On a night when junior guard Christine Clark eclipsed 1,000 career points, the Harvard women’s basketball team coasted to an easy victory, 85-59, over the University of Massachusetts in Cambridge.
The Crimson (8-5) was dominant from start to finish, as the Minutewomen (2-12) never once held the lead throughout the contest.
“I’m very pleased,” said Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. “We were in dire need of a win, and I thought everyone did a really nice job. It was a good win for us tonight, with [Clark] hitting a pretty amazing milestone that we’re proud of.”
The win snapped a three-game Crimson losing streak, the squad’s longest of the year. Harvard’s 85 points scored and the 26-point margin of victory represented its highest marks of the season.
The Crimson produced consistent offense in the opening half and led, 48-29, at the break. Harvard put the game out of reach over the span of six minutes early in the second frame, scoring 12 straight points to take a 31-point lead.
The team shot just over 50% from the field (33-of-64) to maintain its first-place Ivy League rank in field goal percentage.
Clark entered the game 12 points shy of 1,000, and she reached the mark early in the second half on a free throw. Despite inserting herself into a group that includes only 18 other players in the history of the program, the milestone was apparently far from Clark’s mind during the game.
“I think that it’s such a prestigious club to be a part of, so I’m very honored,” Clark said. “I didn’t even know [that I reached 1,000], actually. They announced it during a timeout, and I was just like, ‘Oh, really? Okay.’ ”
The junior was not done, however, and she went on to score seven of the next nine Crimson points to register a game-high of 19 before Delaney-Smith took her out to give younger players some time on the floor.
“[Clark] went in spurts, I would say, but at a time when we needed some spunk, she ran the floor,” Delaney-Smith said. “That’s the kind of player she is, so I was very happy for her and pretty pleased with the effort.”
Harvard received a boost from junior center Elise Gordon, who came off the bench to score 14 points, her career-high, in as many minutes on an efficient 7-of-8 from the field.
“[Gordon’s performance] was wonderful; she did great,” Delaney-Smith said. “I know she has that in her, and she knows she has that in her…. She’s very capable of that, night in and night out.”
Senior guard Victoria Lippert, the only other active member of the Crimson in the 1,000-point club, also spearheaded the Harvard attack. Lippert racked up buckets throughout the game to finish with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Sophomore forward Temi Fagbenle only missed one shot all night to contribute 12 points and a team-high six rebounds. The British Olympian has reached double figures in six of her last seven games.
UMass, which struggled to keep up with Harvard offensively, was led by freshman guard Nola Henry and junior forward Kiara Bomben, the team’s only players to reach double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively.