Late Charge Falls Short as Women's Basketball Loses to UND
After trailing for nearly the entire game, the Harvard women’s basketball team had a chance to tie the score in the final seconds.
Down 60-57, sophomore Christine Clark threw up a three-pointer with five seconds left on the clock. But the shot did not fall, giving North Dakota (9-9) the victory over the Crimson (8-7, 1-0 Ivy) Tuesday night at Lavietes Pavilion.
The Harvard defense struggled throughout, especially in the first half, allowing UND to shoot a season-high 50 percent from the field during the game.
“I’m really disappointed in the first half,” Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “It’s too late in the season for us to be so soft defensively and disconnected defensively. No excuses. We have to make an adjustment or we’re not going to be ready for the Ivy League.”
Particularly in the first half, the visitors put pressure on the Crimson’s offense, often forcing Harvard to take shots near the end of the shot clock. This pressure seemed to cause problems on the defensive side of the ball as well, where Delaney-Smith noted communication was an issue.
“Because they were pressuring the ball, playing the dribble, and jumping in the passing lane, I thought it set us back on our heels offensively,” Delaney-Smith said.
North Dakota jumped to early 5-0 lead to begin the game, then went ahead 12-6 with 14:49 remaining the first half following a three-pointer from guard Nicole Smith, who led the visitors with 12 points on the night.
Harvard battled back, eventually knotting the score at 16 after a three by Lippert, ending a 10-4 UND run.
But UND responded with an 8-2 run, putting the visitors up, 24-18, before junior Emma Golen knocked down a three.
As the first half came to a close, UND freshman Brianna Williams retrieved her own rebound off a free throw and tossed up a shot that fell as the buzzer went off, capping a 7-2 run to put UND up 31-23 heading into the break.
At the beginning of the second half, UND grabbed its largest the lead of the night after a quick 5-1 run the visitors up by 12.
Back-to-back threes by Lippert and sophomore Missy Mullins fueled an 11-4 run for Harvard, pulling the Crimson within five, 35-40, with 12:03 to play.
Harvard’s deficit soon shrank to four, as the Crimson responded to a UND three with a jumper from Lippert, who shot six of eight on the night, and a pair of free throws by captain Brogan Berry.
But UND answered with a 7-0 run that was finally ended with a Golen three at 5:19 mark.
With less than two minutes remaining, junior Miriam Rutzen hit a fadeaway jumper and Lippert knocked down a three to bring the Crimson back within four, 56-52.