women’s basketball team, Harvard (18-10, 10-4 Ivy) closed out the season with a 62-55 win over Dartmouth (7-21, 3-11) last night in Hanover, N.H.
Coming off a tough loss on Saturday against Princeton that extinguished the Crimson’s postseason hopes, Harvard’s senior class, led by Emma Markley, delivered one last performance in a crimson and white uniform. Markley had a strong showing, scoring 13 points and adding eight boards as well as a block.
But it was youth that helped the Crimson get out of its first-half slump against the Big Green. The leading scorer for the visiting team was rookie guard Christine Clark, who had 19 points—17 of which came in the second half.
“[Clark] had a great game,” co-captain Christine Matera said. “She’s always working hard and has been very clutch for us throughout the year, so what she did tonight is nothing new.”
Harvard won the previous matchup between the two teams, 82-49, at Lavietes Pavilion and looked to dominate once again at Leede Arena.
But the game began poorly for the Crimson, who came in shooting 44.5 percent from the field during the season but shot only 25 percent during the first half. Harvard also shot 15 percent from beyond the arc in the first half compared to 35 percent throughout the season.
The sloppy offense by the Crimson led to a low-scoring first half that ended tied at 20—not even close to the normal pace needed to reach Harvard’s 72-point average per game.
“At halftime, we knew that we were playing well defensively and that we were getting good shots off that we normally hit,” Matera said. “So we knew we had to grind it out for the final 20 minutes knowing we would eventually hit shots.”
With 18:04 left in the second half, Dartmouth took the lead, 23-20, on a jumper by senior Louise Vanden Bosch. But the Crimson turned the game around, going on a 12-2 run to give it the lead with 15:45 left to play.
After allowing the Big Green to score four quick points, Harvard responded with nine unanswered points, including two corner threes coming from Clark.
“In the second half, she helped us create a bit of space between us and Dartmouth,” Matera said. “She hit two big threes and took the ball to the basket hard.”
With a 12-point lead and 11:31 left in the game, the Crimson seemed to be closing the game up, but the hosts had other plans and clawed their way back. Scoring eight points without allowing a Harvard basket, the Big Green brought the deficit down to six points with 8:26 on the clock.
After exchanging baskets for the next four minutes, Dartmouth capitalized on a shooting foul on senior Cassie Cooper, making it a four-point game with 4:03 left to play. On the next possession, the Big Green responded with another two free throws to slim the lead to just two.
The pressure was on, but the Crimson responded with a long jumper by Clark, making it a two-possession game. Then Vanden Bosch responded with a long corner three-pointer to bring the lead to just one with 2:47 to go.
In need of points, the team looked to veteran Markley, who responded with a short jumper inside the paint. She finishes her career eighth all-time in scoring with 1,285 points and 10th all-time in rebounds with 645 boards.