After losing just one starter from the 2011-12 squad, a deep Harvard women’s basketball team entered 2012-13 with questions surrounding who would become this team’s leaders and contributors. Through two games a host of answers have emerged.
In an 81-72 loss to North Dakota State on Friday, four Crimson players scored in double figures. Two days later, five contributed at least 10 points in a 65-52 win over North Dakota.
“I’ve never played on a team that’s so deep and that has so many scoring threats,” co-captain Emma Golen said. “I think that’s a huge strength of our team coming into this year, just the fact that we have so many scoring options.”
HARVARD 65, NORTH DAKOTA 52
The Crimson jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back on Sunday, topping North Dakota at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks, N.D.
Last year, it was UND that gained a quick lead and held on for a 60-57 victory, but this time around, North Dakota was held scoreless for the first three minutes and entered halftime with just 19 points. On the day, UND shot just 33 percent from the field.
“What Emma and I talked about in the locker room…was that it was all about defense [on Sunday],” co-captain Miriam Rutzen said. “And I think that defensive mentality allowed us to get easy buckets on the other end.”
Most of those easy buckets were distributed among four scorers that combined for 59 of the Crimson’s 65 points. Junior Christine Clark led the team with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting during a team-high 37 minutes of play.
Senior Victoria Lippert only made three of her 10 shots but tallied 14 points by going seven-for-eight from the free-throw line. Lippert also added eight rebounds.
In just her second college game, sophomore Temi Fagbenle had a double-double, finishing the day with 14 points and 10 rebounds thanks to a seven-point, six-rebound second half.
While those three starters had strong performances, the most efficient double-digit scorer came off the bench. Golen, who started last year, went four for four from three to score 12 points.
“I was feeling pretty confident in my shot,” Golen said. “It helps a lot that our bigs, Temi and Miriam, and [junior] Elise [Gordon] are getting in there, having a huge post presence, and drawing double teams—triple teams even—and that left me wide open.”
Two of Golen’s threes came within 30 seconds of each other six minutes into the second half to turn a 40-32 lead into a 14-point edge.
UND wouldn’t cut the deficit to eight or lower for the remainder of the contest.
“In terms of winning [on Sunday], it’s huge,” Rutzen said. “0-2 doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t sit well. Knowing we didn’t play well Friday and just lost by nine and didn’t play that well [Sunday] and still won by , that just shows how much potential we have, and I’m very excited about that.”