The Crimson (7-7) dropped its last two games of the non-conference slate at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center Holiday Invitational in Atlanta, Ga., losing to Kennesaw State and Chicago State in back-to-back games.
Junior Katie Rollins paced Harvard over the weekend, scoring a career-high 22 points in an 83-71 loss to Kennesaw State on Saturday. Rollins followed that performance with 20 points in Harvard’s heartbreaking 60-57 defeat to Chicago State on Sunday.
With the pair of losses, the Crimson dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season.
CHICAGO STATE 60, HARVARD 57
Harvard came up on the wrong end of a seesaw battle with Chicago State (6-7), committing 27 turnovers in a sloppy game on both sides.
A slow start in the second half doomed the Crimson, as Harvard tried—and failed—to play catch-up in the late minutes of the second half.
Neither team found its offensive rhythm all night, with Harvard connecting on just 37.5 percent of its field goals in the first half and the Cougars posting just a 29.6 percent clip from the floor in the opening frame.
The Crimson began the game with a 4-0 lead on back-to-back jumpers from Rollins, who led Harvard with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor.
Emma Moretzsohn’s three-point play with 10:56 to go in the first half gave Harvard an 11-6 advantage.
The Cougars quickly tied it up at 11 with a pair of free throws and a quick three from guard Courtney Waldon. The two squads would exchange the lead four more times before the break, as Waldon netted four three-pointers in the final 10 minutes of the opening half to keep Chicago State in the game.
Waldon’s back-to-back treys in the last two minutes of the first half gave the Cougars a 27-25 lead at the half.
After the break, the Crimson couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Harvard missed seven of its first 10 shots to begin the second half, with only a pair of threes from Niki Finelli buoying the Crimson.
Chicago State guard Jasmin Dixon helped pad the lead with 13 points in the second frame, including 11 consecutive points over a six-minute stretch that gave the Cougars a 41-33 lead with 13:46 to play.
The Crimson responded with a 15-3 run sparked by Emily Tay, Finelli, and Rollins to pull within two at 48-46 with 7:55 left.
Dixon coolly responded with a three-point play and then iced the game with a final free throw with just three seconds remaining.
KENNESAW STATE 83, HARVARD 71
Rollins dominated the first half for Harvard, but not even the best performance of her career could lift the Crimson to a victory over Kennesaw State (5-6).
The Harvard power forward scored the Crimson’s first nine points and 15 of Harvard’s first 18 to give the Crimson the early momentum on Saturday.
After a quick layup and a jumper to start the game, Rollins completed an old-fashioned three-point play on a pass from Tay to push the Harvard lead to 7-4 with just over 2:00 gone by in the first half.
Rollins’ layup with 10:11 remaining pulled the Crimson to within one at 20-19, but she picked up her second personal foul on the following possession and remained on the bench for the rest of the half. She finished the game 9-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the line.
With Rollins out, the Crimson struggled mightily.
Owls guard Gia Lockett netted two consecutive buckets to give Kennesaw State a 24-19 cushion, sparking a 21-6 run over the next six minutes that Jennifer Baker capped with a three-pointer—her second in under a minute—to push the lead to 41-25.
Over that stretch, Harvard committed four turnovers and connected on just two shots from the floor.
The Owls went into the break with a cushy 47-31 lead on the play of guards Baker and Brittney Henderson and inside force Ashley Johnson. The trio combined for 49 points, including 25 in the first half.
Harvard pulled as close as seven in the second half on a Finelli three-pointer to bring it to 76-69. Finelli scored all 11 of her points in the second half, including three three-pointers.
Crimson freshman Emma Markley recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in just 13 minutes of action.
Kennesaw State, however, pulled away at the free-throw line in the second half, reaching the charity stripe 29 times in the second frame. The Owls netted 16 points at the line.
After Finelli’s three-pointer cut the lead to seven with 3:04 left, the Owls responded with six straight points to push the margin to an insurmountable 82-69 with just over a minute remaining.
—Staff writer Aidan E. Tait can be reached at email@example.com.
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