Coming off back-to-back home losses against Princeton and Penn last weekend, the Harvard women’s basketball team (19-7, 9-3 Ivy) could not afford to lose on its final Ivy League road trip of the season. The team climbed out of deficits on Friday and Saturday in battling back against Cornell (14-12, 6-6) and Columbia (6-20, 3-9) to complete the weekend sweep.
“We had two bad starts, unfortunately for us,” Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “But again I think it’s your classic underdog mentality, which makes the league so competitive. I loved our teamwork. I loved that we made game adjustments, and possession by possession, we were able to climb back in it.”
HARVARD 64, COLUMBIA 51
On Saturday night, the story was junior forward Temi Fagbenle. She finished the game with a career-best 31 points and 18 rebounds as she carried the Crimson offense to a decisive 64-51 win over the Lions.
“As a rebounder, [Fagbenle] did it from the low-post and [she] did it from the mid-range,” Delaney-Smith said. “This must have been one of her best performances tonight. I loved how she played."
After jumping out to an early lead, Harvard surrendered 13 points to fall behind for the second night in a row. Sophomore guard Kit Metoyer halted Columbia’s run with a three-pointer, and then Fagbenle took over the Crimson offense. The London, England native scored 23 of the team’s 26 first-half points, keeping Harvard within three points by the close of the first half.
“My teammates did a great job getting the ball in and trusting that I would be able to score or pass it out,” Fagbenle said. “It was working throughout the whole game, so we didn’t change it.”