Harvard women’s basketball had already clinched second place in the Ivy League and a bid to the WNIT—Tuesday night’s game didn’t matter.
But it seems that nobody told junior Emma Golen that.
Golen, with a career-high 21 points, led her team past Dartmouth (6-22, 4-10 Ivy) and to a 74-69 win to finish off regular season play, Tuesday night at Lavietes Pavilion, marking the team’s fourth consecutive victory, both overall and at home, for the Crimson.
The junior not only led Harvard (17-11, 10-4) in points, but also in rebounds and assists, nabbing eight and five, respectively. The latter was another career-high for Golen, breaking her previous record of four.
“She was fabulous tonight,” coach Cathy Delaney-Smith said. “In the locker room, when I talk to them about taking too many threes, I say with the exception of Emma Golen. I tell her that if she is open, to please take the three. I wanted Emma to have the green light.”
Golen stated that she wasn’t aware of breaking her career high, but joked of her coach’s strong influence.
“[How many points I scored] wasn’t really on my mind,” Golen said. “But [Delaney-Smith] told me if I didn’t shoot when I was open she would kill me, so that was definitely in the back of my mind.”
The night on the whole was a game of runs. After taking an initial 8-0 lead, the Crimson found itself in an eight-point deficit with 3:26 left in the first half. But thanks to a layup and jumper from Golen and a basket by sophomore Elise Gordon, Harvard was able to cut into the Big Green’s lead and trailed only 36-34 at halftime.
The second half could only be described as more of the same. Within six and a half minutes, the Crimson had regained momentum and completed an 11-0 run to earn a 10-point advantage. Golen hit a three and scored an and-one consecutively during the run, breaking her career high with over 17 minutes left to play in the process. Harvard’s lead would grow to a game-high of 16 until, once again, Dartmouth fought back.
With 9:51 remaining, the Big Green’s Nicola Zimmer threw up a shot from long-range, cutting the Crimson advantage down to thirteen. Her jumper was followed by two more threes from her teammates, forcing a Harvard timeout with the score at 60-53.
Two minutes later, it was a four-point game. But then co-captain Brogan Berry and sophomore Christine Clark started to do what they do best: drive.
Following a Dartmouth and-one, Berry went coast-to-coast, taking it into the paint and making the layup. Next, Clark stole the ball and, following her teammate’s lead, pushed it up the floor, ultimately drawing the foul. She promptly sunk two free throws, extending her team’s lead to eight points with 5:23 remaining in the period.
The game’s twists weren’t over yet. In the last two minutes, the Big Green hit three more jumpers, including the team’s eighth three-pointer. It would take six more points from Berry and Clark to secure the win for the Crimson.
Berry emphasized the importance that this late-game aggression held in the victory.
“You think you can either just go through the game, or you can try to get things done,” Berry explained. “That’s one of my strengths, driving to the basket, whether it is driving to score for myself or driving to create. It was something we needed to do—we needed to get some penetration.”