The Harvard women’s basketball team dropped its contest against Sacred Heart yesterday afternoon, 69-60.
The Pioneers (7-4) took control of the game in the final half of the second period, after both teams had traded leads a couple of times throughout the contest. Co-captain Christine Matera ended a 10-0 Sacred Heart run by hitting a trey, and a shot by freshman Christine Clark cut the deficit to 53-51 with eight minutes left.
But the crowd of 546 at Lavietes Pavilion would not witness a comeback. The two-point margin was the closest Harvard (5-4) would get in the final stretch, allowing the Pioneers to hold on to a comfortable cushion the rest of the game.
“Sacred Heart was just hustling more, being more intense; it’s inexcusable,” Matera said. “We made a great comeback before the half was over, hoping to build upon that. We ended up taking the lead at some point in the second half but had a breakdown on defense.”
It has been a roller-coaster season for the Crimson. The team has alternated wins and losses over the past eight games. The Pioneers continue on a streak of their own, winning their fourth straight game over the span of two weeks.
“It was a pretty inconsistent game with us,” said junior point guard Brogan Berry. “We had some great comebacks, but we also had a bunch of mistakes that were pretty costly. I think that having the time off with reading period and finals really affected us a little more that we thought we would. Things just weren’t clicking for us.”
Harvard came out running to a 4-0 lead to start the game, only to see its lead disappear over the next eight minutes.
Sacred Heart built a 14-point cushion led by senior guard Maggie Cosgrove, who sank five three-pointers all in the first half.
The Crimson spent the rest of the half catching up, led by Clark’s strong play and the team’s performance on the boards. Harvard out-rebounded the Pioneers in the contest, 39-32.
Clark hit a trey with 2:47 left that helped the Crimson cut down the margin to two, 30-28. The freshman led all scorers on the day with a career-high 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Cosgrove reacted to the gradual comeback with her final three-pointer of the half, and teammate Kiley Evans completed a fast-break to once again extend the lead. Junior guard Brogan Berry hit a shot from beyond the arc, and senior forward Emma Markley contributed two points as well, setting the halftime score at 35-33.
Markley had 10 points at the half and finished the game with 13 points. Berry also finished in double digits, chipping in 10 points.
Sacred Heart also had three players in double figures, with Evans and Cosgrove leading the team with 17 points apiece. Forward Callan Taylor contributed 11 points, four below her season average.
Sophomore forward Victoria Lippert led a 13-7 surge by Harvard to start the second half, scoring all seven of her points during that span. The Crimson took a four-point lead, 46-42, but it was the last Harvard lead of the game.
The Pioneers scored eight straight points, leaving 8:42 on the clock for the Crimson to respond. Harvard couldn’t muster a comeback, breaking down on defense and failing to stop Sacred Heart on offense.
The Pioneers were energetic defensively, causing Harvard to commit 20 turnovers throughout the game.
“We let them get into the post too easily,” Matera said. “Offensively, we had a turnover or two and that was kind of the run that snowballed for us. We didn’t get stops and had turnovers, and that’s pretty much the run right there.”
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