At the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis, Minn., the Harvard women’s basketball team leveled its record at 4-4 with a win against Alcorn State Friday, but the squad quickly fell back below .500 with a loss against Minnesota the following day.
“The first night was a really good win against a really athletic team,” Crimson coach Kathy Delaney-Smith said. “We played [Minnesota] really well. I was pretty pleased that we were playing them evenly with about eight minutes to go even though our shots weren’t falling, and then we just lost our legs.”
MINNESOTA 79, HARVARD 53
After cruising to a 78-55 win on Friday, Harvard found itself in the opposite situation the following day. The Crimson fell to Minnesota by nearly the same score, 79-53, on Saturday.
Following a 50-percent shooting performance from the field against Alcorn State in its first game of the Best Buy Classic, Harvard (4-5) made only 29 percent of its attempts against the Golden Gophers (6-5).
The loss snapped the Crimson’s three-game winning streak.
“We unfortunately had to play back-to-back days and Minnesota didn’t,” Delaney-Smith said. “That’s just an incredible disadvantage. The score was not an indication of the game. Three quarters of the game were well played and fairly competitive.”
Harvard fell behind 9-2 early and held only one lead during the duration of the contest.
While the Crimson kept the game within single digits for most of the first 30 minutes of play, Minnesota extended its lead late.
A Missy Mullins jump shot with 9:30 left cut the Gophers’ lead to seven, 49-42, but Minnesota responded quickly. Three minutes later, the Gophers held a comfortable 19-point advantage.
“They capitalized on our defensive lapses in second half,” co-captain Brogan Berry said. “With a team like Minnesota, you can’t take any possessions off on defense. We were playing on our heels during the second half.”
In the losing effort, junior forward Emma Golen led the Crimson with a career-high 13 points, 10 of which came in the first half.
Berry came close to registering a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Those eight assists were enough to push her into fourth place in assists in Harvard history with 439.
Sophomore guard Christine Clark also reached double digits, extending her streak of tallying 10 or more points to 11 straight games going back to last season.
But she missed her second free throw of the night after making 29 of her last attempts at the charity stripe.