After a year away from Cambridge in Los Angeles, former Harvard women’s basketball standout Temi Fagbenle was drafted 35th overall in the WNBA draft to the Minnesota Lynx. Fagbenle transferred to the University of Southern California to pursue a graduate degree after playing three years for Harvard. She is the second Harvard player ever to be selected in the WNBA draft.
During her time in Cambridge, Fagbenle was voted rookie of the year and was a three-time All-Ivy selection. In her senior year she paced the Crimson squad with 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game and set a single game school record of 24 rebounds against Temple. She was also the highest ranked women’s basketball player to play for an Ivy League team and as a sophomore she represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London where she was youngest player on the team. Despite only suiting up three years, she is one of 19 players to score over 1,000 points for the Crimson.
At USC, Fagbenle lead a Trojan squad to a 12-0 start as she led the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. She also led USC in blocks, steals, and minutes per game. She was one of seven PAC-12 players to be drafted on Thursday night and the only one from USC. The Trojans finished 8th overall in the PAC-12 and made it to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Fagbenle won’t join the Lynx until 2017 as she’s staying at USC to finish her masters in strategic public relations. At 6’4’’, Fagbenle will be the second tallest player on the Minnesota roster. After winning this year’s WNBA championship, the Lynx have won three WNBA championships in the past five years.
She may have hung up her Crimson jersey, but college basketball has not seen the last of Temi Fagbenle ’15. The forward will head west for one final year of college hoops as she gets set to join the University of Southern California women’s basketball team for the 2015-2016 season while working towards a graduate degree.
After sitting out her freshman season at Harvard, Fagbenle has one remaining year of eligibility. NCAA regulations required that she sit out her rookie season after waiting three years—rather than the maximum of two that is allowed—to enroll at a university after passing Britain’s General Certificate of Secondary Education exam.
Rather than competing on the floor of Lavietes Pavilion during the 2011-2012 season, Fagbenle instead donned the jersey of Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. During the tournament, Fagbenle started in three of her country’s five games and saw minutes in all five contests. Playing on one of the world’s biggest stages, she averaged 4.8 points and four rebounds per game.
Upon her return to Cambridge, Fagbenle made her presence felt right from the start. In her first season on the court, she earned the title of Ivy League Rookie of the Year, eventually going on to become a three-time All-Ivy selection. During her senior season, she recorded 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
Now, Fagbenle will make her move to the Pac-12 conference, joining a team that last reached the NCAA tournament just a year ago—something that the Crimson was unable to accomplish during the forward’s tenure.
"We are proud and excited to add Temi to our team," said USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke in a press release published on April 29. "Temi is the consummate student-athlete. Temi is an impact athlete, with over 30 double-doubles at Harvard. Her length and speed will anchor our defense, and her offensive skills and versatility will enable us to utilize her in a variety of ways.”
“As a Harvard graduate and an Olympian, Temi's maturity, intellect and international experience will command the respect of her teammates, and she will be a valued voice and leader on our team,” Cooper-Dyke added.
Fagbenle joins a Trojan roster that features several international players. When announcing the addition of Fagbenle, USC also introduced European recruit Candela Abejon of Spain. Shortly after making that announcement, USC brought in two new Australian recruits—Khaedin Taito and Dani Milisic.
The Trojans finished the 2014-2015 campaign with a 15-15 record, seeing their season come to an end with a first-round loss in the Pac-12 Tournament against Colorado. With USC graduating its top scorer, Alexyz Vaioletama, who averaged 12 points per game this year, Fagbenle will look to bring a strong scoring presence to her new team. The 6’4” forward will also add to USC’s size as the Trojans had just one player over 6’2” on its roster last season.
Having come in second in the league for the past six years, this Crimson squad is itching to return to the top. Though Harvard graduated its top scorer in guard Christine Clark ’14, the team welcomes four talented rookies and returns senior forward Temi Fagbenle, who averaged 13 points per game last season.
Player To Watch: Temi Fagbenle, senior forward
Fagbenle will be one of three 6’4” women on the Crimson’s squad, but the most experienced of the bunch.
After finishing last season 4-10 in the Ivy League and 10-18 overall during longtime coach Jean Burr’s last season at the helm, the Bears will turn to first-year coach Sarah Behn. Behn has big shoes to fill, as Burr retired as the winningest coach in Brown women’s basketball history after 26 years. Senior guard Sophie Bikofsky should lead the Bears’ offense again this year.
Player To Watch: Sophie Bikofsky, senior guard
Bikofsky led the nation in shooting from deep last season and will be crucial to Brown’s offense again.
November has crept up without a warning, masked by deceivingly warm weather. With the next two months come the end of the fall sports regular season, and teams are now focusing on the post-season tournaments.
While you may have been keeping up with their stats, you may have missed some of Harvard’s athlete’s most entertaining tweets. Here at The Back Page, we have compiled a few tweets that made us chuckle.
While sophomore wrestler Todd Preston’s double sudden death overtime victory at the EIWA Championships all but guaranteed him Athlete of the Week honors, here were some other baller performances (read: they all played really good basketball) by Crimson athletes this past weekend.