Harvard women’s basketball headed to the University of Virginia to compete in the Cavalier Classic this past weekend, playing two tightly contested games in two days.
“I think this non-conference schedule has been really good in terms of helping us identify our weaknesses,” sophomore forward Jeannie Boehm said. “It will help us go into Ivy League play at our best.”
VIRGINIA 50, HARVARD 48
In a game of back and forth runs, Harvard (4-3, 0-0 Ivy) came up a basket short in Saturday’s opener, falling to hosts Virginia (3-4, 0-0 ACC) in a 50-48 final.
The Crimson entered Saturday’s tilt at John Paul Jones Arena riding a three-game win streak, and it looked poised to pull off the upset, entering the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead.
However, good shooting coupled with stingy defense helped the Cavaliers end the game on a 9-0 run, taking the lead late in the fourth quarter. Clutch last-minute free throws by senior forward Lauren Moses and sophomore guard Jocelyn Willoughby sealed the game for the hosts, who held on by a narrow margin and advanced to Sunday’s final against Duquesne.
“We definitely let the pressure of Virginia’s defense get to us at the end of the game,” Boehm said. “I think we’re all really disappointed to have lost the opportunity to beat a good ACC team.”
Sophomore guard Katie Benzan and junior guard and co-captain Madeline Raster paced the visitors with eleven points each, but Harvard’s twenty turnovers proved to be costly in a very tightly contested game.
“It’s definitely tough to win a close ballgame when you turn the ball over 20 times,” Benzan explained. “Those key possessions in those close games, we just can’t turn the ball over, because one possession can change the entire game.”
Virginia outscored the Crimson by a 22-5 margin in points off turnovers, 17-5 on second chance points, as well as recording 10 more rebounds. Winning the turnover and rebound battle was essential to winning a game in which the Cavaliers shot at a mere 25% clip from the field, compared to Harvard’s 38%.
Moses led Virginia with a 13 point, 10 rebound double-double, recording six of her rebounds on the offensive glass, a weakness that the Cavaliers exploited throughout Saturday’s contest.
Saturday’s game was a disappointing missed opportunity for the Crimson to record an impressive early season road win. Harvard led by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter, and outshot Virginia from the field, the three-point line, and the free-throw stripe.
HARVARD 64, NORTH CAROLINA A&T; 60
Saturday’s loss relegated the Crimson to the consolation game of the Cavalier Classic, and the team took on NC A&T; Sunday afternoon, which fell to Duquesne by a 73-60 final score in Saturday’s other semifinal.
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